First off, I am not a hater of eighth graders. I was one once. A dashing young man with lots of long hair.
But if anything chills guides who don’t work with middle schoolers, it’s seeing the kids recently return. Those hordes coming your way wearing the same color shirts. When leading a small group, I feel like we’re swallowed by a whale as the kids surround and pass us.
I admire guides who handle these tours, which is quite the cottage industry in town. I don’t do them. I don’t have the energy or patience. It’s usually 2 1/2 very long days and many guides end and start tours on the same day when switching groups. I tip my hat to them. Sometimes I’m a step-on guide for few hours with a group and that’s fine, but I couldn’t do 2 1/2 days.
They’re not bad kids. They’re just 13. Lots of energy, often unfocused. Leading a tour one night at the MLK, I noticed the area was filled with eighth graders and not one was looking up at King. They’re just glad to be out of school and with their friends.
Now if the eighth graders would just not block the entire sidewalk, I’d be OK with them. I often have to yell for them to move to one side. Their chaperones are often too tired to help.
High school senior trips are completely different. The kids do care, at least somewhat. They’re ready to graduate and much more fun to lead. I often think this is something they’ll remember their whole lives and give it my best effort. I don’t do high school seniors often, but I often enjoy them as well as international student tours.
Like many summer resort towns, we’re glad to see the tourists come, and we’ll be glad to see them leave.