News for Monday, January 23, 2012

Field Trips: Behind the Scenes

Field Trip to Pueblo BlancoField Trip to Pueblo BlancoPhotograph courtesy Jason S. OrdazField Trip to Pueblo BlancoPhotograph courtesy Jason S. Ordaz

SAR’s field trips to local archaeological, cultural, and historical sites with expert guides are a highly popular benefit of membership with the School. Demand for participation in these trips has grown so much over the past few years that the program has become a victim of its own success.

To make the process of registration more equitable, in 2010 SAR moved from an on-site or phone-in registration system to a lottery, whereby members mail in a request form indicating the trips they would like to join, and names are drawn from a hat for each trip. (Members at the Galisteo level and above receive priority registration.)

For the recently completed Spring 2012 registration, more than 200 members requested spots in seven scheduled trips with a total of 107 available spots. Given the odds, many names were not drawn for any trips.

Several ideas have been floated—by members and staff alike—to meet the growing demand, two of which we are currently considering:

1. Increase the number of trips.
2. Expand the size of each participant group.

While adding more trips to the roster would help a great deal, current staff resources prohibit this solution. Janie Miller, who handles all the field trip planning and coordination and accompanies almost every trip—along with other job responsibilities—works 30 hours a week to make this all happen. Increasing staff time to support more field trips would cost the School significantly more to run the program and likely lead to increased field trip prices.

Increasing the size of field trip groups would accommodate more participants, but would detract from the intimate nature of the experience, which is one of the main elements that make these trips so enjoyable and desirable. And some of our best adventures go to places that only allow small groups to visit.

Please be assured that staff is still tinkering with the system to make it as fair and accessible as possible. If you have suggestions, please contact Janie by email at jmiller[at]sarsf.org or by phone at (505) 954-7230.

If your name was not drawn to join one of the spring field trips, more trips are scheduled for summer and fall 2012. Those schedules will be released soon, so please stay tuned. And thank you for your patience.

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