Spring trip to Washington has openings, students raise funds
See where Lincoln was shot. Train with the Jamestown militia. Study the history of evolution.
Do all this and more with Douglas School District teachers Tom Blotter and Tom Morgan.
Blotter, a teacher at Carson Valley Middle School and Morgan, from Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, are tour directors for Lakeland Tours, a national company which provides professional tour guides for the trip.
The trip is not sponsored by the Douglas County School District.
Every spring break for the past five years they have gone on the trip, and every year they get better at it, Blotter said.
“We know all the short-cuts,” he said. “You get your money’s worth.”
They look at the whole experience chronologically: starting in Jamestown, then on to Williamsburg and finally Washington, D.C., where they will visit as many sites as they can fit in.
They plan this year to see the U.S. Capitol building, the Supreme Court Building, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, Mount Vernon, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the National Cathedral, the National Museum of Natural History and the Holocaust Memorial, among others.
“Williamsburg is so nice because you bump into people who are acting like they have no clue what Nevada is or who you are and why you are there,” Morgan said of his favorite tour stop.
The tour guides the company provide are top-notch, Blotter said.
“The tour guides have lived there for years and they tell us the inside stories, at the Ford’s Theater, we had a tour guide who was a story-teller and the kids were mesmerized – I was mesmerized,” Blotter said.
Morgan said the trip is ideal for 8th graders because it fits in nicely with their history classes that year.
“It provides kids with a historical hands-on, eyes-on lesson. It comes alive for them,” Blotter said.
However, adults also get something out of the trip.
“The adults are just amazed, but they are very tired at the end,” he said. “It’s a rigorous trip. We try to jam as much in as we can.”
He said attendance averages about 1 adult for every 15 kids. Last year, there were 15 students. The teachers said they welcome adults and have even twice had three generations go on the trip. Participants should be at least 12.
And if parents don’t go, the teachers said, they won’t have to worry. Lakeland even provides security staff at the hotel all night.
Regardless of the age of the participants, everyone comes away with a great experience, Blotter said.
“I see kids from the original tour who still come up to me and say they loved it, they want to do it again,” he said.
Erin Granat, 14, was a 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School when she heard about the trip from friends, she said.
“I thought it would be really neat to take a trip with all my friends and see all the history. You see all the sites you always see in movies,” she said.
She said her favorite part of the trip was meeting kids from all over the county in other tour groups while at Williamsburg.
Her father Marc Granat went with her on the trip because he had never been to Washington.
“I wanted to see Washington and I thought it would be a really good father-daughter activity,” he said.
This year the trip will take place from April 4-9. The cost of the trip is $1,077 and it includes everything, air fare, food, hotel costs, entrance fees and the tour guides.
An informational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in the basement of the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center.
For more information call Blotter at 267-3947 or Morgan at 265-4595.
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