RE: Grad Trip


            The broadcast email on grad trips was right on the money. During March break, I travelled to Cuba with my daughter (Frances Ballard) and 3 of her long-time girlfriends from summer camp. I chaperoned them and had a nice vacation myself.

            However, the resort that we were at, Tryp Cayo Coco, hosted two grad trip companies, Break Away Tours and S-Trip. Between them, they had about 900 grade 12 students at the resort.  There was a large group from Humberside.

            I can’t possibly describe the behaviour of the kids. It was like “Lord of the Flies” - chaotic, shocking, disgusting, embarrassing and frightening. There was no support or guidance much less supervision for the kids.  They were held by security, jailed, hospitalized etc. Many were in casts within days of arrival, one in a full body cast, from slips, falls, jumping off balconies; some had bandages from severe sunburn; one went home in a wheelchair.  Gardeners spread soil each morning over vomit. Bars closed due to abuse taken by the bartenders from the kids. Drunkenness and promiscuity prevailed.

            Fortunately, the resort was large enough that we had our own pool and beach area. Frances and her friends pretty much avoided the areas of the resort where the kids were accommodated. So we managed to enjoy ourselves despite the ugliness around us. I was extremely embarrassed to be from the same country as these kids, much less city/neighbourhood. It was in stark contrast to the lovely nature of the Cubans at the resort: polite, respectful, friendly but reserved.

            I would be pleased to speak to any parent considering sending their kid on a grad trip.