Countdown to Departure for your Student Performance Tour
As the folks at NASA will tell you, a successful space mission requires well-prepared astronauts supported by an extensive ground-based flight control team. As you approach your upcoming tour, BRT’s “mission control” is working to craft a memorable and turn-key experience for you and your students. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your crew is ready for liftoff.
T-Minus 2 Weeks –
Hold a Pre-Trip Meeting
Communication is key to a successful mission. Present a packet which includes the final itinerary, rooming list, student expectations, a performance essentials checklist, a list of emergency numbers, and (if your group is flying) the TSA security guidelines. Review the highlights of each day’s itinerary, focusing on times and locations where students will need to meet. Review any school rules or discipline procedures, outlining the way any disciplinary challenges will be addressed on the trip.
Plan for on-trip Communication
Mobile apps like Remind and GroupMe are excellent tools for sending updates to the entire group, so get travelers signed up for the service you choose at the meeting. Collect every student’s cell phone number at the meeting so you can contact them indivdually if needed, and give each student the cell phone number of the chaperone to whom they have been assigned.
Meet with your Chaperones
As the commander, have a meeting with your crew (often, this meeting can be held immediately following the pre-trip meeting). In the meeting, exchange cell phone numbers, review the responsibilities, and (gently) remind the chaperones that you are the commander. Conclude by taking the time to clear up any questions or concerns the chaperones may have.
T-Minus 1 Week –
Pack your Bags (and your Instruments)
No mission can be a success without the proper gear and equipment. Many students will be traveling without their families for the first time, and will benefit from guidance when the time comes to start packing. Distributing a simple packing list (a sample of which is included in your BRT tour binder) can make all the difference in preparing students for the journey ahead. Particularly reinforce any instrument components that travel outside the case, along with the five most commonly forgotten items.
T-Minus 24 Hours
Final Systems Check
In preparation for lift off, it’s time to make your final system checks. Briefly remind students of your departure details on the day before your trip. In addition to notifying them of any last-minute changes, go over the weather (so they can add items like an umbrella or outerwear if needed), and suggest they fully charge their devices for the journey.
If your group is flying, ensure every student 18 and older has a government issued photo ID. Students under 18 should still have some kind of photo ID, such as a school ID. Full rules regarding ID guidelines can be found on the TSA website. When you arrive at the airport, your BRT airport greeter will be on hand to manage the check-in process.
To ensure all of the luggage and equipment fits properly, assign a few students or chaperones to be in charge of loading luggage. Remind students before loading to have anything they need for the drive in their small bag to take on the bus, as their luggage underneath will not be easily accessible until you arrive. Once on board, coordinate rest stops with the drivers and communicate their times to the students.
Your BRT tour director will meet you upon arrival in your destination. They’ll act as your “CAPCOM” throughout the trip, ensuring everything runs smoothly, and interfacing with mission control when needed. Meanwhile, you can focus on what matters: performing, learning, and creating memories with your students.
I hope everyone is excited about their upcoming tours. Should you have any questions, mission control is never more than an email or phone call away. Safe travels!
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