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Youth who are in middle and high school can tour foreign countries with chaperones who work as teachers. The teenagers in this photo are outside the Vatican in 2018. CONTRIBUTED

Teachers in ‘Travelers Society’ coordinate teens’ trips to foreign countries

MADISON – A Madison group is coordinating tours that can immerse teenagers in the culture of a foreign country.

In 2022, this group, composed of certified teachers from Liberty Middle School and James Clemens High School, decided to offer a single source for local student families to schedule travel opportunities. They’ve dubbed themselves “Travelers Society.”

“We are passionate about helping young people explore the world. We offer both middle-school and high-school trips, along with some trips open to graduates and families,” Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Vaughn said. A National Board Certified Teacher, Vaughn teaches art at James Clemens.

“Student travel (is) a way of teaching something new that you just can’t get in a classroom. Students are engaged with real-world education, and the world becomes their classroom,” Vaughn said.

These trips encompass more than just museums, historic sites and helpful tour guides. “Students get time to explore, try their best to speak a new language, eat new foods, navigate cities and work on soft skills, like time management, creative problem-solving and conflict resolution,” Vaughn said.

“Travel should be accessible to all people. That’s why we frequently start offering families up to two years in advance to budget for student travel,” Vaughn said. “Payments are much lower when we spread them out. New trips are announced each spring to help families create opportunities for their kids.”

A travel interest meeting will be held on Nov. 30 at Madison Public Library at 5:30 p.m. Interested parties can RSVP to confirm that they will receive meeting reminders. Coordinators will email information after meetings. On the Travelers Society’s website, student families “can explore opportunities and get a feel for who we are and what we do,” Vaughn said.

‘Travelers Society’ also is a club’s name at James Clemens for learning about foreign destinations, culture and language essentials, along with themed potluck lunches during Refuel scheduling. Travelling is not involved. For information, contact Vaughn, Room F143 at James Clemens.

Teachers already have committed to serve as chaperones:

* Sarah Baker – Art teacher at Liberty Middle School.

* Dr. Lori Shrode — Science teacher at Liberty.

* Jennifer Joy – Latin teacher at Liberty.

* Liz Vaughn – Art teacher at James Clemens High School.

* Clay Combs – Television production and filmography teacher at James Clemens.

* Laura Phillips – Science teacher at James Clemens.

* Katie Weir — Science teacher at James Clemens.

The teacher chaperones’ email addresses are available on the Travelers Society’s website. Visit https://bit.ly/madcitytravels, and click “About.”

“While each tour leader is a Madison City certified teacher, none of the trips are official MCS field trips, and we are not getting a stipend from Madison City to offer additional student travel opportunities,” Vaughn said.

“Our website (https://bit.ly/madcitytravels) allows families to choose between ‘Middle School’ and ‘High School’ experiences. Some high-school trips allow recent Madison City graduates to join,” Vaughn said. “Most trips allow parents and families to travel together, but families should check with tour leaders to confirm.”

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/madcitytravels.

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