Model Bus Trip to Senior Day

All Aboard!!!

 Our Senior Day Bus Trip

From Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas

 I called around to people who plan bus trips for groups to gather information.  Use a company you have faith in or a company that someone you know has had a positive experience with.  A dirty, smelly bus with a rude driver can ruin a trip!  If you are clueless, a list of companies that operate statewide are included.  We are not endorsing any company.

Publicize and talk up the trip because the last Senior Day was GREAT!!  A flyer was passed out at meetings, and it was included in mailings.  I announced it at meetings and got it mentioned in The Senior News Source and the Dallas Morning News.

I sent a letter to everyone who was going on the trip with some details that they needed to know.  An example is included.

As everyone boarded, we handed them a release form to fill out.  As we picked up the forms, we passed out cold juice and muffins.  Our bus driver provided cold bottled water to and from Austin.

Ours was a 3 ½ hour trip, so we stopped at a McDonald’s after two hours for a pit stop.  I made everyone get off the bus to stretch if nothing else.

As everyone boarded the bus, they received their box lunch with the instructions that they can have it whenever they are hungry.  Some ate it on the bus even though that seemed early to me, and some saved it.  I heard other groups complain of the long wait to get in the Capitol cafeteria.  None in our group did the cafeteria.  They ate their box lunch or walked to a nearby restaurant.  I did not hear complaints from them.

As we approached Austin, we went over the packet that each passenger received as they got on the bus.  In the packet were:  some maps and booklets on Texas provided by a State Senator, the Senior Day agenda, the Senior Day resolution, restaurants within walking distance of the Capitol, senior issues to talk to elected officials about from different groups and an explanation of them, a list of every person on the trip and who their State Senator and State Representative are (We have many in Dallas.), a list of room numbers for the senators and representatives (The room assignments won’t be made until January.), a map of the Capitol grounds, maps of the Capitol building floors, a map of accessibility for persons who need a ramp, a guide to monuments on the Capitol grounds, information on the Visitors Center,  and gift shop information.  Each subject of the packet was a different color to assist in going over the packet with them.  “Now, look for the green sheet, so we can talk about…..”

We spent time practicing finding different elected official’s offices on the map, especially their own.  This was to start orienting them to the layout of the Capitol.

When we arrived, the driver got the folding chairs out for everyone to claim.  Most attendees brought chairs, so they could sit during the rally.  After the rally, everyone brought their chairs back to the drop off location.  A person was assigned to stay with the chairs and call the bus driver to come and pick up the chairs.  The attendees did not have to wait.  Of course, you need to plan this ahead with the driver, but it went very smoothly for us.

Now, everyone was off to see elected officials, eat lunch, tour the Capitol, visit the VisitorsCenter, visit the gift shop until 3:00 pm when the buses would be boarded.  Everyone was on their own.  We did not move around as a group.  We had two busloads of folks, and they all made it back on time.

They all reported on their visits to elected official’s offices.  Many went to more than their personal elected officials.  It was surprising how many actually got to visit with elected officials.  They were thrilled!!  I think they made the visits because they were well armed with information on the issues and how to get around the Capitol.

As everyone boarded the bus, they were given peanuts.

Again, the bus stopped at the half way point for a pit stop.  As they boarded the bus, everyone was handed an evaluation form to evaluate Senior Day and the trip.

We returned home after dark.  Everyone bounced off the buses with big smiles, thank yous and saying they wanted to go again next week!!