Your recent edits
Hi there. In case you didn't know, when you add content to talk pages and Wikipedia pages that have open discussion, you should sign your posts by typing four tildes ( ~~~~ ) at the end of your comment. On many keyboards, the tilde is entered by holding the Shift key, and pressing the key with the tilde pictured. You may also click on the signature button located above the edit window. This will automatically insert a signature with your name and the time you posted the comment. This information is useful because other editors will be able to tell who said what, and when. Thank you! --SineBot (talk) 01:37, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
People to People Student Ambassadors
I have enjoyed the very frank and honest discussion we have been having in regards to the People to People Student Ambassador program. Please don't take me wrong here... I admire the roots of the program deeply, and I do think that those who have the money to be involved with the program get an excellent value.
Where my complaint is here for this program is in regards to how the initial image that is portrayed to parents new to the program (including myself... my son was one of those students who have been nominated for a Student Ambassador trip). So I am speaking as a parent of a child who is "involved" in the program. I am not alone in this regard.
The simple fact of the matter is that neither I nor my extended family has the finances necessary to afford to send my child on one of these trips. Nor do I think it is reasonable to expect anybody else to be able to pay for experiences like this. I don't intend to attend a sales seminar again that goes into details about a program that I can't afford, and I do think there are some very valid criticisms of this program that parents getting involved should be aware of before they start to hand money over to the Ambassador's Group. Or waste their time canceling appointments and re-arranging their schedules to spend an evening with a high pressure sales rep from Ambassador's Group.
If you remove the monetary issues from this, the nomination and selection process is also something I strongly question. The only real criteria that I have seen for student selection is a more or less emotionally stable kid, and somebody who has obtained somehow the finances necessary to pay for the trip. I have no doubt that parents of a child who don't have to even blink to spend the $5,000-$10,000 per trip can obtain whatever endorsements are necessary to get them into the program. Again, I would love you to prove otherwise to me, but my own son... bless his sweet heart and I love him to the end of the world... is hardly the most stellar student in school. If my son is an example of a selected student, there is no selection criteria at all. Is a 2.0 GPA the selection criteria? 1.0?
I also strongly question the age range of the kids being invited onto these trips. Again, my son was "selected" when he was barely 11 years old. I think experiences like this for older teenagers is very worthwhile, and I've had some related experiences of cultural exchange like this myself. In my junior year of high school, I traveled to Washington, DC with other classmates and met with my state's Senator and district Representative, toured the White House, attended a session of the U.S. Senate, saw and touched vehicles that traveled to the Moon, and got to read the U.S. Constitution straight from the original document at the National Archives. This was a highlight of my childhood that I would love to give my children similar kinds of experiences. I also spent two years as a missionary in Brazil... much of that working with the people living in the favellas of São Paulo. I do understand and appreciate that cultural exchange is something that should be included into the life experiences of nearly every citizen when they are young, and I hope that opportunities like P2PSA can be offered when possible.
Most of my complaints about this program have to do with a lack of transparency on the mechanics of the program, and I hope that in time this will eventually happen. I also have a strong aversion to strong arm/high pressure sales tactics, and generally distrust anybody who tries to go that route with me to present an idea or product.
Again, I don't want to fight you on this, and on the whole I would love to find reasonable and scholarly references about this program, and generally help improve the quality and tone of the article. I agree that it needs fixing, and I want to support you on those efforts. --Robert Horning (talk) 19:10, 29 January 2008 (UTC)