What do Disneyworld, the US Tennis Association’s National Campus and Camp Boggy Creek have in common?
They are all sites visited by Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM) students as part of a multi-day field trip in June that gave students an opportunity to speak directly with professionals in the field about the challenges and successes involved with operating different types of industry organizations.
The trip is part of the department’s Engaging in Diverse, Guided Experiences (EDGE) program, an innovative, immersive experience for sophomores that takes a collaborative approach to delivering core parks, recreation and tourism management content.
Unlike a traditional semester with several classes, the EDGE program incorporates the content of those classes into one learning experience. Learning is reinforced through lectures, small group work, individual assignments, readings, field trips, research and collaborations on real-world issues.
Field trips are designed to get students out of the classroom to see parks, recreation and tourism agencies in action, says Dr. Teresa Tucker, PRTM EDGE Program Coordinator and Senior Lecturer.
“Seeing concepts they’ve learned in the classroom being applied in the field, and in different settings, gives our students a better understanding of the qualifications and skills they’re going to need to succeed after they graduate,” she added.
The trip was planned to focus on topics that affect all parks, recreation and tourism management agencies, such as facility operations, administration, finance, marketing, programming and risk management. Students traveled to Orlando and Eustis, Florida to learn about leadership strategies from the Disney business model, tour the US Tennis Association’s national campus, and talk to Camp Boggy Creek Director David Mann about managing a camp for children and families with serious illnesses.
Tucker says that students left with a well-rounded understanding of the different challenges these organizations face and how they address them, and that the trip also helped to create lasting relationships between students and program faculty.
“This trip helps reinforce core concepts in our field, which is important,” says Tucker. “But it’s also rewarding to see these trips help our students create lasting bonds with their fellow students and faculty – relationships that can help them succeed with their degree, and that they can continue to rely on as they build their careers after graduation.”
Read more about the EDGE program: