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The last of the chaperones
The world is the ultimate classroom. I have always been a firm believer in that.
Continuing education is a lifelong pursuit of available opportunities both traditionally structured and at times very random in their public or civic nature.
The fact that my own child has the opportunity to get out of the classroom and learn is a very good thing.
Some of these real-world experiences are supplied by my own civic participation, responsibilities and efforts and some opportunities are provided by the STEM environment at his school.
Field trips have become an important part of the existing STEM curriculum.
Since Nick began kindergarten, Jason and I have juggled what we needed with our full time jobs to split class field trips so that one of us always gets to go.
Nick is still at that age where he enjoys having us there so we embrace it while we still have the chance.
There was even a rare single occasion where both of us were chaperones on the same excursion.
As rewarding as these excursions are they are also exhausting. Even more exhausting when it is the same small group of parents going time after time after time.
I did three field trips last year, or was it four? All are a fun blur by this point.
This week the 7th grade field trip to a brand new exhibit at the Pacific Science Center was in jeopardy of being cancelled because not enough chaperones were volunteering to go.
My work load and schedule this week really had no room for me to be gone from my office.
However, I could not shoulder the disappointment of an entire grade level if I did not work every string and angle I could to pull a day off and commit to be the last chaperone needed to avoid cancellation.
Somehow I did it. The price to be paid for this has yet to be determined.
I encourage more parents to make the time, juggle siblings, shift the work load and participate as class chaperones on upcoming field trips.
Grandparents, too, make great chaperones on these field trips.
It is fun and those of us who have had multiple turns on this particular ride really need you to fill in for a while.
You will enjoy it and quite honestly you will be very tired at the end of the day.
Consider that this is your opportunity to get out and learn as well.
View these opportunities through the eyes of your children and it will change how you view the world.
Colleen Smidt is a longtime resident of Bremerton and writes weekly about community and political matters that affect Bremerton and the surrounding communities.