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Would you allow your 15 year old daughter go to Europe with a choir she is in?


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:confused: Dd asked me today if she could sign up. The trip would not be until June of 2013. They want interested people to sign up as interested by the end of January so they can get fundraisers started and such. The money would go into 'personal' accounts for the trip but if that child decided against it it would be added evenly amongst those who will be signed up for sure.

 

 

 

My original knee jerk reaction was to say there is no way I am sending my 15 year old daughter to the other side of the globe. Then the logical side started thinking. She is very mature (and the trip is still 18 months away) so that gives her that much more time to mature and grow in her responsibility.

 

Help me think this through. Would you allow this kind of trip? Why or why not?

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I would ask myself:

1. Am I happy with the leadership of the choir? Will they be chaperoning or will there be other chaperones? [And could I get a free ticket by offering to chaperone? :D] How closely will they be supervising?

2. Am I happy with her friends in the choir? Would they be a good influence on a trip like this?

3. Am I comfortable with the itinerary/where they'll be staying?

4. Do I feel that DD's maturity level allows me to trust her in the situations she'll be in? IE, She won't be trying to get away with as much as possible.

 

I spent my 16th birthday on a church trip in Germany and it was a wonderful experience! My mother was also on the trip, but we stayed with different host families.

 

HTH a little!

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Yes.

 

Our children are in a children's choir. Each choir takes a trip in the spring. Elementary choirs take a day trip, middle school choirs a 2-3 night trip, and high school choirs often travel out of the state or country. Last year, they went to Germany. A few years ago, they went to Beijing. I expect that by the time my boys reach high school, they will take at least one out-of-country trip. Of course, if they go, I want to chaperone! :D

 

We also sent our then-16 y.o. dd on a 2+ week trip to Japan. She had a blast.

 

It's such a good experience for the kids. If you trust your daughter and the organization, consider letting her go. :)

 

Cat

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Well, in a few years she could be away at a university totally on her own. If you trust the supervision, this could be a great opportunity to get a little practice at independence.

 

Also, what kind of trouble might she get in that she couldn't find at home?

 

For me, unless I had a child who went looking for trouble or was incredibly foolish, I would let her go.

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I would need to know a lot more about the people in this choir, adult/child ratio, how much 'free' time that was unstructured she would have. For instance - would they have an afternoon in Paris to do whatever she wanted without supervision simply be back by X time OR would it be an afternoon in Paris on a guided tour, an hour to refresh and re-group for a performance at X time???

 

Are they staying in homes of people? How many group members go to a single house together? Or are they at hotel/pensions and what about a curfew?

 

Also, what do you think about the other people in this choir in general? Are these people you would be ok with her doing something like this in your home state?

 

I wouldn't say no at this point, but I would request a ton more information before saying yes.

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When I was 15/16, I spent my junior year in Scandinavia, which was one of the most formative experiences of my life. So, if you're happy with the supervision and all, I say YES!

 

(In truth I would have a very hard time sending MY kid, because of her severe food allergies...but otherwise, yes!)

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I wouldn't.......not at 15.

Unless I was going as well. In which case - totally yes.

 

Just too far away at such a young age....... Our world is very different now vs. even 20 years ago. There are other opportunities for kids to spread their wings a bit - I just don't think you need to go to as far away as Europe to do that. I just feel more secure knowing I can hop in a car or hop on a plane and be there quickly if necessary.......and yes, I know I am probably more paranoid than most. Then again, my DD is only 8......so I have zero experience with more mature, level headed teens.

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My answer would be to watch the movie "Taken" by Liam Neeson. If, after seeing that movie, you are okay with it then go right on ahead.

 

(Which is my way of saying hell no)

 

I only watched the beginning of that movie (a bit past the point where the girl was "taken") and couldn't bear to watch more. However, I don't believe it is fair to equate the situation in that movie (two girls going to Europe ALONE to stay with a host family) with this one (a group trip with adult chaperones).

 

Of course you would need to be comfortable with the adults organizing the trip, the other kids going along, and the accommodation arrangements.

 

FWIW, I went to France for a month, alone, to stay with my long-time penpal and her family 2 months before I turned 17. My grandmother was all up in arms, thought my parents were nuts to let me go, and maybe they were. But, it was one of the most formative experiences of my life. It solidified my personality, who I was and who I wanted to become, what I wanted to do with my life.

 

OTOH, I cannot imagine letting one of my dc do the same thing now, 20 years later. :tongue_smilie:. If they were going, not on their own, but with adults that I trusted completely, possibly, but I would prefer to tag along myself ;).

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I wouldn't say no "just" because she's 15.

 

I'm a pretty protective parent, considered overprotective by most. My 16yodd went to South America last summer on a missions trip. We knew virtually none of the other 40 team members; we knew one dad and daughter, and vaguely knew the church youth group leader. (We were attending this church that was quite a distance, and we never had much opportunity to plug in.)

 

We were very comfortable with our decision, as it was clear from the beginning that God's hands were all over it.

 

If I were in this position again, I'd be praying. You have plenty of time to get a clear answer. And if it doesn't work out, then your dd can appreciate the time she spent helping some of those in her group raise funds for their trip.

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Sure.

I would assume such a trip is chaperoned by adults, the whole trip is organized, and she would not have to make her own arrangements.

European countries are developed countries, with low crime and good medical facilities.

Some high schoolers move a YEAR overseas as an exchange student.

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Sounds like she will be 17 (or nearly) when this trip takes place.

 

Travel experience is very important to us, so as long as I saw that the trip was well-planned, I would not have any issues against.

 

Well, of course...I always wish I could keep them locked in the house forever. That's not healthy, so...

 

Risk them to the world we must. -Yoda*

 

*Not really. Although I imagine he might say such a thing.

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My answer would be to watch the movie "Taken" by Liam Neeson. If, after seeing that movie, you are okay with it then go right on ahead.

 

(Which is my way of saying hell no)

 

:iagree: I have never watch this movie but I do not trust others to lead and guide my dc for that length of time in another country. Our oldest ds went on a couple of trips in the usa but he was over 18, had been working for several years, owned his own vehicle that he had payed for and he payed for the trips. Not that money is the top thing but he showed responsibility in these areas.

 

I would not let a 15 yr old go. JMO

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My twins had their 13th birthdays over in Germany on a 3-week trip. Two of those weeks they stayed with (different) host families, the third they were in a youth hostel with the group.

 

I'm probably also the wrong one to ask... my mom sent me over to Germany alone (even alone on the plane) when I was 9yo to visit relatives I'd never met before for 6 weeks. I did it again when I was 11. Then when I was 15 I spent 8 weeks in Mexico City (with friends of my mother's, but people I'd never met). When I was 17 I traveled for a month alone in Europe on trains and in hostels with two other girls, both 16yo (that was part of a year abroad, I didn't fly over just for that. :)).

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I have mixed feelings about expensive teen-group trips. I would consider whether the cost of the trip was a good investment given what they had planned, etc., vs. spending the money on a family trip to a similar destination, or a residential summer program at a college, etc. etc. In other words, if she was to choose/invest in a "big trip" or "big activity", money-wise, is this where the money would be spent? If so, I'd seriously consider it, asking all the questions PP's have mentioned. If the money would be better spent elsewhere, then no. Don't choose this one just because it's come up. Take a bit of time to consider other "big ticket" opportunities, and if there's one that would be better at furthering your dd's big-picture, long-term goals, then I'd turn this one down.

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Spent my junior year in high school studying abroad in France. I lived in Paris, but galavanted all over Europe on the weekends and in my spare time with my Eurail pass. All we students were told was to avoid the Eastern Bloc countries....yeah, I'm old. :D

 

It was the best experience of my life. I stuck to my standards because *I* wanted to...not because anyone was forcing me to. I was offered alcohol at every. single. meal. I asked for Coke. I was pinched on my bottom by random men on the streets of Paris (and in Italy) more times than I can count. It got to the point where, if it didn't happen, my girlfriends and I actually felt slighted. :lol: I had friends who hung out at "le disco" every night until 4 AM. I hung out at the Louvre. I came back very sure of who I was, and much broadened in my view of the world. Oh, and with a FABULOUS wardrobe, since my friends and I learned to do some very serious bargain shopping on the streets of Paris. That skill cannot be underestimated. ;)

 

So yes....let her go!!

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My answer would be to watch the movie "Taken" by Liam Neeson. If, after seeing that movie, you are okay with it then go right on ahead.

 

(Which is my way of saying hell no)

 

 

:iagree: Or maybe that girl a few years back Natalie was it?? Did they ever find that girls body? There would be no way on this green earth would they go. It is not even about what she would do either. I trust my daughter totally. It is about the sickos that prey on these types of things. It is about another country where my child go go missing and I would have no idea where to even start.

 

It is about the living for the rest of my life knowing I put her on that plane and I wasn't there to protect her. I can't do it forever but I will do it until she is an adult. She makes her choices then. I will not make that kind of choice that could cost her her very life.

 

Not worth it. It happens everyday. Girls in foreign countries snagged sold into slavery never to be seen again. It happens every single day.

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If I trusted the adults supervising the trip, I would let her go.

 

:iagree: I would feel more comfortable with my kids traveling to Europe with the music groups they're involved with because I know from experience that the director is on top of things and the group would be highly supervised. I'm probably more nervous about kids traveling for a weekend with our church youth group. :glare:

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Well, if I let her be in the choir in the first place, it means I trust the leadership.

I would have absolutely no problem letting her go.

 

Have to say some of you make it sound like she'd be going solo or with girlfriends to some TW country. It's Europe. It's not that far and not that different. MO, of course.

 

I do wonder if some of our answers are based on never having traveled there and perceptions we get from the news.

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Yes, I spent the summer when I was 15 in Europe. My folks knew someone who was at the place I was working and left my allowance with her. I had to check in with her whenever I needed more $$ :D. Of course, then she would fill my folks in on what I was doing. I was there from June to September. I kept asking for my travel tickets to be rescheduled and they did, twice.

 

I finally had to come home for school. It was a blast!

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I absolutely would!!! What a great experience! There would be a lot of chaperones and boundaries.

 

This summer my 15 year old is going to California for the summer (which is technically in a different country) to attend a youth program and YWAM Chico. She'll be gone 8 weeks. My oldest did it this past summer and had such a great time! She came home so confident and mature (more than when she left).

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Not worth it. It happens everyday. Girls in foreign countries snagged sold into slavery never to be seen again. It happens every single day.

 

But it doesn't happen to American girls, in European countries, while visiting with choir groups. Does it even happen once a year?

 

I'm more concerned about the day to day risks that actually endanger teens: driving or other accidents; suicide; violence. And it's also far more likely that my dc could be a victim of sexual assault by someone in their known circle.

 

I'm not challenging anyone's opinion on whether or not they'd allow this, but the possibility that "it happens every single day" in this situation is just not accurate. :confused:

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My mom let me go to the other side of the world when I was 15. It was a 4-week trip, 3 of which were in Spain. (The focus was supposed to be language study.) It was all high school students from several schools. The chaperones had been on the same trip several times. There were a number of planned tours, but we also had a lot of freedom to explore on our own. I remember one day trip was cancelled because the tour company felt the area was unsafe. Overall it was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I got to go.

 

I would let my dd go if I felt she was mature enough and if I thought the chaperones were responsible and trustworthy.

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My parents let me go off on overseas adventures many moons ago, and I have mixed feelings about it, actually.

 

OTOneH, looking back, they were so naive. :001_huh: I'm not sure they even knew were to find those countries on the map. They certainly didn't check things out ahead of time, but I survived in spite of some serious challenges.

 

OTOtherH, the travel was formative and mostly fun (except the dysentery, getting chased across the river at night by Rastas, the army ants, and the flood -- long stories). Like I said, I survived it all....

 

But you are talking about Europe. Where in Europe? With whom? For how long? How much cost? Those are your "reporter's questions," LOL.

 

I think the main advantage you have is the "when" of this trip. You have a year and a half -- use that time to take other, more local, trips with your daughter. Go to Canada, do a border crossing. Go to a big city, take in a museum or public tour. How does she do? You're not "testing" her, just getting a sense of how she travels.

 

Perhaps you could watch "Taken" with your daughter? I haven't seen it, so I don't know... but if you watched it, then you could also discuss it with her. But I wouldn't want to only paint a picture of the world as only evil. I would, however, require her to learn about the not-so-rosy side of world traveling -- including kidnappings, human trafficking, the sex slave trade, and other dark-side realities. IMO, if she's old enough to travel without a parent, she's old enough to do it with eyes and ears open.

 

There is evil out there, really, and it isn't all in Europe. ;) If you feel that the leadership of the trip will take seriously its role of protecting the choir members, then let her go.

Edited by Sahamamama
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Well, my daughter went to London for three weeks with a group from school when she was 15.

 

And my son is going to London and Oxford this summer for two weeks with his choir. He will be 14.

 

I've had no hesitation about either trip, except for worrying a bit whether my son will eat. We're vegans, and he won't have as much freedom to wander around on his own as my daughter did when she went. His group is supposed to be eating breakfast and dinner together in dining halls, and I'm concerned about how much he will find there that works for him. He gets very cranky and tends to "crash" when he doesn't eat well. So, that's a concern.

 

But both groups have done these kinds of trips before and know what they are doing. So, I'm glad my kids have an opportunity to have these experiences.

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In Taken, the girls are idiots who are traveling alone, and she has lied to her father. Plus, it's a movie - ie, fiction.

 

Don't talk to cute boys who approach you in the airport and tell them where you'll be staying.

 

Yes, I would let my daughter go on a trip with her choir, assuming I had no bad feelings about anyone she was traveling with.

 

Oh, and Natalee Holloway (if that's her name) was out drinking at a bar and left with some guys she had just met, which is a dumb thing to do in any country.

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I'm more concerned about the day to day risks that actually endanger teens: driving or other accidents; suicide; violence. And it's also far more likely that my dc could be a victim of sexual assault by someone in their known circle.

 

I'm not challenging anyone's opinion on whether or not they'd allow this, but the possibility that "it happens every single day" in this situation is just not accurate. :confused:

 

Laura

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You just need to ask lots of questions. My son's trip is incredibly structured. They will be in groups at all times. There are lots of chaperones, including medical personnel. (I think we have physicians and nurses.)

 

A child is not even allowed to go to the restroom alone. There are strict rules for the number of adults and students that must be together, etc... Ask if the trip is being planned by travel agents that specialize in choir tours. It makes a huge difference.

 

One added thing- get your passport, too. It will make you feel better in case there is an emergency.

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15 isn't 13, you'll feel much differently about sending her then. If you are happy with the choir's leadership and your dd's behavior I would let her go. You can get her a cheapish phone and she can text or call you from Europe if you want or an i pod touch and she can e mail and text from that.

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Yes, if I trusted the chaperones and the trip was well-organized. My husband takes his high school orchestra on tour out of the country every few years.
Yes. Me, too. Almost without hesitation. I went on a number of Band tours in my High School/College years, and they were some of the best experiences of my life.

 

As a parent, I'd want to know:

  • has this director undertaken such a trip before?

 

  • what plans are in place for chaperons?

 

 

  • where are they planning to stay?

 

  • what transportation are they using? At all ends, inc. getting to and from the airport.

 

  • how busy is the tour schedule? Are there plenty of breaks for food? Will the group site-see together or turn the kids loose?

 

 

I wouldn't be at all concerned about stranger kidnapping (so statistically rare as to not be a factor.) I would be concerned about the possibility of groping/being groped willingly/unwillingly by a boy in the group (the infamous "Band tour romance.") The personality/maturity of my daughter would be what I'd assess there, plus the chaperon arrangement.

 

Make sure the choir director instructs all the kids not to give the name and address of where they are staying to guys they meet. A more real problem than kidnapping is the unfortunate (thank you, Hollywood) reputation in Europe that American girls are easy. When I was an LDS missionary in Austria, there was an incident at the nearby BYU study abroad center when two BYU girls out jogging told two local guys where they were staying. Said local guys got really drunk a couple of nights later and broke into the center looking for the girls for a "good time." Instead, they found the room of the very level-headed grad assistant, who was able to awaken everyone else before any harm was done.

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100% yes! A trip to Europe? That is an amazing opportunity for anyone! I went to Europe for 16 days at 15 and am still so thankful for that chance. It's easy to say at 15 "Oh, I can travel whenever I want when I'm an adult" but 3 kids, homeschooling & 1 income later and that chance doesn't present itself too often.

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Yes, definitely, with the general cautions of everyone else - chaparones, etc. You might also ask her how she feels about the maturity level of the choir members and if she feels she'll have the support and guidance she needs from the adults.

 

When I was in high school, I toured the Soviet Union with a youth symphony (yes, I'm THAT old!). It was incredible. We actually had time to explore Moscow in groups without chaparones, and we rode the bus, made the locals mad because we didn't quite get the bus money system, visited the zoo, etc. 3 kids were sent home on the 3rd day because they were caught with vodka in their room, and I guess the rest of the group was mature enough to behave themselves.

 

If I had any advice to give based on my own experience, it would be to emphasize to your daughter the importance to never go anywhere alone - not even (or especially) in her hotel.

Edited by Susan in TN
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Can you go along as a chaperone?

If not, do you know the chaperones well? Do you trust them all?

Is the group religiously affiliated at all? (Not that religious groups can't have some insane stuff happen, I'm just curious).

 

Personally, I think I would probably want to chaperone the trip if I were sending my teenager. I don't have any teenagers yet, but I think that would be what I would do...

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