We miss taking groups to Washington, D.C. Our guides and trip planners miss it too. Naomi from Grand Classroom sat down with our Guide and Motorcoach Manager, Tim Krepp, who spent years as a DC tour guide to let him explain what the trip is like, what he misses, and what's different in the age of COVID.
Here's a synopsis:
Q. Give a rundown on what you do on this trip and a summary of what the trip is all about.
A. The DC trip can best be explained as a chance to explore our nation in a tactile format. The actual content of the trip will depend on how much time a group has elected to spend in the City itself. Some of the main highlights from almost any DC tour are exploring the monuments and memorials, visiting Arlington Cemetery and spending time at the nation's Capitol. Another high point is letting the students explore the museums along the National Mall with a bit of independence. This can be a really nice growing experience, especially for Middle and High School students.
Q. What are some of the favorite moments - from the kids' perspective - from the teachers' perspective?
A. It really depends on what the individual brings with them already. Some people are already greatly interested in history while others might not be as interested in book knowledge. However, almost everyone agrees that seeing our capital as a living CIty helps bring things into a very tangible context.
Q. What changes can we expect to see with the DC trip in a post-covid society?
A. The short answer is that nobody really knows. One of the main things that will be even more necessary than before will be flexibility. The itinerary is the backbone of any trip, but it is a plan, not a promise. In the past there could be potential hiccups due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather issues, motorcade traffic, etc. In the future we can expect that on steroids. However, there won't be any down time to have to fill. DC is a living city with over 700,000 people and there are always interesting things going on. And often it is the one off experiences that weren't planned for that become the memories people carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Q. What is the best part of bringing students on these trips?
A. One of the best parts of bringing students on these trips is to show them some of the different ways people live in their country. A lot of our students grow up with a more suburban experience, but in DC they are exposed to City living and that can be very eye-opening.
Q. What are you most looking forward to in getting groups back out?
A. We are looking forward to having a standard level of anxiety becoming the new goal. There are lots of factors that go into making a trip run smoothly, and it will be nice to not have to worry about social distancing, mask, etc at some point.
Q. Describe your favorite part about this trip?
A. One of the best parts of the DC, and really any trip, is to see the tour through the eyes of our guests. Guides usually have been to these sites countless times, but each student and teacher brings their own unique perspective and that creates a special type of alchemy.