Youth Travel Group Ensures Trips Go on For Thousands of Ohio Students

After a company cancelled planned school trips and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, the Student Youth Travel Association mobilized the tourism industry to make sure nearly 4,000 Ohio seventh and eighth graders can travel.

When travel company Discovery Tours of Mayfield Village cancelled numerous planned school trips for thousands of Ohio seventh and eighth graders, the Student Youth Travel Association cancelled their membership for breaching its code of ethics. But SYTA didn’t stop there: It also mobilized its members to ensure that the trips would still take place.

“I am so proud to say that as of now, we are not aware of any Ohio kids who are unable to take their planned school trips,” said SYTA Executive Director Carylann Assante, CAE, in a press release. “SYTA, the SYTA Youth Foundation, and a large number of our individual members were so disappointed that these kids were about to lose the opportunity to have a life-changing travel experience, we all came together to find every resource that we could.”

Assante said the SYTA Youth Foundation has donated more than $60,000, and SYTA has helped organize more than $200,000 in in-kind contributions, including comped accommodations and amenities at significantly reduced discounts, to ensure that the student trips to Washington, DC; Chicago; Gettysburg; and Colonial Williamsburg could still happen.

“The hotels looked at their rates, and bus companies reduced their rates, museums gave free tickets, food was donated, tour operators donated time,” Assante said. “Most of what we were doing was collecting and organizing these resources so that we would be able to help as many school groups as possible.”

SYTA’s mission is to provide “life-enhancing travel experiences to students and young people,” while at the same time instilling confidence in travelers by ensuring the quality and safety of its travel-provider members.

It was important, Assante said, that SYTA made good on its mission to help ensure that one bad travel company didn’t spoil customers’ confidence in the travel industry at-large.

Plus, the SYTA Youth Foundation was established for occasions such as this one—to help students and kids who are unable to experience travel through no fault of their own, though Assante is quick to say that this specific situation is a first for her over her eight years at the association.

“In Puerto Rico we’re bringing a group of school kids to Washington, DC, whose school was wiped away,” she said. “We helped kids in Houston, and we helped kids during Katrina, so we have a precedent for helping kids through our foundation during major disasters, but we have never done anything the size and scope of this situation in Ohio.”

(kali9/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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