A while back I wrote a post about my daughter being invited to participate in the People to People Student Ambassador program. The program will be taking 40 students to Italy and Greece next summer and she's been REALLY excited about it.
When we got the letter we spent hours pouring over the People to People website. There was nothing about cost and after reading everything we could we decided that since this is a government sanctioned program that it must be funded by some kind of grant. My dad and the Island King kept saying that it had to cost something but we never could find even a hint of what that cost might be.
The letter stated that she had "been invited to participate" and the website talked about 2 kinds of participants - those that were invited and those that applied.
The first meeting for all of this was on Sunday in Panama City Beach so my parents came over to keep the boys while the Island King and I took Island Girl to the meeting. Things did not go well.
When we arrived, we were given an application. The letter we received was a little misleading and it turns out that all participants must apply, go through the application process and hope to be chosen. There were 200 kids there and only 40 will be accepted.
The second surprise was waiting for us in the booklet we were given. The "tuition" for this adventure will be $6,499.00. I'm still having chest pain 4 days later.
I want to state right up front that I think this is an excellent program.
The participants will be walking the streets of Pompeii, touring the Sistine Chapel, taking an overnight ferry to Greece to visit the Coliseum and the Parthenon and then will spend a day on a private island in the Mediterranean. They will be greeted by delegates from Italy and Greece and will have access to many places and things that are closed to regular tourists.
These are all things that I could only dream of showing my daughter and this is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.
The speaker at the meeting gave us information about a website which offers all kinds of fund raising information and ideas. This is a tremendous amount of money but I believe with all of my heart that it will be money well spent. I just wish I'd known about it ahead of time.
We've got several ideas cooking for raising the money and even though it will be REALLY hard, I think we can pull it off. My parents have agreed to help and we have several relatives that want to contribute as well. And of course Island Girl will be mowing lawns, bagging groceries and anything else we can think of to raise money.
My real problem with this whole thing though is the fact that the letter really made us believe she'd been invited and had a spot for this trip. So after a month of unbelievable excitement we now find out that she may not be selected. She's got excellent grades and outstanding recommendations from teachers and community leaders but she's one of 200 and there are only 40 spots. She's bouncing back and forth between really excited and thinking she won't be chosen.
So while I still think this is an awsome program, I feel a little misled. It would have been nice to know that she needed to apply and that she "might" get to go and it would have been good to know how much this is going to cost. She's been so excited and I know she will be crushed if she isn't accepted.
She has an interview in 2 weeks and they will let us know 3 days after the interview if she is accepted. Cross your fingers for her and I'll let you know what happens.