You’re busy. Like nose-deep-in-papers-to-grade busy. I’m willing to bet there are barely enough hours in the day to complete all the things on your to-do list. And now on top of all of your work and family obligations, you need to set aside some time to spread the word about your next educational trip.
Time is a major painpoint for educators.
You’ve told us this is a major struggle. We’re listening and we want to help. In an effort to lessen the load of marketing your trip to students and parents throughout your school or district we created the Student Ambassador Program.
Everything You Need to Know About the Student Ambassador Program
Teachers, nominate one student traveler to help you spread the word about your upcoming trip. Student Ambassadors can achieve this through a variety of means: speaking at informational meetings, creating a Facebook group, writing an article for the school’s newspaper, and hanging posters, just to name a few.
That student will work with you throughout the months leading up to your student tour. Once your group has 15 registered participants, your Student Ambassador will receive a $100 discount off the cost of their tour.
As an extra incentive for your Student Ambassador’s hard work and dedication, all ambassadors will be entered into a raffle to travel for free. All applications must be submitted by January 15, 2015, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter.
Choosing Your Student Ambassador Wisely
The answer is always—it’s up to you—but it’s also a wise decision to choose a student who is reliable and responsible. If you’re looking for someone who can be vocal about your trip, you may want to choose a student who’s involved in many social circles and who’s respected among their peers.
Monica Shirey, a teacher and ACIS Group Leader, picked a student who embodied those qualities. Monica’s student traveler, Julia, was awarded our official Student Ambassador and will be traveling for free on her Insider’s Costa Rica trip this fall. You can read more about Julia’s experience on the blog tomorrow, but first, we chatted with Monica to find out how and why she took advantage of the program.
Monica, first of all, thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. How did you hear about the Student Ambassador Program and what made you decide to participate?
I decided to participate in the Student Ambassador Program for a number of reasons. Jenna Vinci, my International Program Manager with whom I work, strongly suggested that I enlist a student to help spread the word about the trip. That, coupled with the opportunity for one of my students to earn $100 toward their travel, prompted me to select a student and offer her the “job.”
Once my ambassador was selected, I found out how helpful she was in so many ways, especially in building and keeping enthusiasm high for the trip. Having a student ambassador has been integral in recruiting students for the trip. Since this is the first time this trip is being run at my school, building excitement has been crucial. For future trips, the reputation of previous trips will help to build students’ desire to go, but for this first one, Julia’s attitude has been particularly important.
With so many students to choose from, what was it about Julia that made her a prime candidate?
I selected Julia for her friendly, approachable personality and her passion for travel. She caught the “travel bug” on an ACIS trip to Italy the summer before. When she heard rumors of a proposed trip to Costa Rica, she came to see me immediately to get details. This led me to think she would be a good student ambassador.
Julia is active in a variety of social circles which made spreading the word about the trip easy for her. She also glows with excitement when she talks about the trip. This enthusiasm is infectious, and through her own excitement, Julia convinced two friends to sign up even before we had our informational meeting. She was also creative and eager to move forward with various types of advertisement because she is convinced of the value of the trip.
Julia is also a poster child for the “where there’s a will, there’s a way” attitude. Her parents had footed the bill for most of her Italy trip. While they gave their blessing to go on the trip to Costa Rica, they let her know that she would have to pay for it on her own. We did the math together and figured out that she needed a part-time job, working an average of 10 hours a week, to cover the expenses of the trip and spending money. She immediately searched for and found a job to start saving.
It is so important to select the right student as a student ambassador. Julia has great initiative but also checks with me to get approval before she moves forward with any advertising she wants to do. She understands and respects that there are standards to be met when it comes to anything associated with this trip. As a “first time” trip, it is important that we do things right to ensure that our school district will allow us to continue with future trips.
In what ways to Julia help you spread the word about your trip to Costa Rica?
Julia has been immeasurably helpful in spreading the word about the trip. She set up a Facebook group and used her Twitter feed to share information and her excitement about the trip. She made arrangements with the school paper, which is distributed to the entire student body, to print a front page article about the trip. One thing that was surprisingly effective was that she turned in her registration application and deposit check during one of the informational meetings. I think that seeing her turn hers in made it all seem more real and pressing for the other students and parents at the meeting. She is definitely the public “face” of the trip.
We heard a touching story about the day Julia found out she was the Student Ambassador winner. Care to share any details?
For Julia, this program has made a dream come true. The timing was uncanny. On the day you contacted her about winning the trip to Costa Rica, she had told me just hours before that she didn’t think that she would be able to save up for Costa Rica and the next Italy trip. She was coming to grips with the possibility that she might not get to go to Italy again. Then she got your call. You made her year!
A big thanks to Monica Shirey for sharing her insights! If you’re interested in learning more, you can download our Student Ambassador Program Packet (PDF), which provides you with every resource you need to move forward.