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Band Trip Survival Guide
As a parent and/or students, you may have many questions regarding the trips, especially if you or your child haven't been on one before. This is a guide to help the parents and students and provide as much information as possible.
Band trips are an earned privilege for each student. One of the greatest legacies of the band program is that students work toward the future to make performance trips possible for future students. For instance, almost all of the students who helped to create the initial audition tapes for the 2003 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade did not get to attend that parade because they had already graduated. Their hard work made it possible for the PHS Band to be invited to march in the parade.
Band performance trips require much hard work from the students and staff at PHS. Once our band has been invited to attend an event and the school board has approved it, the students are required to attain very specific levels of musicianship. Music must be memorized and played-off, the band must practice and consistently perform at higher levels of skill as required. It demands a great degree of dedication from each student. The hard work always pays off though, as the students never fail to enjoy themselves thoroughly on each band performance trip. Music Boosters also play an important supportive role. From our yearly fundraising events (Chili Luncheon, Concert on the Concourse, Lambeau Field Concession work) to volunteering any time when needed, the Boosters are able to support the PHS Band program and also help them to attain their goals.
For your convenience, printable check lists will be provided at the end of this manual.
1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A BAND TRIP?
Per Mr. Busch
The purpose of these trips is educational and each one is completely different. We try to take one trip a year which will either be a three-day/two night trip or a seven-day/six night trip. Band trips are also intended to be fun for the students, as well as educational. Every trip has some type of performance associated with it. Every student is encouraged to attend because the rewards of such an experience are countless. All band and color guard members are eligible to attend if they are in good standing in the band program. Usually, the band trips are a part of the Summer Band Program offered to students through the Pulaski Community Schools. However, some trips do occur during the actual school year (i.e. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade).
2. HOW OFTEN DOES THE BAND GO ON TRIPS?
Per Mr. Busch
The tentative order of the trips is as follows:
- 2003 New York - Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
- 2004 Local Northeastern Wisconsin communities "thank you appearances"
- 2005 Florida
- 2006 S.W. Wisconsin or Minnesota (3 days - 2 nights) Local Northeastern Wisconsin communities
- 2007 118th Tournament of Roses Parade
- 2008 Washington, D.C. National Independence Day Parade
- 2009 Mackinac Island, MI
- 2010 New York (Veteran's Day Parade or Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade)
3. DO WE GET INVITED TO ALL OF OUR PERFORMANCES/TRIPS OR ARE THEY BY AUDITION?
Per Mr. Busch:
Most of our performance trips involve an audition process. Some trips that school bands can participate in are considered "You pay...You play." But at PHS we try to challenge our students and our directors to find opportunities that are not available to everyone. It requires more effort but the payoffs have been noticeably greater. The exception to this rule would be the local parades. In this case the band simply can let organizations or communities know that we are interested in helping out with their festival/celebration and we are most often welcomed with open arms, to the point where many communities offer to give the students a bite to eat (hamburger/soda/chips) or a small monetary donation per child for food. This has been a helpful motivational tool to the students, families and our program.
4. IS MY CHILD REQUIRED TO ATTEND BAND TRIPS?
No. Your child may choose to attend or not. Their grade for band will not be adversely effected if they choose not to attend. However, attendance is strongly encouraged because the rewards of such experiences are countless
5. HOW MUCH DO THE BAND TRIPS COST?
The cost of the trips varies from around $200.00 to close to $1,000.00. The length of the trip most often will be the main determining factor on how much it will cost each student. Early in the school year the directors will inform the students and their families of that year's trip and set a date for student sign-up. After the number of students interested has been determined, the final details and cost of the trip will be arranged. Trip costs and payment schedules are set up well in advance.
6. HOW ARE BAND TRIPS PAID FOR AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT?
Band trips are paid for by each individual student. The Pulaski Music Boosters are often able to donate money that will decrease the total amount each student has to pay if the band has auditioned or received a special invitation to perform. Our band students also participate in a fundraising event (normally the Pizza, Cheese and Sausage sale) at the beginning of each year. A portion of the sales a student makes for this fundraiser are allocated to the individual student's account at school. Any balance the student has in his/her school account may be applied at any time toward the cost of a trip, but may not be applied toward the initial down payment for the trip. The money remains in the student's school account as long as he/she is a student at PHS. We very strongly encourage all students to earn money for their school accounts via the Pizza, Cheese and Sausage Sale Fundraiser each year. It greatly helps to defray the amount of money the parents (or students) have to pay for a trip. Do note though, students are not allowed to take money out of the school account to use for spending money on a band trip, it can only be applied toward the scheduled payments for a trip.
When trips are finalized and the students know for sure they will be going on a trip, a payment schedule is set up and information is sent home to the parents. You'll usually have several months to fully pay for the trip. The first payment for any trip is normally a "non-refundable deposit" that applies toward the overall cost to the student.
7. HOW MUCH EXTRA "SPENDING MONEY" WILL MY CHILD NEED FOR A BAND TRIP AND HOW IS THIS HANDLED?
Extra spending money is a completely "personal matter" and is determined by the parents and students themselves. They may take as little, or as much, extra spending money as they want. There are two different ways the spending money can be handled.
I. Each bus will have a chaperone who is designated as the "treasurer" for those students. The students can give this chaperone their spending money and will have an opportunity once each day to get as much spending money from the treasurer as they think they will need for that day.
II. The students themselves may keep all of their spending money and manage it themselves.
You and your child will have to decide which way is best for you. You can send traveler's checks rather than cash, the travelers checks -- they can usually be cashed at the hotel and 2 forms of ID are required. With that being said, cash is always best.
Regardless of how much money students keep with them at any given time, here are a few good pointers:
- Girls...do not carry your money in a purse. It is much too easy to lose a purse or have it stolen. Put your money in a FRONT POCKET of your pants or shorts. If wearing a jacket or a coat, do not keep your money in those pockets. It is easy to lose or misplace jackets and/or coats and pickpockets find them an easy target. You can get a "traveler's wallet" that goes on your arm (some even go around your waist) and holds money and ID. If you use a traveler's wallet you do not have to worry about a purse being stolen or lost and your money is always with you.
- Boys...if you are using a wallet, carry it in your FRONT POCKET, not the back pocket. It is much too easy for pickpockets to steal a wallet if it is in your back pocket. If wearing a jacket or a coat, do not keep your money in those pockets. It is easy to lose or misplace jackets and/or coats and pickpockets find them an easy target. Once again...a traveler's wallet is an incredibly useful item to have.
- Do NOT leave money or ID in your hotel room. Keep it with you at all times. Hotels do sometimes have small "room safes" available for their customers. You need to reserve them in advance and the individual student will have to pay for the room safe if they choose to get one.
Fanny packs are also useful for students to keep their money, ID and small items in.
8. ARE THERE ANY EXTRA COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH A BAND TRIP?
There are usually a small number of meals the students will have to pay for on their own. This information is made known in advance and you are given ample time to plan for that. In the past, students have found it helpful to share meals when they can. When they went Florida, students were able to share some of their meals at the various parks they attended and reduce the amount they had to pay for out of pocket. Mr. Busch is very good about pointing out "money saving tips" that are specific to each trip. Some parents have found it useful to purchase gift certificates for fast food restaurants (such as McDonald's). The gift certificates can be redeemed at the specific restaurant, providing there is one readily available to the students. If the gift certificates are not used during the trip, they can always be used once they return home.
Any other extra costs that might occur are related to student behavior on the trip. If the students take "souvenirs" from the hotel rooms or damage the hotel rooms, they WILL be required to pay for that. Encourage your child to leave hotel pillows, linen, blankets, towels, etc.... AT THE HOTEL and to treat their hotel room like it is their home, or better. If your child misbehaves to the extent that they must be sent home, they will be sent home with a chaperone and the parents will be responsible for paying to have the child and chaperone sent home. For further information on this, refer to the "BAND TRIP MANUAL", pay particular attention to the "Rules" and "Basic Expectations" sections.
9. HOW SAFE IS MY CHILD ON A BAND TRIP?
As long as your child follows the Rules and Basic Expectations as outlined in the BAND TRIP MANUAL and the specific band trip handbook received at the parent/student meeting prior to leaving on the trip, they are just as safe on a band trip as they are at home. Band trips are well chaperoned, students are kept extremely busy with very little downtime, and they are well supervised at all times. Trip Itineraries are set up well in advance and provided to the students in the Band Trip Handbook they receive prior to the trip.
10. IF MY CHILD HAS SPECIAL MEDICAL NEEDS OR TAKES PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION, HOW IS THIS HANDLED ON A BAND TRIP?
These issues are set up and handled prior to leaving for the trip. There is always a REQUIRED parent/student meeting prior to leaving on the trip and this issue (as well as others) is gone over in great detail. If you child has special needs or specific information regarding his/her health, this should probably be discussed with Mr. Busch privately. You should also make sure the chaperone assigned to your child is aware of these issues as well. At the high school level, the students are expected to be able to handle taking care of their own medications and will be able to carry it in their luggage if you want. Otherwise, direct communication should be made with Mr. Busch and the assigned chaperone.
Additional health insurance is not necessary for your child when they attend a band performance trip. Its up to each parent to make sure their current health insurance company covers any needs which may arise while your child is on a band trip, either within the state of Wisconsin or outside the state of Wisconsin. During the pre-trip Student/Parent meeting, there are specific forms that must be filled out and turned in. One of those forms covers health insurance information. While it isn't required for your child to have a copy of your health insurance card with them while they are on a band performance trip, it doesn't hurt to provide your child with that.
Over the counter medications, within reason, may also be taken on trips and stored/carried in the students' luggage. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Pepto Bismol/Immodium AD/Pepcid AC
- Over the Counter cold & allergy medications -One note here, Nyquil (or generic equivalent) can be taken on a trip. One bottle of Nyquil is seen as OK, while if a student has brought more than that, it can be seen as an "abuse" and will be confiscated prior to leaving for the trip. YES....each piece of luggage (carry on and stored) is gone through by chaperones prior to loading the buses! Confiscated items will not be returned.
11. WHAT IS EXPECTED OF MY CHILD AS A BAND MEMBER WHILE THEY ARE ON A BAND TRIP?
This topic is fully covered in the "BAND TRIP MANUAL", refer to Rules and Basic Expectations. Trip specific information is provided in the Band Trip Handbook that is given out during the parent/student meeting prior to leaving for a band trip.
12. AS A BAND PARENT, CAN I ATTEND A BAND TRIP WITH MY CHILD?
There are two ways a parent may attend a band trip:
- As a chaperone. Chaperones travel with the band and are subject to the same rules and basic expectations. Chaperones are required to have and wear a PHS Pep Band Shirt which can be purchased at any time through the school. Contact Mr. Busch for information. Chaperones must also pay for the trip themselves, the cost is determined quite a bit in advance of the trip. Once a trip is approved and set up, parents are allowed to volunteer to be chaperones. We almost always have more people volunteer to be chaperones than are actually needed. If you want to be a chaperone for a trip, sign up early. You'll be notified if you are chosen.
- Many times a "shadow tour" is set up for anyone wanting to attend a band trip. You do not travel with the band on a shadow tour, but you do attend some of the same major events as the band. If a shadow tour is available, it will be made known quite a bit in advance of the trip so you are able to make payments for the trip.
13. IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY, WILL I BE ABLE TO CONTACT MY CHILD WHILE THE BAND IS ON A TRIP?
Without fail, you will be able to contact your child in the event of an emergency. Contact information is provided to the parents at the required parent/student meeting prior to the trip. The specific band trip handbook is handed out at the parent/student trip meeting. Students are required to take the trip handbook with them, so be sure you make a copy of any information in the book you think you may need to keep at home.
14. WHAT PERSONAL ITEMS ARE ALLOWED ON THE BUS AND IN THE CARRY ON LUGGAGE?
This question is answered in detail in the "BAND TRIP MANUAL".
15. DO THE BAND STUDENTS TRAVEL ON SCHOOL BUSES?
If the destination is not too far away and will not require an overnight stay (ie local parades), they do travel on school buses. If the destination is farther away and requires the students to be gone more than a day, they travel on coach buses (ie Florida trip and Macy's trip). There may even be some trips that require the students travel by airplane, though this rarely happens. The mode of transportation is determined in advance and included with the basic trip information provided to the parents and students.
16. WHEN THE BAND IS ON A TRIP, ARE STUDENTS ALLOWED TO VISIT WITH FAMILY THAT MAY LIVE IN THAT AREA?
Per Mr. Busch:
Students are allowed to leave with their parents after the general objectives of a trip have been accomplished. We do not make it a practice to allow students to go with "relatives or friends of the family " if their parents are not along on the trip. It is much too difficult to handle all the possible scenarios of the liability and safety concerns if the parents are not immediately available for the student.
17. HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE EACH CHAPERONE RESPONSIBLE FOR?
Per Mr. Busch:
On average, we try not to have a chaperone be responsible for more than 8 students per trip. However, exceptions do occur.
18. ARE THE BAND STUDENTS EVER ALLOWED TO GO OFF UNSUPERVISED?
Per Mr. Busch:
Yes, students do have limited free time. Very often we tell the students that if I learn that if we can't trust you while at home, here in Pulaski, why should you be trusted when the band is thousands of miles from home? With that said, our students have been remarkable in their maturity and ability to handle responsibility. To date, we have not had any major problems with students utilizing free time in a positive manner while they are on a band trip.
19. AM I A PULASKI MUSIC BOOSTER?
You are a Pulaski Music Booster if:
- You have a child in any of the music programs at PHS
- You were a student in any PHS music program while in high school.
- You simply have a sincere interest in supporting the PHS Music Programs
20. Printable Check Lists:
- Carry On Luggage
- Stored Luggage
- Personal Items
- Uniform - items to complete
For any questions or concerns, your PMB Resource Network is there to help you.