A Fall Excursion for the Ages

October 5, 2022

Two overnight bus rides, constantly herding 90 students on and off the metro to multiple activities, and no injuries or missing students…. everybody please stand and give our outstanding Paris Excursion staff a round of applause!

“Overall the Paris trip went great. Nobody got hurt, we didn’t lose anyone and nobody got in trouble,” laughed a weary Dean of Students, Mrs. Fox, yesterday when asked how the excursion went. “I have to tip my cap and give 100% of the credit for the logistics to Kevin (Mr. Fox), he planned the whole thing from top to bottom.”

About 10 days before the excursion, dorm parent and activity coordinator Mr. Fox surveyed students on their top choices for activities as opposed to assigning them to activities. Students were given their first or second choice for each activity. This proved to be a big factor in the overall enjoyment and positive mood of the group.

“The planning took hours upon hours between collecting student choices to the organization of logistics and activities,” said Mr. Fox. “There were a few road bumps along the way, but we were able to adapt on the fly. The metro ticket system was a real headache!”

Every day consisted of morning and afternoon activities with a lunch break in the city. Students were divided into activity groups of roughly 20 with an average of 2 group leaders. The evening activities included a visit to the Eiffel tower, The Louvre, and a sightseeing boat cruise through Paris.

“I really enjoyed the boat cruise, especially when the Eiffel tower sparkle show went off and the kids screamed with joy,” said Mrs. Fox of the highlight of her trip. 

During the day, the students chose between a number of activities including Musée d’Orsay, a city bus tour, neighbourhood walking tours, The Dome, Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, Sainte-Chapelle Chapel, Notre-Dame, Atelier des Lumières, Paris Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Center, Galeries Lafayette shopping center, Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, and the students favorite; Champs-Élysées avenue for shopping and sightseeing.

“The highlight moments for me would definitely be: being on top of the Eiffel Tower and seeing the whole city at night, and visiting the Orsay Museum and the Louvre,” said junior student Marija (left side in front of the Eiffel Tower in the photo above). “We all really enjoyed ourselves a lot while visiting various sights, and discovering something new. We saw how people live in the city and what their environment is like. Personally, I liked it a lot.”

In fact, students were engaged the entire time. They were out the door every day at 9 am and back at the hotel at 11 pm. This kept the staff busy, with two up until midnight doing bed checks and up early for breakfast to review the plan for the day. It was an exhausting excursion for the staff but all had nothing but positive things to say upon their return.

“Thanks to the students and fellow care staff, my first excursion as a leader was a great success!” said new resident assistant Abby of the Paris excursion. “In a city with so many people, it was often very chaotic navigating the metro and getting places on time, but students all showed their abilities to adapt and solve problems. It was such a joy to watch the students gain confidence in a new city and build new relationships with each other.”

“They did an amazing job and took the safety of the students very seriously. I just think the world of the Paris excursion staff,” said Mrs. Fox.

The trip wound down nicely on the final day with an entire day at Disneyland where students were free to explore at their own pace. This was not only a great way to end the trip for the students but it also allowed the staff to take a bit of a breather.

See the photo below of the entire Paris Excursion staff from left to right; Mr. Fox, Mrs. Fox, Tom Henry, Arabella, Nick, Matt, Abby and Ali. 

“A lot of the students went out of their way to thank Kevin and me and I thought that was really great,” said Mrs. Fox of the final day. “The 13-hour bus ride home was completely silent! I have never seen so many kids sleeping at once before.”