Get Informed/Parent FAQ
High School and Middle School Tour Parents - Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions after reading the answers to the following frequently asked questions please feel free to contact Tanya for Middle School or Caitlin for High School Programs whose email and phone are at the bottom of this page.
Who is responsible for this Tour?
Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) is partnering with students and staff at schools to create this positive experience. All rules and expectations of the school will also apply on the Tour. STLF holds legal liability for the program.
How many chaperones are on the bus and what are their roles?
Nearly all of STLF's High School Pay It Forward Tours have eight chaperones (six College Leaders and two School Faculty). Each trip will have at least six chaperones, (all tours will include a school/community member) resulting in a 6:1 student to chaperone ratio or better. Approximately five - six college student volunteers from various universities across the Midwest will also be on the tour to serve as mentors and facilitators of the program. These students are trained and experienced in the program, and are also responsible for planning and organizing much of the experience.
STLF works with our partner schools to first place an official school representative. This representative is usually a school faculty member that has been working on the tour since the beginning of the project. Due the nature of the academic calendar, STLF and the school are sometimes unable to place a school faculty or staff member. With school approval, STLF next looks into the community and seeks to find two parent/active community members whom we know and trust to chaperone the tour experience. Should a parent or community member be unable to attend, STLF will tap into our growing alumni network and place an individual that meets both criteria: 1) holds college degree and 2) 25 years of age or older.
The chaperones are there to support the program. STLF's trained college leadership plans, organizes, and facilitate the experience with support from the chaperones. Most chaperones choose to actively participate in the program and work closely with the college leadership to make the tour a success. If you are interested in a being a chaperone on a Pay it Forward Tour - please contact Tanya (information below).
Where do the participants sleep?
The Pay It Forward Tour makes various stops at unique places throughout its tour. Some examples of places students will sleep are YMCA’s, churches, community centers, and more. A sleeping bag and pillow will be needed. Males and females will be separated for sleeping arrangements. On the last stop of High School Tours only, all students will stay in a hotel.
STLF partners with thousands of organizations across the country to provide a positive, safe, and enriching overnight experience for students. Tours routinely stay in unique settings where the students will get to hear first-hand the mission, story, and daily function from local staff. Tours visit these locations to 1) provide a unique learning environment away from home and 2) remain as low cost as possible.
What types of service projects will my child do?
The Pay It Forward Tour strives to expose participants to a new social issue and a different community environment each day. Throughout the tour, participants will engage in service projects that involve everything from human interaction to labor-intensive work, usually while using teamwork to accomplish their tasks. While specific projects will be chosen by the tour facilitators, examples of common service projects in the past have been visiting with residents in senior care facilities, engaging in park maintenance and trash removal, tutoring or playing with children, and building homes for low-income families. The safety of all participants is taken very seriously when setting up service projects.
Each service project can range from 2 - 4.5 hours and may be indoor or outdoor. STLF is able to make many health-related accomodations for students at service projects.
How much spending money should my child bring?
On Middle School Tours, all expenses are included in the cost of
your Tour, including all meals and some snacks. However, your student
may want to bring along some money for additional snacks and possible
On High School Tours, STLF will provide breakfast and one additional meal each day. We will also be providing snacks and other treats along the way. Each student is responsible to pay for one meal per day on their own. We suggest having students bring an average of $10 per day for spending money on food. Additional money can be brought along for shopping and souvenirs when time allows.
What type of bus will by STLF be using for the Tour?
STLF uses charter motor coaches (not school buses) for all Pay it Forward Tours. All buses will have underneath and overhead storage spaces, individual seats, an onboard bathroom, and likely televisions for movies.
Are all bus drivers licensed professional drivers, and at what times of the day will they be driving?
STLF contracts with motor coach transportation companies and all drivers are hired professional drivers through the companies contracted for the Tours. All driving on the Tour is done during the day or in the evening, and never overnight. Students will always spend overnights in a place of lodging, and bus drivers will always have a good night's rest in a hotel.
What should participants pack for the tour?
Tour participants should bring everything they need to be away from home for the duration of the tour. Pack as light as possible, participants have to carry their belongings on and off the bus each day. Please click here for the High School Tour packing list. Please click here for the Middle School Tour packing list.
Who can I call with questions?
-College Program Coordinator: Ellie Thorstad | email@example.com | 262-676-9110
-High School Program Coordinator: Caitlin Plaza | firstname.lastname@example.org | 847-507-1043
-Middle School Program Coordinator: Leah Martin | email@example.com | 218-391-8231
-Leadership Camp Program Coordinator: Leah Martin | firstname.lastname@example.org | 218-391-8231
My Story - Sarah Crissinger
Sarah, a student from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, shares her thoughts about her PIF Tour experience and some of her learnings from the trip. It's making us excited for this year's tours!!