Groups Today asked, and here come our stories—the battle scars that we share proudly at company outings and industry events.
Remember that time the buses didn't show up? How about the tale of the perpetually late participant who made us miss dinner? Or the one where the flight got canceled and we had to entertain eighty students for two days, on a budget of pocket change?
These are the moments that make us question our career choice and the meaning of it all. They're also our opportunities to shine.
In my freshman year of high school, I encountered a choice: whether to double down on my honors studies and cement my position at a top university, or to remain in the performing arts activities that were my passion. The school's schedule couldn't accommodate both, and everyone agreed that honors courses were the best bet.
Everyone except my choir director. Seeing something I couldn't, she encouraged me to attend—of all things—a show choir camp at Disney World. A scholarship earned as the top seller for the choir fundraiser would cover the cost. This 6'5" freshman was off to sing and dance in Florida.
By the end of my week at camp, I was hooked. Working with respected clinicians and Disney cast members was challenging and inspiring. Interacting with choir kids like me reaffirmed that I belonged. Putting it all together in a performance at Cinderella's Castle stage was a rush.
I sold over 2,000 candy bars each year to send myself back to that camp. (My first real-world marketing experience? Increasing sales by convincing my mom, dad, and grandma's co-workers to include Hersheys bars in their daily diet.) I switched my focus in school from honors courses to music classes, and earned a music scholarship at the university the camp's founders had attended. In college, I planned my first performance tour. Years later, a person I met at show choir camp introduced me to Bob Rogers Travel. All of this from one inspiring trip.
Where would I be now if I had stuck with those honors courses and dropped music? No one knows, but I am sure that I made the right decision. For that life-changing opportunity, I can thank my choir director, the folks at show choir camp, and my family's chocaholic coworkers—people who made the choice to believe in me.
To my colleagues in student travel: Many will be influenced—in big and small ways—by the choices you make. The next time you are walking a mile uphill in the snow (both ways) with one hundred high-schoolers in tow, take a moment to remember the meaning behind your work. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Choose to shine. Your impact can make the difference.
"And we're walking ... and we're walking ..."
Written by Dan Stuby, Brand Development Manager at Bob Rogers Travel, where he has led the company's marketing efforts during a period of significant growth. In March, he created new memories with his former choir director—leading her and her students on their final performance tour before her retirement. (And yes, they went to Disney World). Stuby's blog is one in a series of contributions by Next Gens recognized in the January/February issue of Groups Today magazine.