Tourism Club At Pocahontas County HS Off To A Good Start
Dunmore, WV – It may have been the novelty of a new club or the promise of interesting field trips, but whatever it was, almost three dozen kids turned up for the second meeting of the newly formed Pocahontas County Tourism Club at the high school on Tuesday. Cara Rose, executive director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomed the students.
“We’re going to have some fun, we’re going to do some trips, but keep in mind we do want you to participate in these trips, because we will have a reward trip around the middle to the end of May depending on when you get out of school,” says Rose.
Although not confirmed yet, Rose says it’s likely the reward trip will be to Adventures on the Gorge, on the New River Gorge, which offers such activities as white water rafting and zip line tours. She told the group about the first trip in the planning – a stop at a cafe in Hillsboro.
“The first trip we want to do is an exotic food tasting at the Pretty Penny,” says Rose. “Now we want to do this after school. What we’re hoping everybody can do is ride the bus down to the Pretty Penny for a couple of hours and then we’ll figure out how we’re going to get you home.”
“There’s going to be some probably food from around the world, maybe some foods that you’ve never had before, that’s what we’re aiming for. We’re also going to be doing some other activities during the evening.”
Other trips will take the students to Snowshoe, the Soaring Eagle Lodge and the Elk River Touring center. It’s all designed to give students a firsthand look at all the various career paths in the tourism industry.
Teresa Mullins, the Pro Start teacher at the high school is the sponsor for the tourism club. It’s her responsibility to act as a liaison between Rose and the school to take care of things like permission slips and other administrative details. She explains why she agreed to be the sponsor for the club.
“I think that this club really connects, not only for the students here because a lot of the things in this area are tourism and I don’t think a lot of the students realize that the things that they do every day on the weekend are really tourist attractions for people who aren’t from here,” says Mullins. “And there are a lot of things in the upper levels of the Pro Start program that students are required to do that tie in with tourism and hospitality in the area and I think that that’s something that working together the club can fulfill those requirements for the students while letting them have fun instead of just doing a boring project.”
The Pro Start program is a series of classes designed to give students a professional start in the culinary world, giving them the experience and skills to get a job in a restaurant or resort and/or entry to a culinary school.
Rose says students will be asked to do more than just participate in trips.
“Because we’re going to be doing all these trips for you; we do want you to help us with the Great Greenbrier River Race that’s going to April 28th, it’s a Saturday,” says Rose. “We want you to understand that events are part of tourism as well, and the Great Greenbrier River Race is a gigantic event; there’ll be about five hundred people in the town of Marlinton that day.”
What we’d like to do is have you show up that morning; we’re going to pair you up with one of the committee members and you’re going to be mentored by that person. So you’re going to learn a little bit about how you organize events and things that really have to get done, what it really takes to do events.”
I talked with four of the students about why they are in the club.
“Just to learn more about the hospitality business, since it’s my major.”
“My mom got me excited for it the promise of trips, that’s always enticing to a school student, get out of school.”
“I was just really interested when I heard about it just to see new sights and kind of pick out what kind of career I want to go into.”
“It’s something new than what the school has had before I was curious at first, but now I like it.”