Each year Scholastica Travel hosts a Washington D.C. familiarization (FAM) trip in February or March, right before the Spring tour season kicks into high gear. The trip is always so much fun! The primary purpose of the FAM trip is to train new tour leaders, however, tour leaders new and seasoned fill the bus for what turns out to be a great reunion of the Scholastica family.
Although the bus technically left on Friday evening, the FAM experience started early Friday afternoon. Janet Pezze led the training seminar, “Mastering the Art of Tour Leading”, at the Scholastica Travel office in Greensburg. Our 2013 class of trainees are not new to DC student tour experience! Most are recently retired teachers who have traveled with their schools and Scholastica for many years. We are very happy to have them on board.
– Meeting the new tour leaders!
– Hat tribute to Jay Schaffer: Everyone wore their funniest, most outgoing hats on the bus to DC to pay tribute to Jay Schaffer, a tour leader who recently passed away. Jay was known for his crazy hats! The microphone was passed and everyone was given the opportunity to share their memories of Jay. It was great to celebrate his life together!
– DC Trivia: Natalie Rice attempted to stump even the most seasoned tour leaders with DC trivia. Prizes were awarded for correct answers. The prizes kept things even more interesting. Some were good and some, well, were whammies!
– Welcome reception at Howard Johnson’s Gateway: We were welcomed at the hotel with a very gracious reception by Rocky, Carl, Todd, and staff. They really outdid themselves this year! Everyone ate to capacity over great conversation. It was an excellent start to a great weekend.
– Arlington National Cemetery: Visiting Arlington National Cemetery was a beautiful start to the Saturday. No matter how many times you see the Changing of the Guard, it never fails to move you.
– Orchid Exhibit: There is a new Orchids of Latin America exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. Walking into the room feels like walking directly into the rainforest.
– Rosa Parks statue: We were thrilled to be among the first to see the new Rosa Parks statue in Statuary Hall!
– Capitol Steps Show: This year the option was added to see the Capitol Steps at the Reagan International Trade Center. Those going ate dinner prior at Elephant and Castle and then walked to the theater. The show can be described in two words: absolutely hilarious! Everyone laughed to the point of painful cheeks and crying eyes.
– FOOD exhibition: The Julia Child kitchen reopened at the Smithsonian National American History Museum, along with a new exhibit, FOOD: Transform The American Table.
-Ford’s Theater: Exploring Ford’s Theater, the museum, the Peterson House, and the Ford’s Center for Education and Leadership was very interesting.
– Tour Leader Stories: Throughout the weekend, the tour leaders shared so many wonderful stories of great trips and challenging trips!
It was a great weekend and a great training trip! Here are a few additional pictures from the FAM:
Special thanks to Janet for leading a great tour and training the new tour leaders! Thanks also to Carl, Rocky, and Todd for hosting us for the weekend!