Parents are shelling out billions of dollars annually for their kids to play sports. In this “pay to play” society, the U.S. government and private organizations find that the youth sports industry is estimated to be a $15 billion industry.
During a recent @walbtv show, The Breakdown, I provided financial insight on costs associated with children’s sports and also briefly discussed the economic benefits of that community’s homecoming celebrations.
AVERAGE ANNUAL SPENDING PER SPORT, PER CHILD
Track & field
Source: Aspen Institute
As a former “Soccer Mom” — aka basketball, baseball, track, golf, skiing, goalball and band Mom — of three children and now as a grandmother of young athletes and scholars, I know well that many businesses that benefit from children’s sports such as:
Teaching digital native students is a welcomed challenge.
The first assignment for two sections of my digital storytelling courses was to complete a scavenger hunt within a 1.5 mile radius in downtown Tallahassee. Other students captured a single image with a caption in a deadline scenario. Both groups performed well.
In all, the assignment is related to field producing. We have book work and discussions to follow.
Here are some of the images from one of my classes. I will follow up this blog with the second set of images from the other class.
Are they using their smart phones to shop for schools — colleges and universities?
I’ve been teaching college students for a few decades at schools in Arkansas, Florida and Georgia. The warm weather, relatively low college and university rates, costs-of-living expenses, and the so-called Southern hospitality are among the top reasons why students — like me — love our school and location choices.
While this study is helpful, you are not able to directly compare the national colleges and tuitions’ averages for an undergraduate education to each states’ figures. The states’ data are grouped together for community colleges, trade, and public and private schools undergraduate and certificate degrees. The national data separates each certificate and degree program related to undergraduate or bachelor’s education.
That’s why I took the available states’ data and compared it to the national colleges and universities’ statistics by averaging all six categories (1st and 2nd year certificates, associate, 2-4 year certificates, bachelor and post bachelor certificate). Using my bargain hunting wisdom, I used those averages to reach my comparison conclusions on the best-priced colleges and universities.
The continual rise in college/university tuitions, fees, expenses and related student loan costs, are causing many smart thinking parents and students to price shop in higher education.
This is a perfect time of year to begin planning for the 2020 and beyond years for your choices among colleges and universities.
Use the abundant Internet search engine tools to begin your real school shopping.
Don’t shop on price alone. Location, ambiance, safety statistics, campus housing, school policies and more should be considered in your final equation.
Ask friends, neighbors, co-workers and others by connecting via social media with graduates of your proposed colleges and universities. Get their feedback on and importantly, track where those graduates are working and how they are thriving (or not) in their careers.
If it is financially feasible, visit the campuses of the schools you are interested in. While there are many organized college fairs for students and parents, also consider an impromptu or planned visit to the classrooms where you or your child will likely spend the most time in as a prospective major.
I was wrongly speaking aloud about another one of those”worse year of my life” moments when my mother gave me a colorful cloth pouch.
I didn’t go to church with her. I told Mom that I had too many things to sort out and that no one would miss me if I did not attend that day’s service. I also told her earlier that I needed additional funds to repair my vehicle and honor the medical co-payments related to my youngest son’s blindness. I was asking for patience, peace and a semblance of a so-called normal life. It was a too-often state-of-mind for me. I craved a change. That was in 1994.
My mother returned from church and was talking over me about how I should place photos, notes with my hopes and dreams, receipts and faith examples of any type. I tried to again interrupt my mother with my lengthy list of needs. I gave up and decided to try her way. After all, I had nothing to lose.
Nothing to lose: That’s a great place for spiritual interference to enter the room. I found myself clinging to the pouch like it was a necessary hand bag or makeup carrier. I still stuff the pouch today with items that are disparate and have individual meanings to me. The remembrances evoke tears, smiles and frowns from the stuffed away memories of the good in my life and the fears.
Several years ago, I heard a sermon by Dr. Barbara King, founder and senior pastor of Atlanta’s Hillside Chapel & Truth Center, about temporary possessions we give power to in place of the real power source — God, Allah and other deities. She spoke of a rabbit’s foot and other items deemed lucky by its owners. Dr. Barbara — as she is known — told the congregation to use until they could gain strength in trusting the true source.
I was in that place. I was a “baby Christian” as my Atlanta area pastor used to call us who stayed in the same spot without spiritual growth. Dr. Leon Hollinshed was among those kind individuals who helped me to get to my greatest place. For that, I am grateful to him and so many others who stood in the gap with prayers during the year my youngest son became blind and our world became a shadow of its former place.
Since 1994, I’ve cherished memories from some funeral programs, happy and encouraging notes, photos of my children in their early years, an usher pin, an airline ticket, donation receipts, name badges and encouraging letters and notes from family members and now deceased friends.
Connect the dots
1. Even if you don’t feel like it, graciously accept a gift of encouragement.
2. Listen to the still, small voice and act accordingly.
3. Believe in prayer.
4. Do something to honor your gifts. I write thank yous to folk who have extended kindness to my family and me.
When my 81-year-old uncle died in Pensacola, FL on the first Friday of August 2019, his next journey of 1,100 miles placed him in our hometown of Omaha, NE. My family members, too, trekked from several states by planes, trains, buses and automobiles to Uncle Sam’s funeral and burial.
Yet, the real trip was wading through the varied policies and rules on bereavement travel discounts. Hunting for bereavement and emergency rates is not your typical fun thing to do, unless you are in the funeral services business or a travel agent. Travel discount discussions about end-of-life are avoided or never conducted.
Part of the reason is that the bereavement, compassion and emergency rates are not easily understandable. It’s stressful enough dealing with trauma associated with a death of a loved one, whether it was immediate or anticipated after a lengthy illness. Add sorting through the tons of different rules by carriers and hotels to achieve discount rates, and it almost becomes unmanageable and therefore, often the grieving travelers end up paying too much for their travels.
Now that my uncle’s services have passed, I’m happy to share what I have unearthed from the latest emergency and bereavement offers among the airlines, buses, trains and hotels. Because of the time-sensitive nature of our travel, I relied on trustworthy blogs such as https://thepointsguy.com/guide/airline-bereavement-fares/ . It also helps that my sister is a hotel concierge and she guided my logistics.
Don’t cry: It’s personal
Also, most of the carriers and hotels will award the discounts if bereaved travelers are members of its respective loyalty programs. It is helpful to check online for the general policies, yet beware that what is published online may not be the latest information.
Despite my tips and that of others, if the discount travel shopping cause additional stress, choose stress-free living. Cheaper fares are no match for peace of mind.
The journey begins
Amtrak announces on its website that the train carrier offers bereavement rates. It doesn’t. I spoke with two persons from Amtrak and also tweeted a query. It shores up my recommendation to check with each company on its policies. I know it is time consuming during a time-sensitive mourning period.
Delta Airlines, 1-800-221-1212, has a bereavement page on its website that offers answers to most queries about its policy to obtain discounts. Be sure to call Delta if you wish to book a flight at its bereavement rate of 10 – 20 percent. They asked if my relative had a frequent flyer number and thankfully, he did. That is how we yielded a flight at a great rate. You also have to call Jet Blue, 1-800-Jet-Blue, to get discounts for the family members and the mourners attending public services of firefighters, police officers and others in similar professions. Like Delta and Jet Blue, Air Canada, 1-888-247-2262, wants the bereaved to call to finalize details displayed on its website page. The carrier’s bereavement page explains that its policy on discounts for travel and refunds for tickets that were booked at full rates.
Lufthansa offers discounts for the bereaved. In its words, ” In the event of a death abroad Lufthansa offers immediate family members special fares for outbound and return flights to attend the funeral if their journey starts in the USA or Canada. Customers from the USA or Canada are kindly requested to contact their Lufthansa reservations office in the USA or Canada before the start of their trip for further information and to make a booking.” Its number is 1 800 – 645 3880.
Yet, one of my other favorite airlines, Southwest Airlines, 1-800-435-9792, offers condolences to the bereaved and yet does not provide discounts. Frontier Airlines,1-801-401-9000, also does not offer discounts in its fares, yet it has a very liberal refund policy for emergencies that include bereavement.
Check with other airlines and all hotels for special rates and sometimes waived fees for ground transportation and room costs.
Where to lay your head
My family prefers the Marriott hotels and for good reasons. Much like the airlines, if you are members of its loyalty program, the hotel chain offers lower rates for its rooms. Also, similar to the airlines, contact each hotel, compare the bereavement or compassion rates to that of the low-cost airfares offered on travel websites.
Take a breath. Choose mindfulness techniques as sitting in peaceful stillness before planning your travel.
Organize your “proof of death” materials and your relationship to the deceased. If the materials are not readily available to you, the funeral home’s contact information can be used as verification by the carriers, hotels and rental car companies.
Check airline discount fares first and compare it to the bereavement, emergency, compassion rates offered by major carriers and hotels, motels.
Choose stress-free over haggling over cheapest rates. Save your grieving energy.
Remember all of the loving condolences extended to your family or close friend. I offer my condolences and wishes for safe travels.
The second section of my Newswriting & Reporting II course included some powerful work along the route of the scavenger hunt. The students are posting their findings on social media. I grabbed a few to show off how well they completed their assignment.
The assignment is related to the first steps of becoming a field producer. Those qualities are, but not limited to, keen observation, sharp logistics, visual site selection, adherence to deadlines, understanding site significance, editing, writing great synopsis with descriptive language.