Doing Our Part for Alberta’s Economy (cuz we’re awesome that way!)
Between the entry fees, souvenir shopping and retail purchases, we have kick started Alberta’s economy and yanked the entire province right out of their troubles (You’re WELCOME!).
Parents, please touch base with your children (some need more money!) and also notify your employers you’ll be working until you’re 90… (Ron, Miguel and Stephane, that applies for you too!). A lot of money was spent for some items they really REALLY love (so much so that they’re laying in crumpled mess on their hotel rooms at this very moment!).
Our morning started out with a sleep-in (some slept in, some still got up early – which seriously should be a punishable offence!). Their rooms were a ROYAL DISASTER and needed cleaning up like Trump’s Campaign does – no small amount, in my opinion! Almost every visit to a room (where we deliver advice, settle disputes (imagine final two contestants on America’s Top Model…) and find lost items), found us eyebrows raised and shaking our heads (and in a couple of cases holding our nostrils tightly closed!). If their bedrooms are like that, I’d recommend you all move out to the garage. Or better yet, move them out to the garage!
The 9 am departure time meant we had a little extra time, but would still be on the bus for our typical-on-time departure. WHICH WOULD HAVE HAPPENED, had we not had to wait for Dave to grab a coffee for himself (sigh…), making it a 9:02 departure (listen, if he tells you that Jen, Josee and I were all holding full coffees and forgot to grab him one – he’s LYING, don’t believe it for a second!).
Fort Edmonton was the absolute greatest – they learned NOTHING about Canadian History but absolutely loved all the “olden days” candy they could buy! Honest. To. Goodness. I Can’t EVEN take it….
Actually, they learned loads about Edmonton history and I loved seeing some indignation on their faces when they learned 3 families shared one home in the fort (and the 3 couples slept in the same room on beds 1/2 the size of the ones these kids’ have at home – which some gasped at and others tilted their heads knowing something was wrong with that but weren’t quite sure what it was….). :)I was really impressed as well how attentive the students were to the various individuals who were in the era-roles of the four different time periods. Sabrina and Taylor heard how First Nations families lived near the fort for a time, but then followed the bison to hunt. As well, Kristy, Riley, Will, Ruby, Trisha and Kayli visited at length with a Metis woman who was beading. She told them about the beginnings of Metis culture and specifically how, in Fort Edmonton, some of the fur traders married and made allegiances with First Nations tribes. Further down the road, Allyssa, Emma, Lukas, Landon and Jakob played billiards in the back room of the saloon (I wouldn’t bet on any of them if they’re ever in a billiards tournament….). I don’t know why, but several of them tend to yell “horses” (ahemm, I mean “HORSES!”) every single time they see them. (Like, have they never seen a horse before?). I don’t get it (and what I mean by that is I generally just jump right out of my skin every single time they scream & yell the word “horses” – which is a number of times, because duh, we’re in Alberta!).
From Fort Edmonton to the WaterPark where it was the wave pool for some and the fastest, craziest waterslides for others (and also the reclining chairs for three female chaperones). Jade was crazy x 5 for going on that one waterslide that counts down “3…2…1…” (insert ominous voice) and then the bottom drops out from under you. Kids in the wave pool (Aubrey, James, Shayne, Kristy) learned it was “each man/woman for themselves” and “do what you must do to survive” when the waves came. Honest, if those kids ever think another has their back, I think they’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Also, at the waterpark, I was duped into paying $3 (on my VISA, no less) to charge my phone in one of those charge stations. With that $3, I got a whopping 4% charge over 2 hours. Which means, I’m now just as bad as the kids for letting money slip through my hands.
Shopping continued in the afternoon (this is when the Alberta economy recovered). From Aeropostale (where Taylor and Emma killed it) to Claire’s (where Brooklyn and Emily bought 94 items that fit into a sandwich baggie!) to Lids (where Connor, James, Will, Seth, Landon, Allyssa, Lukas bought hats that were poorly manufactured – left the factory with a straight brim instead of the acceptable curved one). American Eagle, Hollister and West 49 store managers dined on steak when the girls left with their crop top purchases (Kayli, Trisha, Aubrey, Landon, Emma, Kristy will look super-cute for summer!). Shayne and Jinelle got dresses (ready for the grad dance!) and Jakob got a belt (thank goodness). Bradford bought a skateboard and Quinn, Matthew and Riley got backpacks (Matt and Riley’s have water bladders for all their long hikes to the lower playground…sigh). Zac bought fold up cups (ok, what even is that). Zac and Jamie also bought memory-foam sandals (I want you to imagine my glee when Zac says to me, “I bought memory foam sandals!”). Jade bought a jumper which she is accessorized as well.
We thought we would have to head home at that point, cuz who cares about the mountains if you don’t have any money to spend in the souvenir shops?! Right? LUCKILY, there’s no end their financial resources so we are good to go!
Ms. From gets full credit for helping Emma fix her iPhone screen at Apple (but guess whose idea that was!). Josee keeps on getting loads of credit for handing out Advil for these headaches (from both the students and her fellow chaperones). Dave (being the only chaperone who took on the waterslides!) is getting credit with these boys for his participation and organization. I got a little bit of credit for getting Ruby some Cough and Cold medicine (as in the kind of credit someone gets for being a tax collector… “Here Ruby, I’ve got some pills for you!”). (sigh)
With heavy-laden arms and fashionable outfits even the Olsen twins couldn’t compete with (hmmm, dating myself there!), the kids were off to the Dinner Theatre. This was a HIT! If you’ve never been to a dinner theatre, you have to check it out (there’s one in Winnipeg!). The kids absolutely love it – I mean why wouldn’t they? These are kids who have been raised on GLC’s Spring productions and annual Christmas Concerts (they’ve gotten a singing and dancing dose equal to the Jackson 5’s early years – apparently, I’m just going to keep on dating myself in this paragraph!). The whole evening was a blast – with the kids dancing and singing along!
I was talking to my group about their favourite moments and Lucas told me, “I surprised myself, I didn’t think I would like the play (dinner theatre) and I really did.” I asked him if he would go again, and as he nodded and said, “Yes” ALL the boys at my table agreed in unison (and then told me stories about how much they liked it!). So huge round to Mrs. Reid and all the volunteers who have laid this foundation for our kids! They knew how to appreciate what they saw!
It was straight to their rooms and lights out when they got back to the hotel – and honestly, I think they were happy for it. There’s elements of The Walking Dead to the whole group (stumbling, stooped over bodies, ragged dirty clothes (some haven’t showered since they left home) and half-closed eyelids…) – quite honestly, I shiver with fear when they collectively walk toward me (I also wonder about the sanity of this whole trip when I see them enmasse, but that’s another blog post!).
On to Jasper tomorrow, I can’t wait!