Teach & Travel January 2023

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THE LEADING SOURCE FOR EDUCATORS WHO PLAN STUDENT TRAVEL JANUARY 2023 v23i3 | Published by Serendipity Media, LLC The Voice of Student & Youth Travel® SYTA Teach&Travel IN THIS ISSUE: PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS + VENUES UNDERSTANDING SUSTAINABLE STUDENT TRAVEL NEW BEGINNINGS IN NEW YORK CITY AFTER THE HURRICANE: RANDY WEBB SO MUCH FOR STUDENTS fun T ENTS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: S THIS DIGITAL ISSUE IS SPONSORED BY:

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SYTA.ORG 1 IN THIS ISSUE VOLUME 23 ISSUE 3 JANUARY 2023 FEATURES 20 NEW BEGINNINGS IN NEW YORK CITY In 2023, New York City is full of new beginnings. 28 SoCal : SO MUCH FUN FOR STUDENTS Sunshine. Coastline. Moviedom. Attractions galore. 30 CULTURE, HISTORY AND ART INTERSECT IN SPAIN Centuries of history, boldly unique culture, and gorgeous nature. DEPARTMENTS
STAYING EDUCATED Understanding Sustainable Student Travel 8 PROFILE Randy Webb: After the Hurricane 10 SAFE TRAVELS Packing Smart 40 TRIP BEHAVIOR Supporting Local 42 EXPERIENCES Looking Behind the Emerald Curtain 44 STUDENTS SPEAK Africa in Paris NEWS + UPDATES
SYTA PRESIDENT'S LETTER 3 TRAVEL NEWS
DESTINATION UPDATES SPECIAL SECTION
PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS + VENUES
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MARCIE ELLISON Outerbridge

It’s a new year, time for new beginnings.

Now that the holidays have passed and 2023 has begun, we’re looking forward to a time of renewed energy and a greater desire than ever to travel. Chances are, this will be one of the busiest travel seasons in years, as loosening restrictions give way to pent-up demand.

Here at SYTA and Ellison Travel & Tours, we’re excited to see what the year has in store.

We’re kicking off 2023 with our annual look at what New York City has to offer, especially as the city is now wide open and ready for all visitors. Broadway, Times Square, Fifth Avenue—they’re all waiting for you. Speaking of which, check out our look at Behind the Emerald Curtain, a special

experience for groups interested in the iconic musical Wicked. We also head down to South California for fun (and education) in the sun, and travel across the Atlantic to Spain, bursting with history and culture.

This issue also offers up advice in a few areas, including being sure to support local businesses and people while traveling, traveling with sustainability and the environment in mind, and helping your students pack smart for their big trip—especially if you’re heading to a different climate.

We also speak with a band director from Florida who’s working hard to help his community rebuild after Hurricane Ida wiped out students’ homes and damaged the school. Despite everything, he’s forging ahead with travel plans for 2023, knowing that the trip is exactly what his students need after this tragedy.

2 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 NOTE | SYTA PRESIDENT
i
TRAVEL INSURED INTERNATIONAL A CRUM & FORSTER COMPANY
SYTA STRATEGIC PARTNERS

ROAD SCHOLAR SHIP

The SYTA Youth Foundation (SYF) established the Road Scholarship program in 2002 to award funds to youth who are unable to afford the cost of student group trips. Based on the belief that travel is essential for a complete education, it is SYF’s goal to make a positive difference, through travel, in the young lives of our global citizens. Since its inception, SYF has impacted more than 7,200 students.

A Road Scholarship is financial aid granted to individuals or groups of five or more who have been nominated by a teacher or youth group leader and who meet criteria within five categories:

ACHIEVEMENT | NEED | INITIATIVE/INVOLVEMENT | SERVICE/CITIZENSHIP | CONNECTION

The grants are vetted and approved through the SYF Board of Trustees.

APPLICATION PERIOD:

WHO CAN APPLY?

Students in grades K-12 and 18 or younger at the time of travel will be considered. Nominations must be submitted by an educator, program leader or designated school official.

Nominations submitted by parents or guardians will not be considered.

HOW MUCH IS AWARDED?

Up to $1,000 USD will be awarded to an individual and a maximum of $5,000 USD will be awarded to a group nomination.

Nominations requesting an award higher than the maximum will not be considered.

TRIPS AUGUST 2023 – FEBRUARY 2024

Application Opens January 23, 2023

Application Closes March 31, 2023

Announced the week of April 24, 2023

TRIPS MARCH 2024 – AUGUST 2024

Application Opens September 18, 2023

Application Closes November 10, 2023

Announced the week of December 4, 2023

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT: https://sytayouthfoundation.org/road-scholarship

If you have any questions regarding the Road Scholarship program, please email info@sytayouthfoundation.org

SYTA.ORG 3

BEHIND THE CURTAIN

The Museum of Broadway has arrived. Founded by entrepreneur and two-time Tony Award-winning producer Julie Boardman, this unique museum is an immersive and interactive theatrical experience devoted to musicals, plays, and the people who create them. Featuring the work of dozens of designers, artists, and theatre historians, this one-of-a-kind Museum takes visitors on a journey along the timeline of Broadway, from its birth to present day. Head to themuseumofbroadway.com for more information.

WEAVING A REVOLUTION

In Lowell, Massachusetts, you’ll find a national historical park dating back to 1835, filled with history, engineering and

innovation. The star is the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, which played a large part in the Industrial Revolution. The story of Boott—the most architecturally significant of the surviving mill complexes—

parallels the city’s rise, decline and rebirth. Now a museum, the mills feature a dramatic 1920s weave room exhibit with 88 operating power looms weaving cotton cloth. Visit nps.gov/lowe for more.

4 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023
DESTINATION UPDATES

MOVING FORWARD

Opening February 17, the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation is going to bring some big changes to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This center includes new exhibition and learning spaces with state-of-the-art technology showing the museum is looking both forward to the future and back on history. Be transported into nature’s hidden realms in Invisible Worlds, a unique immersive experience that illustrates how all life is connected. Explore scientific collections like never before, in floor-toceiling displays over three floors. Visit the new insectarium, a gallery devoted to Earth’s most diverse animal group, and home of the largest leafcutter ant colony in the US. Learn more at amnh.org.

RIDE THE RAPIDS

Mystic River Falls, with “The Tallest Drop on a Water Raft Ride in the Western Hemisphere,” is the newest thrill at award-winning theme park Silver Dollar City. The water adventure includes winding, roaring rapids set in an authentic Ozarks mountainous river theme, culminating with a waterfall drop that sends riders down more than four stories of splashing, rafting, family fun. See more info at silverdollarcity.com.

can feel the awesome power of the ocean with Pipeline, the first-ofits-kind surf coaster coming to SeaWorld, the coaster capital of Orlando. Pipeline is a standing coaster where riders hop on a

giant board and ride the loops and waves of nearly 3,000 feet of track, with speeds reaching 60 mph and heights reaching 110 feet. Coming this spring, head to seaworld.com to learn more.

DRY SURFING

Who needs the ocean when you

SYTA.ORG 5

UNDERSTANDING SUSTAINABLE STUDENT TRAVEL

sSYTA’s mission is dedicated to providing life-enhancing travel experiences to students and young people. Knowing this, it makes sense that looking ahead to the future should always top of mind. In order to ensure future generations of students can enjoy the undeniable benefits of travel, educators are encouraged to find ways to think about their trips in a sustainable way—not only to continue to provide memories to last a lifetime, but also for the well-being of our planet and the communities we visit. Below, we touch on a few points to get you started.

FIRST, UNDERSTAND WHAT SUSTAINABLE TOURISM LOOKS LIKE.

Do your research to best understand what sustainable tourism is and the difference between other similar terms in the industry. According to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, sustainable tourism does not refer to a specific type of tourism, but rather is an aspiration for the impacts of all forms of tourism to be sustainable for generations to come. Ecotourism refers to a niche segment of tourism in natural areas, while responsible travel refers to the behavior and style of individual travelers and emphasizes leaving a positive (rather than negative) impact on a destination.

HAVE CONVERSATIONS.

Emphasize the importance of sustainable and responsible tourism in conversations with stakeholders in your community (parents, your school board, donors, etc.) as it specifically pertains to your students traveling. Getting more people on board with making sustainable choices and understanding why they’re necessary is key in producing more environmentally sound outcomes. It never hurts to keep these topics top of mind with those involved in every stage of the student travel planning process.

WORK WITH THOSE WHO PRIORITIZE SUSTAINABILITY.

Inquire about working with suppliers and operators who have a purposeful focus on sustainability. This could include having a written policy covering environmental impact, employment and cultural policy; offering trips to under-traveled destinations; developing itineraries which include restaurants featuring locally produced food; making it a point to visit attractions whose buildings are LEED certified and more. It’s also worth noting the environmental impacts of your chosen transportation method and how there could be room for improvement, if any.

6 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023
STAYING EDUCATED

PACK (AND ACT) INTENTIONALLY.

Bring students into the fold by explaining how their actions while on the trip can directly influence sustainable outcomes. This could mean creating a packing list that’s curated with environmental consciousness in mind (packing their own reusable water bottles and bags instead of opting for disposable options), and acting responsibly (recycling when possible, leaving no trace in natural environments, engaging respectfully in local culture, etc.).

While embarking into the realm of sustainable tourism and responsible travel is more of a journey than an arrival at a single destination, small actions undoubtedly add up to a greater result, pushing the needle further toward a more sustainable future for all.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Tourism Cares Tourismcares.org

Center for Responsible Travel responsibletravel.org

The Travel Foundation thetravelfoundation.org.uk

Global Sustainable Tourism Council gstcouncil.org

The World Tourism Organization unwto.org

SYTA.ORG 7

RANDY WEBB:

AFTER THE HURRICANE

bBand director Randy Webb taught for 30 years in Kentucky before making his way to Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers. Five years later, his time there has certainly been eventful.

Cypress Lake had seen a revolving door of band directors before Webb came in, which meant some extra work to build the program up. Then COVID hit, and the program’s numbers dropped. “We fought through that. We actually got better. Our numbers are a little smaller but things are going great, and all of a sudden, boom!”

Hurricane Ian arrived in late September, devastating a large swath of Florida, but especially the southwest area Cypress Lake is located in. Now, Webb, his students and the band program are working to rebuild in many ways, including preparing for a trip to Orlando next spring with Super Holiday Tours.

We took a moment to talk with Webb about how the hurricane has affected his students and how the band will move forward.

With everything going on, have you been able to travel with Cypress Lake before?

This will be the first time this band has gone on a trip in about eight years. I promised these freshmen that they would go on a trip somewhere before they graduated. Even through COVID and everything else, my boosters and myself have been trying to do our best, and it’s finally come

through. We’re going to go up and get the Universal experience and some other things. So, it should be a really fun culminating event at the end of the year.

We’re playing a couple of different places around the parks. One inside, and I think another at Hollywood Studios. I’ll be honest, Casey Cole from Super Holiday’s got it set up. And we’re on the waitlist for the Robert W. Smith recording

studio experience. I’m hoping we can get in and do that too, because that really looks like fun.

Can you tell us about how the hurricane affected your school?

I’ve never been in a hurricane situation, so I am just astounded at the devastation that’s gone on down here. I am. It doesn’t look like the same area that I moved

8 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023
PROFILE

to. I mean, this area is known for its charm and atmosphere, and the beaches and the water, but it has hit my students real hard. We just got back into school. We have 18 high schools in this county—Lee County is just a huge, huge school district. And we’re one of two high schools that are actually seeing students. The rest of them are still having some issues. We’re six miles from Fort Myers Beach, and the storm surge came up to our high school about four feet high. That’s how powerful it was.

How has it impacted your band students specifically?

I’ve got 11 students affected pretty bad by it, and four of them lost everything. There was a girl that texted me and I asked her, “Well, how are you going?” She said, “I’m doing great. My mother and I came out, we’re alive. Everything else can be replaced. I am going to need a new band shirt for this year. Can I get another one?” I just had to laugh. Of all the things for her that she could be worried about? She was worried about a band shirt.

How are you seeing the community react to it all?

A lot of people, including teachers, are kind of living day to

day at the moment, and we finally got power back and everything about five days ago. Kids, they’re coming to school and I don’t think they really know how to act. They love seeing other people, knowing that they’re there, doing OK, and everything else. We started wrapping music rehearsals around the fact that this can be one safe place for 15 minutes a day. Let’s forget everything outside, because we all had issues. I had issues at my house. Let’s just forget outside for 15 minutes and just play music.

How can people help? You have a GoFundMe, right?

Yeah, like I said, it got up to about four feet high around our school. Luckily, my band room is kind of built up a little bit, so it didn’t get water. But we run a concession stand at the football game, and we lost everything. It was brand new. I mean, we had freezers, a couple of coolers and a refrigerator in there, and they’re all gone. And then our band trailer that carries our equipment around to marching events was turned on its side and slammed up against the fence across the street, so it’s ruined because the frame is bent pretty bad.

So we started a GoFundMe just for some of those purposes

(gofundme.com/f/cypress-lakemarching-pride). And we also realize, there’s going to be some kids who have a hard time. A kid might not be able to afford clothes right now, and it’s really hard for so and so to even make a payment for the trip. So we’ve kind of bundled all of that into one. I want every kid that signed up for the trip — which was 99% by the way. We’ve got a ton of people signed up. It’s just that for some of them now, it’s going to be really difficult, so we’re going to make sure that they get there. That’s my goal.

You’ve been an educator for many years and faced a lot of challenges. What do you love about it?

A lot of times people ask me, why are you still teaching after 35 years? I’ve told every one of my students, and I’ve said it every year I’ve taught, “I haven’t worked a day in my life.” I love going in and I love making music, and just getting it a little bit better every time. It’s just so fun, and it’s so different every day. Marching seasons are tough, all those extra practices and everything else and assessments, but it’s so much fun to see on the kids’ faces when they play something well. They know it.

SYTA.ORG 9 BY JOSH VEAL

PACKING SMART

pPacking is just one important cog in the machine of travel—do it carelessly, and you might be throwing a wrench in the works.

Let’s say a student didn’t pack anything for rain and a downpour arrives; now someone needs to go out of their way to procure an umbrella or poncho, potentially complicating an already stressful situation.

That said, group leaders can help avoid these mistakes by putting together a quality packing list for students based on the trip. Here are a few of our tips for packing smart, no matter the destination:

Prepare for extreme heat. One of the most dangerous situations for students is to not be properly dressed for the weather. If they’ve never been south of Michigan, they likely have no idea how sweltering somewhere like Florida can be. When you’re sweating every second you’re outside, dehydration is a huge risk—especially for students, who rarely drink enough water in the first place. Make sure students have light clothes, plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.

Don’t get frostbite. If your students have never seen snow in their life, they may not think to pack a warm coat, gloves, a scarf, or thermal layers when going up north. The frigid cold could lead to sickness, and at the very least, it’s a major distraction from enjoying the travel experience.

Removable layers are key here, because they take up less space when packing and allow you to shed clothes when indoors.

One bag. That’s it. As shocking as this may seem to some, one bag is likely all you need for a trip, as long as you pack smart. Consider 30 students each lugging around a backpack and a carry-on, plus checking a bag at the airport. It’s a recipe for chaos, not to mention the fact you’ll look like a bunch of tourists. One bag is easy to transport and you’ll always have what you need with you, allowing for tons of flexibility.

Pack light as possible. How do you fit it all in one bag? Don’t bring that extra pair of shoes you may or may not wear. Don’t bring every electronic you own. Don’t bring all the toiletries in your

bathroom. Pack only necessities, because by definition, you don’t need the rest! And if you do end up needing something you didn’t bring, that’s what stores are for.

Get creative. While not everyone can take on the additional expenses, students who can afford to get accessories like packing cubes and mesh bags will find a lot of benefit. There are so many tools out there specifically designed to help you pack light.

Don’t forget the little things. Packing light doesn’t mean leaving necessities behind. Group leaders should bring things like insect repellent, extra sunscreen, additional phone chargers, snacks— whatever little things your students might forget, have some on hand, because it’s pretty much a guarantee that someone’s going to need it.

10 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 SAFE TRAVELS BY
JOSH VEAL

PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS + VENUES

SPECIAL SECTION: PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS + VENUES

WHICH FESTIVAL FOR YOU?

With so many performance opportunities to choose from all around the world, it might be tough to make your pick. Educators often vie for festivals they experienced when in school, and that personal connection can be a great motivator—but there’s much more to consider. Here are a few factors:

» Can I see the performance standards and/or rubric for the festival prior to attending?

» Is the festival company aware that my group may not be at its peak performance level for a few years due to the pandemic?

» Are there any valuable inclusions built into the festival beyond the standard adjudicated performance and fiveminute onstage performance review?

» Does the festival and tour cost align with our needs?

» What is the reputation of the festival company with colleagues?

» Does the venue have strong acoustics and memorable aesthetics?

Much like finding a job, finding the right festival is a two-way street—the fit has to work for everyone involved. You’re not just asking permission to play at a festival, you’re asking what your hardworking students will gain from the experience as well. You likely want more than just five minutes of onstage feedback and going about your day.

WHY PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS

If you’ve never been to a performance festival, you might not know why all the hard work is worth it. Whether it’s a competition, a parade or just a performance, students performing alongside other schools get to see how they perform, giving better context for their own skill level and providing motivation to improve—or providing affirmation for all their hard work. Getting students outside of the school and involved in something bigger makes their time in band/choir that much more special and worthy of all the hard work.

Plus, most festivals involve travel. Groups traveling together form a tighter bond, inherently increasing their ability to work together when performing. And there are all the fun things you can do while on the road, giving extra value to the trip beyond the destination itself. Museums, shows, parks, food—your tour operator can help plan it all.

14 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 SPECIAL SECTION: PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS + VENUES

GOING BEYOND FESTIVALS

If you’re traveling, it’s always a great idea to do more than just the performance itself. For instance, many festival programs include indepth educational options and collaborative experiences, observational opportunities, one-hour clinics, relevant workshops and more.

Not to mention the opportunities outside of the venue, whether it’s enjoying a musical theater performance, taking a trip to the local professional symphony, visiting a music-themed museum, or whatever else you can do in town.

Also, consider adding on an additional community performance, especially if traveling internationally. Putting on a small show or parade for the locals is a great way to spread the love, experience a new audience, and see an actual appreciation for your students’ performance beyond scorecards and evaluations.

MIND THE DETAILS

Make sure you know how every minute of time at the festival will be spent. What instruments are available and what do you need to bring? Will they be tuned before the festival? Where could you rehearse once you arrive? Be sure to stay in constant communication with your tour operator leading up to your trip so you’re ready when the day comes.

Another detail to think about is what you’ll be playing. If it’s noncompetitive, go for something audiences and students alike will enjoy and be sure to have fun playing. But if it is competitive, you want something that challenges the students and shows off what they have to offer, without going beyond their current ability.

BE PREPARED

After years away from these events, the best thing your group can do is practice, practice, practice. Of course, keep fatigue in mind, as your students need to be well-rested and healthy to perform well and enjoy the trip. But remember that if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past few years, it’s that these performance opportunities can vanish at any time— so don’t just practice, but enjoy every minute of it.

SYTA.ORG 15

PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS + VENUES GUIDE:

9/11 MUSEUM

646.266.8089 | www.911memorial.org

ALABAMA TOURISM DEPARTMENT

334.242.4493 | www.alabama.travel

ACADEMIC TRAVEL SERVICES

828.692.7733 | www.academictravel.com

ANIMADO EVENTS

407.345.4899 | www.animadoevents.com

ARTIST TRAVEL CONSULTANTS

212.707.8170 | www.artisttravels.com

BOB ROGERS TRAVEL

630-824-4343 | www.bobrogerstravel.com

BRANSON ON STAGE LIVE!

417.334.5599 | www.bransononstagelive.com

BRIGHTSPARK TRAVEL

877.545.0070 | www.brightsparktravel.com

CAMPDOC

734.619.8300 | www.campdoc.com

CAROWINDS

704.588.2600 | www.carowinds.com

CCIS, INC.

724.287.3222 | www.ccistravel.com

CEDAR FAIR FESTIVAL OF MUSIC PROGRAMS

704.414.4703 | www.cedarfairyouthsales.com

CEDAR POINT AMUSEMENT PARK RESORT

419.627.2217 | www.cedarpoint.com

CHAMOUIX MANISON & CARRIAGE HOUSE

215.878.3676 | www.PHLMansion.org

CHOICE MUSIC TOURS, a Direct Travel company 866.583.6061 | www.choicemusictours.com

CHOIRS OF AMERICA

970.325.2500 | www.vocalmusic.org

COMEDYSPORTZ THEATER

773.549.8080 | www.cszchicago.com

CORPORATE TRAVEL SERVICE

313.565.8888 | www.ctscentral.net

DANCE THE MAGIC!

714.890.5678 | www.dancethemagic.com

DECATUR MORGAN COUNTY TOURISM

256.350.2028 | www.decaturcvb.org

DESTINATION CLEVELAND 216.875.6648 | www.thisiscleveland.com

DESTINATION NIAGARA USA

716.282.8992 | www.niagarafallsusa.com

DIRECTOR’S CHOICE TRAVEL

877.328.7637 | www.directorschoice.travel

EDUCATIONAL TOURS, INC 517.699.6900 | www.tours-eti.com

EDUTRAVEL, INC

416-923-4683 | www.edutravel.com

ELLISON TRAVEL & TOURS LTD

519-235-2000 | www.ellisontravel.com

EPN TRAVEL SERVICES

888.323.0974 | www.epntravel.com

EXPLORE GWINNETT

770.814.6059 | www.exploregwinnett.org

FESTIVALS OF MUSIC/ MUSIC IN THE PARKS

800.323.0974 | www.epntravel.com

FIRST CLASS CHARTER 931.762.5778 | www.firstclasscharter.net

FIRST CLASS TRANSPORTATION

281.590.8800 | www.firstclasstours.net

FLAMINGO EDUCATIONAL TOURS

954.915.9199 | www.flamingoedutours.com

FLORIDA AND BEYOND GROUP TRAVEL

407.624.4787 | www.fabgrouptravel.com

FORUM MUSIC FESTIVALS/ FORUM EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL

714.449.0518 | www.forummusicfestivals.com

FOUR WINDS TOURS AND TRAVEL 516.334.2400 | www.fourwindstours.com

GO STUDENT/GO PERFORMING TOURS 540.869.1864 | www.gostudenttours.com

GREAT TOUR EXPERIENCES 61 2 47 330638 | www.greattourexperiences.com.au

GREEN LIGHT GROUPS TOURS 904.819.1820 | www.greenlightgrouptours.com

GROUP TRAVEL CONSULTANTS 407.207.4371 | www.grouptravelconsultants.com

GROUP TRAVEL NETWORK 407.347.5921 | www.grouptravelnetwork.com

GRUENINGER MUSIC TOURS 317.465.1122 | www.gogmt.com

HARMONY TOURS 970. 644.6996 | www.harmony-tours.com

HILTON GARDEN INN LAS COLINAS 972.246.5031 | www.lascolinas.stayhgi.com

JAMESTOWN-YORKTOWN FOUNDATION 757.253.4838 | www.jyfmuseums.org

KALEIDOSCOPE ADVENTURES, INC 800.774.7337 | www.mykatrip.com

KINGS ISLAND 513.754.5700 | www.visitkingsisland.com/ groups/student-and-youth

LEGENDS ATTRACTIONSILLUMINARIUM ATLANTA 404.341.1000 | www.illuminarium.com

LIVE TRAVEL AND TOURS 44 (0)1372 722154 | www.livetravelandtours.com

MAIN STREET TRAVEL, LLC 615.345.6663 | www.mstctours.com

16 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 SPECIAL SECTION: PERFORMANCE FESTIVALS + VENUES

MARYLAND OFFICE OF TOURISM

410.767.6288 | www.visitmaryland.org/groups

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS

847.989.1605 | www.merlinentertainments.biz

MUSIC CELEBRATIONS INTERNATIONAL

480.894.3330 | www.musiccelebrations.com

MUSIC FESTIVALS & TOURS/ MUSIC SHOWCASE FESTIVALS

800.545.0935 | www.musfestivals.com

MUSIC TRAVEL CONSULTANTS

317.637.0837 | www.musictravel.com

MUSIC USA FESTIVALS

800.654.3018 | www.musicusafestivals.org

NEW ORLEANS & COMPANY

504.566.5018 | www.neworleans.com

NOTEWORTHY TOURS, INC

419.627.2757 | www.noteworthytours.com

OHIO HAS IT!

330.827.2067 | www.ohiohasit.com

ON LOCATION TOURS, INC.

212.683.2027 | www.onlocationtours.com

ORPHEUM THEATRE GROUP - MEMPHIS

901.529.4226 | www.orpheum-memphis.com

OUR GROUP TOUR

844.286.6227 | www.ourgrouptour.com

PEAK GROUP TRAVEL

215.598.8690 | www.peakperformancetours.com

PEARL HARBOR TOURS

808.312.3705 | www.pearlharbortours.com

PERFORMING ARTS CONSULTANTS

732.475.6200 | www.usafest.org

PERSPECTIVES EDUSCHO LTD

613.443.6358 | www.perspectives-edu.com

PHOTOVISION, INC.

888.533.7637 | www.grouptravelvideos.com

PIGEON FORGE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM

865.453.8574 | www.mypigeonforge.com

PREMIER TOUR & TRAVEL

724.342.4546 | www.premiertourandtravel.com

PURE! TRAVEL GROUP

593 999814123 | www.pure-travelgroup.com

QATAR AIRWAYS

404.242.8177 | www.QatarAirways.com

RODOTOURS

407.590.9363 | www.rodotours.com

ROSEN HOTELS AND RESORTS, INC.

407.996.7343 | www.rosenhotels.com

SCHLITTERBAHN GALVESTON WATERPARK

830.608.8532 | www.schlitterbahn.com

SCHLITTERBAHN WATERPARK & RESORT NEW BRAUNFELS

830.608.8532 | www.schlitterbahn.com

SCHOOL TOURS OF AMERICA

713.973.1189 | www.schooltoursofamerica.com

SHORES & ISLANDS OHIO 419.625.2984 | www.shoresandislands.com/group

SILVER DOLLAR CITY / SHOWBOAT BRANSON BELLE 417.336.7170 | www.silverdollarcity.com

SMALL JOURNEYS INC AND ALL JOURNEYS, INC. 914.762.4700 | www.smalljourneys.com

SOUND EDUCATION PROGRAMS

480.654.2010 | www.soundep.com

SPAIN IS MUSIC

34 695 134 345 | www.spainismusic.com

SPYSCAPE

646.979.7063 | www.spyscape.com/nyc/schools

SSN HOTELS

302.738.3198 | www.ssnhotels.com

STUDENT TOURS INTERNATIONAL

585.768.5345 | ww.stitours.com

SUMMIT TRAVEL AND TOURS, LLC

512.656.6823 | www.summittravelandtours.com

SUPER HOLIDAY TOURS

407.851.0060 | www.superholiday.com

SUPERIOR TRAVEL AND TOUR

888.713.8078 | www.superiortravelandtour.com

THE ADVENTURE PARKS OF OUTDOOR VENTURES

203.349.9049 | www.myadventurepark.com

THE MARYLAND ZOO IN BALTIMORE 443.552.5290 | www.marylandzoo.org

TOUR SERVICES, INC

630.325.5805 | www.tourservicesinc.com

TOUR TIME 64 9 426 8037 | www.tourtime.co.nz

TOUR-RIFIC OF TEXAS

281.587.9555 | www.tour-rific.com

TRAVEL MANITOBA

204.927.7864 | www.travelmanitoba.com

TRAVEL SAFETY SOLUTIONS, LLC

509.280.1040 | www.travelsafetysolutions.com

TRAVEL WITH BARB, INC. 402.614.9793 | www.travelwithbarb.com

UNIVERSAL PARKS AND RESORTS 800.968.8415 ext 3 | www. universalorlandoyouth.com/performance

VALLEYFAIR

952.496.5338 | www.valleyfair.com

VAMONOS TOURS

888.366.6121 | www.vamonostours.com

VISIT PRINCE WILLIAM, VIRGINIA 703.792.8420 | www.visitpwc.com

VISIT SANDY SPRINGS 770.206.1447 | www.visitsandysprings.com

VISITDALLAS

214.571.1351 | www.visitdallas.com/students

WESTBRIDGE TRAVEL, LLC

888.368.7477 | www.westbridgetravel.com

WESTCOAST CONNECTION

914.835.0699 | www.westcoastconnection.com

WONDERWORKS

407.351.8800 | www.wonderworksonline.com/

WORLDSTRIDES PERFORMING ARTS 800.223.4367 | www.worldstrides.com/ performing-arts

YOUNG TRANSPORTATION & TOURS

828.258.0084 | www.youngtransportation.com

SYTA.ORG 17
18 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023

NEW

beginnings

U.S DESTINATION | NEW YORK CITY

in

NEW YORK CITY

BY
VEAL
JOSH
22 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023

The biggest return is the Crown at the Statue of Liberty, which reopened to the public in October after being closed for over two years. While climbing 162 stairs (from the pedestal to the crown) isn’t for every group, those up to the challenge will have the best view possible of the New York Harbor from Lady Liberty. Of course, while you’re at it, your group will want to stop at Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, full of interactive exhibits telling the story of who Americans are and where we came from.

For a similarly iconic view, head to the Empire State Building Observatory, on the world-famous skyscraper’s 86th floor. You start with a beautiful art deco lobby, one of the few interiors in the whole city to be designated a historic landmark. Then head up to the main deck observatory, with 360-degree views of New York and beyond. On the clearest days, you can even see glimpses of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware. Dozens of movies and TV scenes have been set here for a reason: It’s an unforgettable experience.

On the newer side of sights is RiseNY, which pairs museum-style galleries with an

24 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 U.S DESTINATION | NEW YORK CITY
Photos © Empire State Building Observatory

amusement park-quality ride! This flight simulation ride is the first of its kind in the city, lifting you 30 feet in the air to take in the aerial splendor of NYC while suspended inside a 180-degree, 40-foot projection dome with 8K aerial footage—all enhanced by wind, mist and scents blowing in your face. Before the flying theater experience, your group starts with an immersive intro film, then moves into multiple museumstyle galleries, where you’ll learn the origins of mass communication with Tesla’s Coil, discover the law of physics through the Otis elevator break, and walk aside skyscraper replicas in the skyline gallery.

Once you’ve got a bird’s eye view of the city, it’s time to head down to street level and immerse your students in the arts. The Met Opera is a once-in-alifetime opportunity for most students, the chance to see opera performed at the highest level in a setting that gladly welcomes the uninitiated. Student groups will love new productions like Champion from six-time Grammy Award-winning Terene Blanchard, following obscure young boxer Emile Griffith’s rise to

success, running April 10 through May 13. Or enjoy a classic like Puccini’s La Boheme, the opera RENT is loosely based on, or Falstaff, from famous Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. They’re high drama with spectacular scenery and beautiful music, and English subtitles appear on a screen on the seat in front of you so you can follow along with the story! Plus, metopera.org has multiple educator guides, including fun illustrated synopses for each opera.

If you’re more interested in dancing than singing, head to the New York City Ballet, offering multiple student experiences alongside a stacked season. For the young students, programs like Ballet Tales and Project Ballet offer interactive experiences, and groups of any age will enjoy day tours. Just be sure to stick around for an amazing show, such as The Sleeping Beauty running Feb. 15-26, Masters at Work: Balanchine & Robbins running April 18-May 5, or the super modern 21st Century Choreography, May 2-18.

As a sidenote, as of last October, many of these NYC arts institutions have agreed to drop requirements for masks and vaccination, although they’re still recommended. That includes the opera, ballet, and the Museum of Modern Art, another must-see experience in NYC. This winter and spring, the MoMA has a wide range of exhibitions that will interest students, such as Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design. This show running through July 16 looks at immersive digital experiences ranging from Tetris to

SYTA.ORG 25
Photos © RiseNY

Minecraft to Getting Over It. Then there’s the surreal art of Méret Oppenheim, including her famous fur-lined teacup, and an exhibit diving into Just Above Midtown, a gallery celebrating Black art from 1974 to 1986.

There’s so much more to do in New York City, you could write books on it all. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down or want a more focused experience, turn to the Guides Association of New York City. This association of independent, professional tour guides ensures each member is licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. For nearly 50 years now, GANYC’s guides have been offering all kinds of different tours, from “Secrets of the High Line” to “NYC Music History” and beyond.

If you’re looking for something to do outside of the Big Apple, the New York Power Authority offers experiences all across the state. For instance, the renovated Niagara Power Vista is just minutes from the falls and features power generation exhibits on par with the best science museums in the country. Or head to the NY Energy Zone, a new visitors center in Utica introducing you to the dynamic world of electricity, past, present and future. A bit south is the Blenheim-Gliboa Visitors Center, housed in a 19th-century dairy barn with a historical manor preserved for modern visitors. Finally, way up north is the Hawkins Point Visitors Center, nested on an island, teaching about the dams, walls and canals drawing power from the St. Lawrence River.

U.S DESTINATION | NEW YORK CITY
Photos © Jason Schmidt/Netflix (top), Ken Howard/The Metropolitan Opera (bottom)
SYTA.ORG 27
NORTHERN AMERICA | SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 28
Photo © Knotts Berrry Farm

SO MUCH SoCal: FOR STUDENTS funNTS

sSunshine. Coastline. Moviedom. Attractions galore. Southern California, which spans from just north of Los Angeles all the way down to San Diego at the border of Mexico, offers an array of sights, experiences, and activities for student groups. There are so many, we’d be hard pressed to name them all here, but we can give you some of our best recommendations to help you plan your itinerary.

Land in Los Angeles and start your trip off with Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Located in Hollywood, this nearly 100-year-old working studio is one of the busiest in LA. Follow your expert tour guide, who will take your group behind the big and small screens, including the main draw: a backlot tour. Here you’ll get an in-depth view of how the studio creates television shows and films, and have the opportunity to explore iconic sets, sound stages, and the production process overall. Visit wbstudiotour. com to learn more and reserve your visit.

Next, head over to The Getty Center to get your culture fix. This impressive architectural specimen features sculpted gardens and an ultra-modern structure that houses a vast collection of European art from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. It’s also an ideal spot to take in sweeping views of the city. Admission is free, but there is a charge for parking. Contact groups@getty.edu to find out about group services, dining options, and booking information.

The GRAMMY Museum is also nearby, and is a must for the music lovers in your classroom. Take a 60- to 90-minute selfguided tour of this four-story interactive museum filled with exhibits, films, instruments, and artifacts. The museum offers

discounts for groups of 10 or more, and there are a number of add-ons, including educational workshops, an exhibit overview, and a private, behind-thescenes screening of the 50th GRAMMY performance. Get in touch with groups@ grammymuseum.org for all the details.

Venture into Anaheim next, home to several student group favorites. Knotts Berry Farm tops the to-do list with its thrill rides, shows, games, attractions, and sweet treats. Youth programs are also available, from educational to field trips to performance opportunities—and more. Physics Day and Festival of Music are just a couple of options. Go to knotts.com/ youth to see everything they have to offer.

Visit Anaheim also recommends several area attractions that run the gamut of student interests. Discovery Cube Orange County offers handson science education with interactive

30 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 NORTHERN AMERICA | SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

STEM-related exhibits, activities, and experiments, while The Bowers Museum takes a deep dive into pre-Columbian Mesoamerican, Native American, Asian, African, Oceanic, and Californian art and artifacts. There’s also second campus, Kidseum , nearby.

For a peep into politics, head over to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, which features 22 gallery spaces with multimedia and interactive technologies covering a range of historical topics, plus a garden and the former president’s helicopter and birthplace. Find more to do and see in the region at visitanaheim.org.

If you’re looking for centrally located accommodations, Anaheim Desert Palms Hotel & Suites can be your home base as you travel to different attractions.

SYTA.ORG 31
Photos © Warners Bros. Studio Tour, The GRAMMY Museum, Knotts Berry Farm, Anaheim Desert Palms Hotel & Suites, The Getty Center

A heated pool, gift shop, free breakfast buffet, card-operated laundry, and several room styles, including kid suites with bunk beds, are just some of the amenities. They welcome student travel and offer complimentary bus parking for SYTA members. Contact marie@hansji.com to book your stay.

On your way north to San Diego, make a stop at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, with its 19 major habitats amid 100plus exhibits. From coral reefs to sharks to otters—as well as the Ocean Science Center, Lorikeet Forest, and the Whales: Voices in the Sea production—plus films and shows, it’s a space filled with underwater wonder.

Continue your marine adventure as you arrive in America’s Finest City with a day at SeaWorld San Diego. Located at Mission Bay Park, this not-to-be-missed destination offers animal shows, rides and rollercoasters, presentations, aquariums, and exhibits that are ideal for the K-12 crowd. Self-guided tours provide an opportunity to engage with wildlife in a compelling way. There are also downloadable teacher guides with activities that provide added value to your visit. Full details are at seaworld.com/san-diego/educational-programs.

Next, climb aboard the USS Midway Museum , a historic aircraft carrier docked at San Diego’s Navy Pier. There are twohour, grade-specific student programs offered on topics such as

math, electricity and magnetism, weather, thermal energy, and more—with exhibits, hands-on activities, and an orientation to the Midway led by trained staff. School and youth groups receive discounted admission. Learn more at midway.org.

And, to round out your trip, head to the San Diego Zoo. Take a guided bus tour through the grounds, watch a movie in the 4D theater, take in presentations by wildlife ambassadors and wildlife care specialists, get from here to there on the hop-on; hop-off Kangaroo Bus, or see the Zoo from above on the Skyfari® Aerial Tram. Admission ticket discounts apply for student groups of 15 or more, and there are also specialty tours and experiences that can be added on. If you haven’t gotten your fill of creatures great and small, venture over to San Diego Zoo Safari Park which is about 45 minutes to an hour northeast in Escondido.

32 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 NORTHERN AMERICA | SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Photos © SeaWorld San Diego, USS Midway Museum, San Diego Zoo

FOR EDUCATORS WHO PLAN STUDENT TRAVEL THE LEADING SOURCE

teachtravel.org

SYTA.ORG 33

CULTURE, HISTORY, AND ART INTERSECT in Scenic Spain

34 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 ITNERNATIONAL | SPAIN

cCenturies of history, boldly unique culture, and gorgeous nature make Spain one of the best student travel destinations out there.

From the world-famous art of Madrid to iconic architecture created by medieval, Moorish and Gothic influences—not to mention incredible cuisine, Flamenco dance, bullfighting, and much more—the sun-soaked Spain has it all.

The only issue is, as the second largest country in the European Union, there’s an overwhelming amount to see in one trip. We suggest working with a SYTA tour operator (such as EF Educational Tours, WorldStrides or Live Travel & Tours) to map out your best trip and ensure you have a highly informed, multilingual guide on your trip. But to get your planning started, let’s take a look at some of the best Spain has to offer.

Many student groups begin their trip by landing in Madrid, capital of Spain, renowned for art, architecture and royalty. You can take a trip to the Royal Palace, home to the kings of Spain from Charles III to Alfonso XIII. The palace comprises over 3,000 rooms, including must-see areas like the Throne Hall, the Royal Chemist’s room, the Hall of Halberdiers, and many more. If you can, stop by on Wednesdays for the changing of the guard.

Then, it’s time for the Prado Museum , which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2019. This crown jewel of museums lies on the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk). With over 8,600 paintings and 700 sculptures, there’s so much to see at the museum, they have itineraries just to guide you to the most important masterpieces, going all the way back to the 11th century. If that’s not enough, the same street is also home to the Reina Sofía Museum , known for more contemporary art like Salvador Dali’s work, alongside Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica. Or check out the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum , which a broad collection across landscape, genre art and avant-garde works.

SYTA.ORG 35

We also recommend a walk around the city, taking in all of the beautiful public squares. For instance, the Puerta del Sol is one of the busiest places in the city, home to large statues, gorgeous architecture, and a famous clock that rings in the New Year. Nearby is Plaza Mayor, a bustling central square full of sunny terraces, timehonored shops, street performers and the historic Casa de la Panadería. When you’re ready to do some shopping, walk on over to the Mercado de San Miguel , the city’s first gourmet market.

When you’re ready to move on, head just an hour outside of Madrid to Toledo, the historic capital of the Visigothic kingdom way back when. Christian, Moorish and Jewish culture converge here, which is why it’s known as the City of Three Cultures.

The must-see stop here is the Toledo Cathedral, also known as the Primatial Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo. Considered by some to be the magnum opus of the Gothic style in Spain, this beautiful cathedral is filled to the brim with stunning statues, inlays and arches. It’s enough to inspire awe in anyone. For another incredible place of worship, visit the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing: the Synagogue of Santa

Maria la Blanca , built in 1180, later converted to a Catholic church, and now a museum. And don’t forget the Church of Santo Tomé, home to the famous painting, 1586’s The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. On your way out, enjoy Fly Toledo, Europe’s longest urban zipline which will take you across the Tagus River.

Next, we’ll head south to Granada , filled with medieval architecture dating back to the Moorish occupation. The highlight here is the Alhambra , a palace and fortress complex that also happens to be one of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture in the world. Pools, gardens, tiles, endless patterns—it’s a unique place of beauty and contemplation.

Right next door is the Generalife, a summer palace and country estate nearby Alhambra. The architecture is more simple here, but the gardens and fountains are gorgeous. Granada is also a great place to attend an unforgettable flamenco performance, a passionate display of colorful costumes, intense poses and relentless rhythms led by castanets and clapping. You can either sit back and enjoy a show or take a group class to get your students moving.

From here, you could head to Seville, considered one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, or visit Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory with a fascinating network of caves, the remains of a

36 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 ITNERNATIONAL | SPAIN

Moorish Castle, and Europe’s only wild monkey population. But if you’re looking for another multiday, must-visit city, it’s time to head up the coast to Barcelona , the second largest city in the country.

The port city of Barcelona is excellent for walking, thanks to flowers, pedestrian boulevards and decorative pavement. Here you can enjoy views of a lovely city with mountains in the distance and the Mediterranean Sea at your back. Stop by the Mercat de la Boquería for every kind of treat you can imagine. Head to the city center for Monument a Colom , a towering statue of the controversial Christopher Columbus. Walk along Las Ramblas, a mile-long pedestrian street full of fun experiences like palm reading, open-air shops and street performers.

Then it’s time to hit the attractions, starting with the famous Sagrada Familia , a breathtaking church that’s been under construction since 1882, expected to finally be completed in 2026. Despite being unfinished, 18 intricately crafted spindle towers loom above the church, which is beautiful on the inside as well. Similarly designed by master architect Antoni Gaudi, Casa Milà demands to be seen as well, with its curved archways, warped balconies and twisted pillars resulting in a building unlike any other in the world.

For some outdoor destinations, you’ll of course want to visit the Olympic Stadium , built nearly a century ago and renovated in 1989. Or head to Park Güell for some sightseeing of lush gardens and colorful architecture, ranging from historic pavilions to viaducts, porticos, fountains, theaters, stairs and much more. Your trip should definitely include the Gothic Quarter as well, as this oldest part of Barcelona is filled with narrow medieval streets opening out into squares, remains of the Roman wall and several historic landmarks.

Finally, for an extra special trip, head to Montserrat , a mountain peak with sweeping views of the countryside and a 9th-century monastery home to the Black Virgin Mary of Montserrat. You may even hear the renowned boys’ choir during your visit!

SYTA.ORG 37

SUPPORTING LOCAL

Trail in Peru, I realized that I failed to bring a raincoat. I asked my guide to suggest a local outdoor clothing vendor. I knew that these purchases would not only support the store owners, but also those who made these products. Plus, these local products provide wonderful memories and create discussion. I still have that $3 raincoat that I purchased in Peru, people who visit my home rave about the paintings that hang on my wall, and my cocoa bean pendant gets the most comments and compliments.

aAs the president of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce (North Carolina), I promote supporting small businesses & shopping local especially in our rural town with a population of 4,500. It is imperative that our citizens support our mom and pop stores who comprise the bulk of our community business trade. This concept of supporting locally applies not only to my community, but to communities around the world. Supporting local not only provides economic support to those businesses, but it also gives visitors opportunities to purchase unique products and hand-crafted items.

As a world traveler, I often seek out shops that support local products & trades. In Turkey, I went to a small store that sold handmade rugs. In Bolivia, I chose a local vendor, who had a booth on the street, to purchase my cocoa bean pendant. While sightseeing in Egypt, I chose to visit a community bazaar because I knew the products were handmade by locals. In the outback of Australia, I opted to shop at in an Aboriginal village to purchase an item that promoted the culture and customs of their tribe. The paintings I bought in China, Italy and Japan created by local artists. Just before hiking the Inca

This summer, while touring Uganda, we utilized a local person to serve as our guide for our gorilla trek at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. I learned that there were so many locals who needed the work, that the national park rotates the work schedule, so all have an opportunity to work. Once a guide leads a gorilla trek, they cannot serve again for two weeks. This allows all an opportunity to earn income. Not only did we hire a local guide, but I also hired a porter, a person to carry my bag. Mind you, I was only carrying a small daypack, but little did I know the ruggedness of the the terrain of the jungle. My porter, Geoffrey, was amazing. He not only carried my bag, but he pushed and pulled me up the steep hills, cleared bushes to give me an easier route, and brushed the biting fire ants off me. My cost: $20. Money well-spent for my gorilla trek, but also for supporting a local and building a relationship with a local.

When I travel, I try to eat in local restaurants and avoid those eateries that

38 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 TRIP BEHAVIOR

have a sign out front that states, “tourism menu.” Restaurants with tourist menus usually have a set menu, tend to be located next to other tourist restaurants, and have a substantial markup for the food. Instead, I seek small, local restaurants where the food is authentic, the staff are extra friendly, and the prices are reasonable. In South Africa, I commented to the waiter about a unique bread that served to me. Next thing I knew, I was in the kitchen watching the bread made. My favorite memory of visiting a local restaurant occurred in China, when my friends and I wanted to eat noodles. I asked a local to recommend a noodle shop. She grabbed my hand, led me two blocks down the street and took me to her favorite place, a hole in the wall restaurant. The server did not speak English, so I did a slurping noise to indicate I wanted noodles and stood up, clucked, and flapped my arms to indicate I wanted chicken as well. The noodles were delicious, but I was not served chicken, no clue what it was, but I will never forget that experience. My friend, Tommy, took me to a small restaurant in Sweden. He insisted that I order the local delicacy, pickled herring (often called “rotten fish”). Tommy wanted to see how I would react when I tried it. As fast as the pickled herring went into my mouth, I spit it back out. Yuck! Visiting local restaurants is the best way to experience the culture and learn about customs.

Finally, I recommend using local booking

agencies, if possible. When I arrived in Nepal, I asked locals to recommend a tour agency to book a tour to Chitwan National Park. One person picked up his cellphone and called a local agency for me. I utilized the same process when I wanted to visit Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia and Atacama Desert in Chile, and a take a Mud Bath in a volcano in Colombia. I asked locals for recommendations. Each tour provided local guides who shared information about the region, attraction, and local experiences as well as it provided me authentic small group adventures. Most importantly, the prices with local booking agencies were cheaper than those with large companies.

Supporting local should be considered for teachers leading educational travel groups, because you expose the students to the local culture and custom, have authentic experiences, cultivate relationships, and save money. I understand that things should be booked in advance, especially if you have a large group; however, leave some flexibility in your schedule to incorporate local events, stores, and restaurants. If you use a local booking agency, make sure you check their validity, reliability, and safety records. Never sacrifice safety for money. Educators who use food, other goods and services produced locally help stimulate a regional economy, create, and retain valuable jobs, support families, and strengthen community and culture.

In a September 20, 2022 web article (on matthudson. me), titled, “Why you should support Local Business when Traveling,” it stated four key reasons why you should support local: (1) You enjoy a true and authentic experience (2) You are one of their own (3) It educates you about the local culture (4) It helps better the local economy.” As educators who lead student groups, we want to make an impact on our lives, our students and those we meet along life’s way. If we support local, we can help travel destinations be economically and socially successful and make a positive impact while enjoying authentic experiences.

SUPPORTING LOCAL SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR TEACHERS LEADING EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL GROUPS ...
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF SYTA | SYTA.ORG 39 BY
You expose the students to the local culture and custom, have authentic experiences, cultivate relationships, and save money.
JULIE BECK
40 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023
SYTA.ORG 41

LOOKING BEHIND THE EMERALD CURTAIN

For 20 years now, Wicked has inspired, entertained and delighted audiences around the world. As one of today’s most successful Broadway musicals, it deserves a behind-the-scenes experience to match. Enter “Behind the Emerald Curtain,” an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Wicked , great for diehard Broadway fans and newcomers alike. We talked with the people behind Behind the Emerald Curtain to find out what makes this experience perfect for student groups.

WHAT DOES BEHIND THE EMERALD CURTAIN ENTAIL?

Participants take a guided tour through our Behind the Emerald Curtain Museum, which includes an elaborate set model by Tony Awardwinner Eugene Lee and an up-close look at some of Tony Award-winner Susan Hilferty’s costumes (with beautiful details that are not always visible from the audience), as well as actual props and wigs from the show.

Behind the Emerald Curtain also highlights the work of the 125 people it takes to make every performance of Wicked happen. Each event concludes with a Q+A session with cast members, where you will have the opportunity to find out more about Wicked specifically and show business in general.

WHAT DO YOU SEE STUDENTS GETTING OUT OF IT?

Student groups are able to have a fun, educational experience before seeing Broadway’s biggest blockbuster! It is the opportunity to learn more about the theatre, beyond what is seen onstage. There are insights shared of multiple careers in the performing arts for students of all skill sets—backstage and front-ofhouse, as well as the craft industries that make Broadway so spectacular.

Group rates are available. Behind the Emerald Curtain is a perfect add-on to your show experience, or as a standalone event. To book a group of 15 or more, contact 321 Group Sales at (877) 321-0020 or groups@321mgt.com.

42 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023 f EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES

DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR MEMORY THAT STANDS OUT?

“My favorite happened at the very first time we did Behind the Emerald Curtain. A fan ran in as soon as we opened the doors, ran directly to Idina Menzel’s Wicked Witch/ Act II dress, and promptly burst into tears. She so loved the show and the costumes, and the idea that she could see this one in particular up close was overwhelming to her.

I can’t say we have that reaction very often, but patrons do come away with a much better idea of how many elements make up a musical of our size, and some hints of things to look for in other shows they see in the future,” says Susan

company manager.

WHAT MAKES WICKED A GREAT SHOW FOR TODAY’S YOUTH?

At Wicked, students will experience a show with a heartfelt story about friendship and finding your own voice, along with a compelling score and dazzling effects. As relevant as this story was when the show opened in 2003, the message rings even more true today, in a polarized and divided country, where those who are different may receive discriminatory treatment and lesser privileges. There are many themes to bring back to school for further discussion after seeing this show, for students of all ages.

SYTA.ORG 43 Cedar Fair Entertainment 11 www.cedarfairyouthsales.com Empire State Building Observatory 22 www.esbynyc.com Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation 7 www.jyfmuseums.org Marine Corps Heritage Foundation 41 www.marineheritage.org New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism 33 www.visitnj.org New York City Ballet C3 www.nycballet.com PhotoVision, Inc 41 www.grouptravelvideos.com Pigeon Forge Dept of Tourism 18 www.mypigeonforge.com Rise NY C2 www.riseny.co Ron Jon Surf Shop of Florida Inc. 40 www.ronjonsurfshop.com SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment C4 www.seaworldentertainment.com Shear Madness 5 www.shearmadness.com Skydeck 7 www.theskydeck.com SUMMIT One Vanderbilt 27 www.summitov.com TeachTravel.org 33 www.teachtravel.org The Metropolitan Opera 27 www.metopera.org The Museum of Modern Art 22 www.moma.org Top of the Rock Observation Deck 19 www.rockefellercenter.com Tourism Council of Frederick County 40 www.visitfrederick.org Visit Baltimore 18 www.baltimore.org AD INDEX

STUDENTS

SPEAK:

AFRICA IN PARIS

l“La police est là!” Women with colorful dashikis dart from their posts as a Paris police car pulls up scanning for illegal activity. Peanut vendors quickly transform into ordinary men walking the streets of little Africa, while the women carry innocent smiles, carriers of vegetables they never intended to sell. The police smirk, sensing the act and leave as quickly as they came.

I turn to my right, and see dad talking to a woman bearing business cards. “Ça va bien” and “oui” spill out of their conversation. A smile dots his face.

If you asked me about my trip to Paris, it wouldn’t be the Eiffel tower or the Louvre I would rave about, but the unexpected community I found in the “city of love”. The loud wheels of the green and white RER train whoosh through each station as we moved further into the city. Why are we so far down the station line?, I wondered. The train finally ground to a halt at Chateau Rouge, my tired legs and rumbling stomach carrying me out the metro.

Walking through the winding streets, I see more people of my skin color, which I didn’t see before. Surprise mixes with intrigue as the narrow paths open into men with sacks of peanuts yelling out deals in fast (African accented) French. “Deux por un euro”, one man yells as his competition roasting corn on a suspiciously rusty grill also shout out the same deal. Although competing against one another, the vendors

also work together. From one woman recommending an African restaurant to another pointing us in the direction of her friend selling plantains, the community wants to aid one another despite pocketing their own profits. I’m in awe of how certain every person in the market is.

Making a living with produce sold on streets or compact restaurants big enough to fit less than 7 people, their friendly and cajoling demeanors lure customers into investing the 2 euros they planned to save for a metro trip back home into the grilled corn their mouths couldn’t resist. Here, a veil of self reassurance masks an uncertain future.

I tried new foods I’d never heard of, while listening to childhood stories from my dad, who felt the most relaxed amongst familiar food and people who’d lived a similar reality to him: moving to a foreign country in search of a better life. The crispy taste of “soya”, a popular Cameroonian meat kabob, melted on my tongue, the heat numbing my taste bud. “Bobolo” and “brochette” were words added to my vocabulary along with the African songs playing in the background.

I learned more about my background from one day in a discrete street in Paris than in a city whose 116th street African neighborhood I had walked through for years. Can traveling to an unfamiliar place allow more self actualization than staying in a familiar one? The popping sound of hot oil and the smell of grilled meat springs me out of my daydream and back to my kitchen where I try to recreate not only the soya I ate in Paris, but the wisdom I gained too.

44 TEACH & TRAVEL MAGAZINE | JANUARY 2023
STUDENTS SPEAK
Milan Ndjiki, 16, is in the 11th grade at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering in New York City, New York.

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