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School Trip to NY- should we let our child go?

School Trip to NY- should we let our child go?

Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:05 AM
  #1  
Katherine
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School Trip to NY- should we let our child go?

My son's concert band has been invited to take part in a spring of 2003 band festival- including a chance to perform on the Carnegie Hall stage. They will stay at the Sheraton, take in some Broadway plays and be tourists as well. The trip will be well-chaperoned- he'll be 14yrs. old.
Should I be worried? We live on the West Coast, and (don't want to insult New Yorkers) wonder if this is OK. What are other parents thinking post 9/11 about these school trips that involve flying?
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:14 AM
  #2  
Sam
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Keep him at home, locked in a box!

Seriously, why wouldn't you let him go on a well-chaperoned school trip? Our daughter went to France last month. She has memories she will cherish forever. I had the normal parental apprehension but decided it was not only acceptable but advantageous for her to attend.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:14 AM
  #3  
nina
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Worried about what?

Flying? As a parent my kids have flown 4 times since 9/11, but no one can allay your fears for you. Are you afraid of your child being in the city? Again, my children have visited numerous times since 9/11 so my opinion is that there is nothing to be concerned about. I didn't give our visits a second thought.

There are millions of children who live in NYC whose parents would agree with me.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:18 AM
  #4  
karen
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What a great opportunity! There's nothing like Carnegie Hall or Broadway. You should see if you could be a chaperone if possible because it's an experience you'll never forget either! As a teenager, I was invited with my orchestra to perform at the Kennedy Center in DC and I will never forget that. Do it, do it, do it.!
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:21 AM
  #5  
Howard
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It's a no-brainer. Of course, he should go.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:36 AM
  #6  
Kim
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Hi Katherine,

I am not a parent but I am older than some previous posters who seem to think you are worrying about a library book instead of a son.

I also live in Manhattan. If it were my child I would ask about the chaperones, how many trips have they done and where. Most of the crime stories you hear about out in NYC take place in the outer boroughs. I lived in Brooklyn for eight years in a newly gentrified community I feel 1000 times safer in Manhattan. Never understood that until I moved.

Your concerns should be with the group leaders. I was a NYC teacher it was parents more involved with the class trip or their own child and not the group that created the most risk in the city. You don’t have to walk on pins and needles at all in this city but its stupid to think that you can approach NYC the way you would a small town. Your son should understand he is in a new environment that he won’t be able to read it as easily as home so he should not stray from group, be alert to people around him. Would be a very good experience for him in terms of independence and your trust in his judgment if and only if you have confidence in the group that is sponsoring this trip.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:38 AM
  #7  
geez
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Not only should he go, but you should go with him and stay for 3-4 days after the others leave. That way you can spend even more time exploring the greatest city in the country with your son.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:39 AM
  #8  
Philip
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Definitely let your son go. What a thrill for him. It will be a memory that he will carry with him forever.

If you are worried about flying and terrorism, I would put those fears out of your mind. If you take into consideration events that happened in Oklahoma City as well as various schools (such as Colombine), then you have to admit that bad things happen everywhere and you can't quit living your life just because bad things happen.

You also need to think about his disappointment if he doesn't go. All the other kids will be telling what a great time they had and he will be really hurting.

And as a New Yorker (we don't insult very easily)I have seen many school groups here. I can tell you that they move in huge groups and are very noisy. Unless your son is the type that wanders off by himself, you won't have to worry about his safety while in NYC. If you need specific questions answered, feel free to email me (take the x out of the address). Also there are many informed New Yorkers on this board who will be glad to help you. I think the more you know, the less you will worry.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 08:48 AM
  #9  
Ellen
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I might be even older than Kim (my kids range in age from 14 to 31), and I do share her concerns about the level of responsiblility of the chaperones, but otherwise I say certainly let him go.

My experience with trips for musical groups is that enough experienced school staff usually go to keep the whole group under control and well taken care of. "Music parents" tend to be responsible and experienced with group activities, so you should be OK on that count, but it wouldn't hurt to ask how they're selected. Or to voluteer!
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 09:09 AM
  #10  
Dick
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Katerhine,

Would it help you to know that some people on the East Coast worry about California falling to the ocean.

For a chance to perform at Carnegie Hall?..sounds like a "no brainer" to me.
You need to let go. In few years he will be in college and you will have virtually no contol.

If you are so concerned, have you thougt about going as a chaperone?
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 09:19 AM
  #11  
Owen O'Neill
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I have flown 6 or 7 times since 9/11 (going out again next week). Security seems to be a bit more thorough and tighter every time I fly. I feel totally comfortable flying and would think that by spring 2003 things will be even better (from a security standpoint). By all means let him go. NYC is a great place to visit for anyone but especially for teenagers. My daughter went a few times with me when she was in her teens and also a few times on school trips - it remains her favorite place to visit.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 09:27 AM
  #12  
gail
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Although it was pre-9/11, my son went on a trip to Italy with 40 8th graders - a packaged tour with teachers as chaperones. The questions I asked were concerning chaperones and supervision, and they would be the same ones I would ask today. Specifically, who are the chaperones. Although there were some parents on the trip, I wanted to know that there were enough teachers or experience people to provide good supervision. I know some pretty flakey parents, and just because they gave birth 14 years ago doesn't necessarily qualify them. I also asked about type of "free time" they would have. This issue is not specific to NY - kids can get in plenty of trouble anywhere. I empathize with your concerns (My daughter is flying to WDW with my mother next month and I am nervous), but I vote for a "give them wings" type of answer - there are things our kids want to and need to do as they get to be teenagers that make us wrecks, but we have to let them do.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 09:49 AM
  #13  
observer
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very sweet gail
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 10:11 AM
  #14  
Carol
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Katherine - Please let your son go. This is something he will remember for the rest of his life.

I just returned from a National Cheerleading Competition in Myrtle Beach with 46 teen age girls and guys. I have to say they were the most well behaved kids in the world. They knew the rules and followed them (well, maybe some of them tried to push them a tad). I did not go as a chaperone because I had to work at the tournament, but what I heard from the chaperones the kids were awesome, it was the parents who tagged along with the group who were out of control.

This is a chance in a life time. Enjoy
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 10:14 AM
  #15  
Carol
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Katherine - just one more comment. These kids were so well behaved that they are going to be cheering the Ronald McDonald All Star Game at Madison Square Gardens. Their trust was earned this past weekend.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 10:22 AM
  #16  
SJK
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As one of those kids whose mother asked the same questions and after careful consideration and illiciting lots of promises to be careful sent me twice to DC and my sister to Japan. Both were well-chaperoned programs and both my sister and I turned out the better for it. The memories themselves are worth it, but the confidence that we gained was unparralled. I was 13 and 15 and my sister was 15. The chance to perform at Carnegie Hall is too unique to miss out on!
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 10:26 AM
  #17  
yankee
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Carol: I've been to WDW many, many times when the Cheerleading competitions were held there. "Well-behaved" and "well supervised"? I'm curious, just how much time did you actually spend with them? Of course, I'm not saying they are bad kids, I just wouldn't call them the most well behaved kids in the world!
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 01:15 PM
  #18  
lisa
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Katherine -- I'm not a mom, but I am a New Yorker. I guess a lot of this question depends on your kid and you. What kind of kid is he? Does he follow instructions, stick with the crowd? How comfortable do you feel with the chaperones? Are there enough?

As far as the trip itself goes, no one can tell you 9/11 that it is entirely safe. Is it safe to travel? Who knows -- I think the answer is mostly yes. Is there a chance of another terrorist attack in NYC -- unfortunately, yes, but who knows when or where.

What I can tell you is that NYC's crime rate is WAAAAAAY down and the increased tourism (at least pre-9/11) is a benefit of that. The area where he's staying (the Sheraton on 7th) is perfectly fine -- near Times Square, but away from all the hubbub. And the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall is, well, a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

I don't know if this helps or not, but I'm sure you'll make the right decision.
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 01:23 PM
  #19  
Ellen
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You can never shield your child from all the dangers of the world. The next best thing is to make sure he is prepared.

1. Make 2 copies of his plane ticket. You keep one and tuck another one in his suitcase.

2. Make sure he has some sort of ID on himself at all times.

3. Get him a pre-paid telephone card and make sure he knows how to use it.

4. Don't let him keep all his money in one place lest he misplace his backpack or whatever.

5. If he has never been in a cab, make sure he knows how to take one in case of an emergency.

6. Don't let him see you so worried or panicky that he loses his self-confidence. That is his best defence in life.

Time to let go Mom!
 
Mar 22nd, 2002, 01:33 PM
  #20  
T.M.
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This question brings back memories. I was 16 when my chorus went to New York City for spring break. This was in 1985 when Time Square wasn't bedecked with Disney and MTV. I can still remember us walking by a girlie movie joint that was showing "Flesh Dance" and "Flesh Gordon" as a double feature and staring like a bumpkin.

Many posters have already given you good tips on how to approach this. Ask as many questions as you can. And find out all the details in advance. Ask what kids are going.

One thing that helped our group was that our chorus teacher (who had been many times with other groups) laid out the rules in a very no-nonsense way. She emphasized to us that we were representing the school and our community. That it was up to us to handle ourselves as young adults. To be aware of our surroundings, look out for each other and pay attention to directions from her and the chaperones. It helped us to have this in our heads before anyone suggested any tomfoolery. We did have some but it was confined to the hotel and was mostly pillow fighting, sneaking into each others rooms.

One of the best tips we got was about the subway, which still cracks me up. She told us we had less than 10 seconds to safely get on and off the subway or get left behind. No excuses. And she wasn't going to wait for the stragglers to come back. That kept us all from getting stranded!
 

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