I am writing this on the eve of my third Middle School Chaperoning Trip at Girls Prep. We are taking the 7th grade to New York City for two days and one night. We will walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, take the train, walk through Times Square, see a Broadway show (Lion King), and take them to Ellis Island. All this, without losing a single girl. I have spent a few afternoons answering questions like "Can you tell us who we're rooming with? Can you tell us the bus seats? What about just the first name? What about the first initial of the last name? Can we bring snacks on the bus? Can we bring snacks to the hotel? Can we buy snacks in Time Square, Can we buy snacks at the play? What if we get lost?
As I go over the details again and again, I can't help but reminisce about my own school trips.
In 4th grade I was at Progressive Elementary and we were studying American History. We took a trip to the Old State House and put flowers on the spot of the Boston Massacre and had a memorial service (complete with eulogies) for those who died. I was shocked 7 years later when I found out it wasn't so much a massacre, as an angry mob provoking soldiers. I remember sitting in my AP US History class saying "No, wait, but in elementary school they told me that... wait, that's NOT what happened??!!"
The next trip was in 6th grade, still at Progressive Elementary. This time it was a week-long trip to Nova Scotia. 20 boys and girls, ages 11, with no parents, just teachers. How brave our teachers were! Some of them even camped. In tents! I'm stressed about going away for one night in a hotel. But of course, in 6th grade, it was amazing and most of the trip I still remember.
My last class trip was in 8th grade, at Girls Prep. This was before they started going to Washington D.C., but when we would go up to Quebec City. By bus. We were in French-Speaking-Canada with only half of us speaking French (and those who did, it was only 8th grade French). I remember walking around the city, walking in a mall, but mostly I remember the ridiculous games we played in our hotel room (the very fancy Le Chateau Frontenac). I really don't think we slept at all (I actually think we challenged ourselves not to). And, much to the chagrin of our French-Canadian Security Guard (who didn't specialize in interacting with Middle School girls), we had a hilarious, fabulous, amazing time with no sleep. That's what it will be like for the girls tomorrow (but add back the sleep please). They'll bond as a class and have great memories of running around New York City. I just hope they don't run too far or sleep too little or I won't make it to Friday.