Tauck Hosts 60 Inner-city Children in Preparation for “Sparks” Educational Trips This Summer

Six-Day Journeys Through New England This July are Paired With an In-Depth Educational Curriculum

WILTON, CT (April 12, 2017)  Tauck, the leader in premium tours and cruises, hosted some 60 inner-city middle school children at its Wilton headquarters on Monday, in preparation for educational tours that the students will be taking through New England with the company this summer.  Monday’s visit to Tauck’s headquarters, this summer’s tours, and an accompanying 18-week educational curriculum are organized and funded by Tauck as part of the company’s Sparks program.  Sparks is offered cooperatively with three local youth agencies; the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club of Bridgeport, Domus in Stamford, and the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford. 

According to Tauck, the Sparks program grew out of the company’s desire to inspire local youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity to travel.  The trips are intended to open the eyes of participating children to new places and experiences, and thus encourage them to set and pursue real and achievable goals.  During Monday’s visit to Tauck’s headquarters, the Sparks students were welcomed by company CEO Dan Mahar and president Jennifer Tombaugh.  The students also toured Tauck’s offices, and met in small groups with individual Tauck employees who shared their backgrounds and explained how their roles at Tauck fit in with the company’s overall mission.

This July, Tauck will bring participating Sparks children on one of three identical six-day educational journeys through New England.  Students participating in the Sparks program through Domus will depart Stamford on July 9, those in the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club Sparks program will leave from Bridgeport on July 16, and the Stamford Boys & Girls Club Sparks group will depart on July 23.

The Sparks journey is built around a “Charting Your Course” theme, which reflects New England’s rich maritime heritage and also speaks to the importance of planning one’s own personal course through life.  The itinerary travels first to Newport, Rhode Island, where students will tour The Elms mansion, visit historic Touro Synagogue, enjoy a picnic dinner at Brenton Point State Park, and stroll along a portion of the city’s Cliff Walk. 

The following day brings the Sparks group to the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, and later they’ll board a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard where they’ll visit the island’s Oak Bluff community.  Following a return to the mainland and an overnight in Bourne, the group will learn about colonial life at Plimoth Plantation en route to Boston, where they’ll visit the Old North Church and Harvard University, and take part in a service project in cooperation with the National Park Service.  The seeds of the American Revolution are explored the next day at Minuteman National Historical Park in Lexington and Concord, and the area’s literary legacy comes into focus during a visit to Orchard House, the former home of writer Louisa May Alcott.  The tour concludes back in Connecticut the following day, after visits to the Hancock Shaker Village and the Norman Rockwell Museum in western Massachusetts.

The six-day tours will complement an eighteen-week, after-school curriculum that prepares children for their journey by exploring the trip’s “Charting Your Course” theme.  That curriculum, which is being taught at the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, Domus and the Stamford Boys & Girls Club from February through June, is designed to broaden students’ horizons, explore lessons in self-determination, and add context and perspective to the locations the Sparks students will visit during their travels.  The curriculum also includes lessons in other life skills (including confidence, independence and teamwork), and the practicalities of travel, from how to pack a suitcase to proper hotel and restaurant etiquette.

Those interested in more information can contact Kendra St. John at Tauck at kstjohn@tauck.com.

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