I JUST WANT PARENTS TO BE AWARE OF THIS TERRIBLE PROGRAM AND TO GIVE MUCH THOUGHT TO SENDING THEIR CHILDREN ON IT.
My 12 year old daughter was "invited" to attend a meeting of the People to People Student Ambassador Program in October 1999, regarding a summer camp trip in June 2000 to Yosemite National Park. She was supposedly recommended by her teachers or another student ambassador for this "special opportunity." We went to the meeting and we decided that it would be something we should try for. It was $2500 and you had to pass some interviews and take recommendations from other adults.
My daughter was very excited and even contributed some of the money from her savings account to help pay for her trip because that is a large sum of money to come up with, even with payments.
We went to a meeting every month between December and June. The leaders promised the children would not be left alone and promised to take good care of them. On the second day my daughter had twisted her knee and when she called that evening she said she was having a good time.
I asked to talk to a leader. She had a previous injury there and I wanted to make sure they were aware of that. Ms. Bird got on the phone and I asked her to put some ice on my daughters' knee and she informed me that it had an ace bandage on it and she would have to hike on it tomorrow regardless of her situation because there was noone to stay with her at the campsite.
Ms. Bird was extremely rude and short and made the statement "This is the reason we don't like them to call their parents." I began to become bothered at this point at the attitude of this woman.
On the fourth evening my daughter called me hysterically crying and begging me to come pick her up. My daughter is not an emotional girl to say the least. She is an extremely brave individual who races bandelero cars and is very active in many sports. After assuring her I would fly from Texas to California the next day to get her, she calmed down.
To make a long story a little shorter, the leaders were very rude to my daughter, pulling her out of line and telling her to "shut up" when she was crying. They were in elevations over 6000 ft and they LOST her in the woods! They had this thing called a "solo hike" where you wait 2 minutes after the person in front of you has left and my daughter must have taken a wrong turn because 2 strangers found her and brought her back to her group.
There were many more incidents during the 5 days she was there but it would take pages to tell it all. She is still having problems due to the negligence of this trip and has been seeing a pychologist.
I've wrote them a letter asking for a refund, complained to the BBB and they refuse to do anything about it. I thought about suing but there's no way I'd put my daughter through that again.
At this point I just want to try and help someone not make the same mistake I did.