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Brainstorm with me.., High School field trip group


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#1 Rebel Yell

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 10:06 PM

PLEASE DO NOT QUOTE I will remove some of personal the info after I get some good responses


I have two graduates, and I only have two school years left with BabyBaby. She needs more contact with local kids her age. Her activities are martial arts, and the few kids her age there are male, just one female. Changing styles or gyms is not an option.

She will be doing a few classes at an enrichment center one day/week, and there will be some old friends she lost touch with there.

For reasons I won't go into, she is no longer part of a long-time friend group, and it looks like things might be shifting with some current friends as well, in addition to several friends graduating and aging out of programs. There are only four girls in our high school youth group, two just graduated and one is the other girl from the gym... changing churches or youth group is also not an option, although she'd be open to attending a different youth group if it didn't interfere with her martial arts training.

All righty, what I'm wanting to do is start a sort of field trip club for high schoolers ONLY. We stopped going to homeschool events years ago because there were either no older kids, or the event got aimed at the "mature" little siblings who had to tag along. But there are so many things my youngest especially has missed out on, and honestly, I think many field trip locations are far more interesting when you're older, especially since we live in a very historical area. I'd like to plan a mix of fun, sporty, arts, and educational trips/events. What I need is help with phrasing a general purpose and guidelines thing. I'm not sure if I should make it an email list or Facebook group. I prefer Facebook group because that works best for me.

What I want:
Grades 9-12 only, age 14+, no matter how smart and mature the 12yo is.
Pre-payment and registration. mail check? PayPal? (Free events still require payment to hold place, either returned day of event or donation to venue)
General behavior policy
Drop-off preferred, or how to phrase it so that if younger siblings are there, if it's an 'open to the public' event that they have to stay with a parent and not participate with the high school group?
If I'm merely setting up meeting times and arranging for group discounts, what kind of waiver should I have them sign? And what info should I collect- parent contact, etc.?

most important to me, how can I set it up so that participants/members have to be approved? The fallout mentioned above had police involvement, and my state doesn't do restraining orders except for domestic partnership situations, so it's my duty to avoid the trouble. :( but we've been hiding and avoiding long enough, I want to reach out and help meet my child's needs without setting myself up for trouble or lawsuits, or worse, wasting my time and ending up with another preschool playgroup because as soon as one middle schooler shows up, the high school kids never return. And I have nothing against middle schoolers, but there are so few opportunities and events for high schoolers, and I want to help provide that for them

THANKS everyone!

Edited by Rebel Yell, 15 July 2017 - 10:29 PM.

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#2 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:58 PM

What I see happening in our area is that someone will decide that a field trip is a good idea.  They will contact the organization to set a time, get info on group size and cost.  Then they will post it in the Facebook group that is specifically for older kids.  This group is for ages 10+.  They post the details and the cost.  People comment if they are interested, but a spot is not held until they send payment via Paypal (using Friends & Family option).  Even events that are no cost have a charge to hold the spot.  Money is refunded upon attendance in this situation, or the money goes to help fund the end of the year formal dance.

 

The FB group requires approval to join.  People who have caused problems are removed from the group.  

 

For some outings, word goes out via text or FB message before it is posted to the group.

 

There are liability forms for individual events if the organization requires them.  They are posted as files to the FB group and linked to the event in FB.  I've not seen a general group liability form or bylaws or rules for conduct except for the RSVP policy that people agree to when they join the FB group.  This outlines the expectation that signing up for an event is a commitment.  There are NO refunds.  You might be allowed to sell your spot, but the organizer is not responsible for finding someone interested.  People who are no shows are reported to group moderators and may be removed from the group if this is a pattern.

 

We have a pretty solid group of high schoolers now.  There is a spin off FB group for the older, older students (I think this one is 16+).  

 

Drop off vs parent coming depends on the event and family.  Some limit the number of chaperones, but also require a certain number based on group size.  Others don't care.

 

Yes, there are people who ask about tag-alongs.  They are told that the age guideline announced is the guideline for that event.  They are encouraged to organize events that fit their family profile and open them up to other families if they want a broader range of ages.  

 

IMHO, wanting the activity to be geared to high school level abilities, interests and expectations is more than sufficient reason for having a minimum age.  Yes, this excludes some kids and may make it inconvenient for some families.  However, it also makes it more welcoming for the students who are the target of the event in the first place.  

 

There is no reason I can think of why I would be obligated to bring along a family that has caused trouble for me in the past.  That might make me unpopular with them.  I have pretty tough skin at this point.  


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#3 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:00 AM

Another option, for events that don't require a reservation, is to simply announce that you will be going to an event or activity.  You could say that you will be at a particular landmark at a certain time if anyone wants to join up.  Send out a specific invite to a couple friends you want to have along.  Don't worry about arranging a group discount.

 

Post cool pictures of your activity to encourage participation the next time.



#4 Rebel Yell

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 06:55 AM

Another option, for events that don't require a reservation, is to simply announce that you will be going to an event or activity. You could say that you will be at a particular landmark at a certain time if anyone wants to join up. Send out a specific invite to a couple friends you want to have along. Don't worry about arranging a group discount.

Post cool pictures of your activity to encourage participation the next time.


(PLEASE DONT AUOTE ME, thanks!)

Thank you!
Problem is, there sadly isn't a group of friends we'd want to have along. Hoping to make some new ones, or at least have some fun social experiences outside the gym. I'd be fine with not getting a group discount, I just want a group :D

The biggest concern is being able to disallow the trouble family from attending. I don't think they'd try to attend just to be spiteful (although of course we never imagined they'd do what they did) but fear of accidentally bumping into them has kept us in hiding, somewhat. We need to get back to "normal" and I'm hoping that having some control over the crowd will help us enjoy without looking over our shoulder, KWIM?
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#5 Cathrynlyn

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:01 PM

I applaud you, it's not easy to take that step and find new activities for your daughter especially when past friendships have been more than unpleasant. If you use a Facebook page you should be able to block all the names of the people in that family and others. Your waiver could include conditions regarding behavior such as bullying, either in person online, respecting property. Specify how many chances a person gets before they get booted out of the group. And make sure there are guidelines for how to behave for instance if it's a library tour they should not be talking and giggling through most of it. And since you will be the main chaperone it's easier to enforce these things rather than when each person is with their own parent. Unfortunately not every parent pays attention to how their child is acting in these public situations. Good luck!

Edited by Cathrynlyn, 16 July 2017 - 09:48 PM.

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#6 Ellie

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:45 AM

A friend in another state started a support group that was *only* for children 12 and older (she called it Road Runners, because when there are high school-age children in the family, the parents are always on the rode driving them places, lol). She approved all families (eventually, families with children younger than the target group started an auxiliary group, which they called Coyotes). All activities could only be attended by children in the target group, no exceptions.

 

I don't see why you can't start a field trip group like that (although you could refer to it as a support group, which kind of sounds better to me  :)  ).. You describe the group, require applications of some kind, and have some sort of annual membership fee (in addition to the fees for the actual field trips). Only members could attend your field trips, and they would be pre-approved, so you wouldn't have to worry about that for each event.

 

Kudos for requiring payment ahead of time. So many people use PayPal today that I think that would probably be your best bet. In the olden days, I required payment (which had to be by check, because no PayPal yet) *by mail,* not in person, not even at park day or any other place I saw people In person, using the Official Registration Form I created for each field trip.


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#7 SebastianCat

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:50 AM

I think a closed Facebook group would work very well for what you are looking to do.   Whenever you receive a request to join from a new family, you can message them or email them a document with your guidelines, and then you approve their membership in the group once they sign and send it back to you.   

 

Since you are talking about a field trip group for high school students, one issue you will need to address sooner or later is whether to allow teens to drive to these events or whether teens can drive other teens for the sake of carpooling.   I don't know how you feel about it, but think through the issue - are you willing (and do you have capacity) to give rides?   Will younger siblings be allowed to tag along if their parents are the only ones available to give rides?   If parents drop of their high schoolers, will there be some sort of penalty for late pickup after the event?   

 

I definitely think PayPal is the way to go for reservations.   If you had one or two families who don't have access to PayPal, you could handle them separately, but PayPal is much easier than mailing a check.


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#8 AppleGreen

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:38 PM

We had a parent organize this in our area a number of years ago. We never participated because my kids were younger, but they did a lot of really cool trips, some educational (factory tours etc.) and some more focused on fun (hiking, skate park). The parent was vigilant about maintaining the age requirements. She always kindly, but firmly explained how there were a number of awesome activities in our area centered around younger children, so this one was focused on the older bunch. She offered to share her wisdom with parents in creating a similar group for younger kids, but she was always very firm about the boundaries of the group.

 

i think others have given you a good idea on managing the privacy of the group. I am not on Facebook, so I cannot speak to its effectiveness. I definitely think prepayment is the way to go.

 

I think you have to be willing to say upfront what the expectations are until the culture of your group is known (i.e. no younger sibs unless the parent is present and not part of the older group). Once you get it down and get a solid group, I think much of the issues will be taken care of. 

 

Happy organizing! 


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#9 Um_2_4

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:59 PM

Just an idea, but I saw in several emails for a local group (you had to be approved to join, I think it was a yahoo group) that when an activity specified 12+ only or whatever ages, that she would state something along the line of "moms with younger siblings: There is no where to wait on site, but 1 street over is a shopping area with McDs or a park or _____________ if you wish to remain in the area" or "Parents and younger sibs can enjoy the park area to the north of the museum while waiting for us to finish our tour", etc. She made it very clear that littles would not be admitted. She did what looked like some cool trips, but all mine were too young at the time. 


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#10 Rebel Yell

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 11:17 AM

Thanks everyone! I think I can do this!

As far as rides/drop off etc. I do not plan to arrange any of that, nor be responsible for it. Kids can arrive at the event location on foot, by bus, train, bike, limo, parent, Harley, private helicopter, jet pack, or their own personal restored classic car. :D My state has fairly restrictive laws on how many passengers a teen with a junior license can transport. I am also going to have some sort of statement (HELP with phrasing, anyone?) about teens arriving early or waiting for a late pick up... since these will be high school ages kids 14+, if they have to hang out in a museum lobby or whatever, they are not my problem at that point. Which is one of the many advantages to having this for older teens only. :D

#11 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 11:42 AM

Btw a teen group we are part of did have to address behavior at meetings and outings by teen "couples." The organizer made it clear that public displays of affection were a distraction and were not appropriate at group events.

Probably to think about fir down the road.

#12 Rebel Yell

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 07:55 AM

Btw a teen group we are part of did have to address behavior at meetings and outings by teen "couples." The organizer made it clear that public displays of affection were a distraction and were not appropriate at group events.

Probably to think about fir down the road.


Excellent point! Thank you!

Personally, if a couple is walking along, holding hands, I'm fine with that. "hello!" And "good bye" hugs too... just like I'd be OK with it for a friend group. Groping and kissing beyond the "hello" peck on the cheek? ehhh no. I don't want to be the PDA police, but I also don't want field trips to be free for all make out sessions. I forget that people even do that.

Anybody have suggestions for phrasing that nicely?

#13 loesje22000

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 01:13 PM

Excellent point! Thank you!

Personally, if a couple is walking along, holding hands, I'm fine with that. "hello!" And "good bye" hugs too... just like I'd be OK with it for a friend group. Groping and kissing beyond the "hello" peck on the cheek? ehhh no. I don't want to be the PDA police, but I also don't want field trips to be free for all make out sessions. I forget that people even do that.

Anybody have suggestions for phrasing that nicely?


Dd summercamps phrase it like:
Welcome to camp:
Rule 1
Rule 2
...
Last rule: you have chosen to be part of a group camp, so if you and your love are both on camp you can't isolate your self from the group, there are lots of other possibilities to be alone with your love, just not at this camp.

Very last rule:
All activities are planned with joy and love, please leave 'don't like it' 'don't want to' at home.
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#14 Alessandra

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 02:07 PM

Have you considered Venture Scouts? It's a Boy Scouts of America coed group for ages 14-21. BSA has rules about supervision and conduct.

Both my ds and dd are Venture Scouts. The Scouts do most of the planning for activities. Some events are just for fun -- bowling, rock climbing gym, mystery room, barbecues. Other events are more typically scouty, like backpacking. Big plus -- local area scouts organize things like camporees, so you have only to attend. Each Venture crew can have its own theme, if they wish -- some could be focused on outdoors, others on STEM activities. Our crew is small, so we often do activities with other crews.