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W. Mass. teacher runs to pay for student travel

March 3, 2013

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (AP) — Great Barrington resident and Spanish teacher Rosalynn Frederick hopes to make great strides in providing funding to support youth travel and service learning opportunities.

On March 15, she’ll be hitting the road to take on a 3,100-mile solo “USA Run for Youth Travel” across the country to raise funds and awareness for the campaign. Currently, she’s spreading the word by planning two public fundraising events expected to conclude next week, and also by sharing her website, youthtravelfund.org.

“One of the reasons I wanted to become a teacher was because I was hoping to travel with my students,” said Frederick, 36.

She is a Spanish teacher and 1994 graduate of Taconic Hills High School in neighboring Craryville, N.Y., where she was able to travel to Spain and France as a student.

“In turn, I wanted to take my students on trips and give them a view of the world,” she said.

Born in Altoona, Pa., Frederick spent her first five years living in Belize, where her father was in the Peace Corps. She’s later spent 2½ years in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Niger, West Africa, and has traveled to a few other countries.

“I’ve always been of the world. I think it’s been in my genes,” Frederick said.

She was able to take students on a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago, but in trip planning the following year, she learned the factor of cost outweighed the opportunity for many students.

“Plenty of interested students signed up, but one by one, they kept dropping out because they couldn’t afford to go,” said the teacher.

In researching trips online via student travel websites, The Eagle estimates the average cost of a 10-day trip to Belize to be a minimum $2,000 investment.

Frederick then began thinking of how to make student travel more accessible.

“The idea came to me while running one day. I was kind of just daydreaming and thought maybe I could raise money through my running,” said Frederick, who picked up running as a hobby in college.

She ran her first marathon, the Big Sur International Marathon, in 2004. In January, she ran a 50K ultra-marathon race at Norrie Point in Staatsburg, N.Y., and placed sixth out of the 16 finishers among more than 100 runners. The March run will be her longest trek, along a route from New York to Los Angeles.

Frederick took a sabbatical this school year to work on creating a fund that could help students and schools at any grade level in the Berkshire-Taconic region that were interested in taking an educational field trip, be it within the local community or halfway across the world.

The educator said her campaign for youth travel is more comprehensive than just providing scholarships for trips.

She says her program is designed to help school leaders plan an educational trip and help students contribute to their travel by also doing fundraising. She said students and schools receiving money from the Youth Travel Fund will also be responsible for developing and presenting a project with their home communities about their trip.

“This teaches them skills that are valuable for future success,” Frederick said.

The teacher said these kind of skills make the difference between chasing a dream and achieving it.

“I hope my students see and understand if you have a dream, something you want to see or do, believe and follow in that dream. If you put in the effort and are creative and determined to do it, it’s possible,” she said.

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