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Publications adviser plans Irish tour

UPDATE: An organizational meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24. The itinerary is available online in the FCS Vault. Alumni, parents and students from FC and other local high schools and youth groups are encouraged to inquire for this trip. Spots are still available. Contact Stobbe for more information.

On his 11th trip to Europe through EF Educational Tours, journalism adviser, Greg Stobbe, plans to escort approximately 40 travelers on a 14-day excursion to Ireland, June 11-24.

?Ireland is as much a part of this country?s immigration and growth in later 1800s to the mid 1900s,? Stobbe said. ?Many of our families have historical ties to Ireland and this is a great opportunity to go back to our roots.?

Although Stobbe coordinates his tours with EF Tours, he customized the tour to satisfy most areas of interest, based on his first trip to the country in 1999. The itinerary for the trip includes visits to Folk Park, Aran Islands, Kylemore Abbey, Aillwee Caves, Bog Museum, Bunratty and Blarney Castles among other activities.

?I wanted to give as much diversity to the tour as I could,? Stobbe said. ?I hope to provide a good balance between activities. I grew up in British Columbia and know the value of being outdoors and this trip follows that plan.?

Although the excursion offers a maximum of 35 spots (5 travelers have signed up thus far), a minimum of 10 spots must be filled to take the trip. The cost per person ranges from $3,120-$4,150, depending on the number of participants. Fees do not include gratuities, personal insurance, beverages and lunches, some dinners and public transportation to free time activities.

?I customized all my tours and have personally designed and created each day to give travelers the maximum cultural experience,? Stobbe said. ?Students can also take the trip for high school or college credit through the University of Washington.?

Stobbe began the tradition of escorting groups to Europe every other year in 1996, as a way to earn more money to revisit with his wife, Geena.

“Back in 1987, my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary in Europe as we backpacked our way for over two months,” Stobbe said. “When we got back, I foolishly promised her I would take her back for our 10th anniversary thinking by then I will have a lot of money and free time.”

“By our ninth anniversary, I realized there was no way on earth I would be able to do that,” Stobbe said. “So that fall I began to look for ways to work extra and began talking to teachers about that and former choral director, Marc Ferguson, said he had gone along as a chaperon for an EF Educational tour trip. So I looked up the phone number and requested some information. The rest is history.”

Stobbe last guided 35 students through Italy, in 2005. The trip included visits to Rome, Venice, Pompeii, bike-riding in the countryside, museums in Florence and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

“I am really glad I went with Stobbe to Italy,” Kailee Maxey, ’09, said. “The trip was jam-packed, but he was a fun leader and I learned a lot; Venice was definitely the highlight of the trip.”

Although Stobbe has organized 11 tours to Europe, he also leads the publications staff to New York biennially. In addition, he guides shorter tours to Burgundy, France.

Stobbe finalized the itinerary, however, the prices remain tentative for the upcoming Ireland journey. He believes the trip will open up a new world to students, willing them to embrace a different culture.

“The students will experience a cross-cultural adventure as best as possible in two weeks, similar to that of an exchange student,” Stobbe said. “We will eat like locals, stay in places they would and participate in their activities, so that when we leave, the students will feel like they’ve gotten to know a whole new place.”

For more information regarding the 2005 tour of Italy, visit Alec Kneefel’s April 21, 2005, article, Italy tour offers global experience.

Spots are still available for those students, parents, alumni and local youth groups who still want to travel. The itinerary is available in the Vault under Stobbe. Look for Ireland-A Celtic Connection in the Stobbe Ed. Tours folder. Please contact Stobbe directly for the itinerary; he can e-mail it to interested individuals or groups.

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