The prospect of taking a group of young people away on school sports tours, academic tours or just plain sightseeing may fill you with more than a little apprehension. However, as long as a few ground rules are followed and your organisational skills are top notch, they can be a wonderful and educational experience for all involved.
Understandably, your top priority will be the safety and security of the youngsters but that will be quickly followed by the pressing need to ensure that they are fully occupied and obtaining value out of the journey. Little may be more of a recipe for difficulties than a group of children or teenagers that are challenged in terms of having something to do that interests them.
Part of helping to make that happen, involves having a clearly defined target for the trip and a very precise plan of action. One of the biggest risks to the success of any such trip is when you are reduced to needing to “wing it” once there in terms of what happens.
Time and expertise
Organising school sports tours is potentially extremely time consuming and it is far from easy. Take, for example, the hypothetical case of a trip to do some canoeing and sightseeing in France. Not only is it necessary to make all the travel arrangements, book accommodation and arrange for inter-site transport once you’re there, but you’ll also have to understand what local permits may be required, what insurance may be required by French law, where to book the appropriate equipment and to arrange for local instructors.
Then, if you’d also like to see some of the local history, you will need to find out where the major sights are, when they’re open, when the local public holidays are (in which case some local attractions may be closed) and so on. It’s quite a task, particularly if you have not previously been responsible for organising study or school sports tours.
Leaving it the experts
Of course, it is perfectly possible to make all the arrangements yourself if you have the time and are prepared to accept the responsibility that comes with a ‘DIY’ approach. However, an alternative may be to leave it to somebody else.
There are companies that specialise in travel and activity arrangements for schools, colleges and youth associations/clubs etc. They will be able to take the weight off of your shoulders and allow you to get on with your normal daily professional routine. In fact, if you consult with them in advance, they may actually be able to suggest a range of alternatives for your school sports tours relating to the activity or interests you and your group have.