By the time most of you read this while relaxing over coffee on this Thursday morning, the Ashland Safety Patrol’s touring group in Washington, D.C., will have already done the following:
‰Rise and shine at 5 a.m. (OK, maybe just rise).
‰Eat breakfast between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m.
‰Tour the Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam memorials at 7 a.m.
‰Tour the National Achives at 9 a.m.
And our second day has only just begun. Before we’re finished today we will be:
‰Touring the White House perimeter
‰Touring the Jefferson Memorial
‰Touring the Pentagon Memorial
‰Touring the World War II Memoial
Are you tired yet?
The annual Ashland Safety Patrol trip is a jam-packed, four-day educational extravaganza and an exercise in discipline you may not have thought possible with your fifth- or sixth-grader.
You think your kids can’t get moving early?
They can and they do. I’ve witnessed it many times on this annual trek to Washington. They sometimes give us a little guff, but not much. They know what has to be done and they do it (Remind them of this after they return home). The leaders of this group will have it no other way.
This well-oiled machine accepts no excuses for sleeping in. The kids are up early in the morning and usually in bed before 10 at night. They’d better be getting to sleep because that 5 a.m. wakeup calls comes early — mighty early.
Even some of the chaperones look more like coffee-seeking zombies early in the morning. But they get over it, too. Everybody is almost, uh, chipper by the time the buses are loaded and get rolling.
I’m a chaperone for my wife’s Rose Hill students and we’re again sharing a bus with Charles Russell. The friendship between teachers and chaperones — and the students from each school — grows strong on the trip. We spend a lot of time together getting on and off the buses.
Let’s just say this: We have a good time.
Best of all, your children are having a good time and are safer than you can ever imagine. Ashland Police Department officers are trained to protect and watch out for undesirables, on the patrol all the time.
It also allows these impressionable elementary students the opportunity to walk and talk with the officers and learn a little more about each other. They usually come away with a new-found respect for authority, but also a friendship with their officer.
When the group returns home in the wee hours of Sunday, Mom and Dad will be there with hugs. The students will have stories to share (along with about a million pictures each).
They will quickly slip back into their routine of sleeping in (Hey, this 5 a.m. thing can’t go on forever!).
But, most of all, they will forever carry memories about the four amazing days they had in Washington, D.C.
Relax this week, Mom and Dad. Enjoy a date night.
We’ve got you covered until Sunday morning.
Then they’re all yours again.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at (606) 326-2648.