Technology on Tour
Author: Tanya Schmitt
Technology on Tour
I distinctly remember the first bus ride on my first Pay It Forward Tour 5 years ago when my fellow busmate Kirstin asked if there was WiFi on the bus. Everyone literally laughed out loud-how could WiFi signal follow a bus around? Two years later, there was WiFi on a bus, and just last week I was on the road with a middle school group that had iPads to keep them company during our bus rides. Crazy, right?
Technology is a beautiful thing. It adds previously unimaginable conveniences to our everyday lives, and helps me to appreciate genuine human interaction and prioritize those things technology can't replace-like a walk on a sunny, 70 degree day in March. Technology has had an incredible impact on our Pay It Forward Tours as well! Gone are the days of Word doc itineraries, paper registration forms, or using atlases to chart out routes and figure out where the bus might have made a wrong turn. Now we have collaborative Google Docs, Facebook and Twitter, and nearly every bus is equipped with a trusty GPS to help find rest stops, dinner locations, and navigate the way to the next destination.
Smart phones have literally put so many valuable resources at the fingertips of our bus core leaders. New technology solutions have taken away a lot of data entry work from our staff, have me addicted to Facebook at Twitter for these six weeks of College Pay It Forward Tours, and whenever we have High School and Middle School Tours on the road. I may not be on the bus anymore, but I still get to hear the awesome stories of welcoming communities, the service and bus ride experiences, and life changing relationships being formed. A quick #STLF search on Twitter is proof that there are some incredible things going on (and have been going on for two weeks now!) I'd encourage you to check in-for those that have been on tour, it's a great way to remember the people and places you met and visited on your tours. For those that have never been on tour, there is no better way to capture the essence of a tour than from the participants and leaders themselves!
Our office has enjoyed the funacity (fun+tenacity) that comes with each spring as a majority of our tours hit the road. We're half way through and it has been a truly remarkable time to be a part of STLF. No matter what your role or relationship with our organization, check it out and be a part of the magic of tours!
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