Students in a typical Illinois course look forward to their last day of school. This means completing classes and returning home, but not to the Recreation, Sports and Tourism course of Associate Professor of Clinical School Michael Raycraft. For RST 180: Professional Applications, the end of the semester is just the beginning.
After a two-year hiatus this summer, from May 23 to June 3, Raycraft took his RST 180 class on a 12-day bus trip to the Northeast to visit various sports venues and historical sites.
On any given day of the trip, they were busy from morning to night visiting tourist destinations. For example, the first stop for a group of 26 was Cleveland, Ohio. They visited the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball arena and had a Q&A session with Illinois alumni. From there they went to the Cleveland Guardian baseball stadium. They then ended the day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“It’s a pretty intense time together,” Raycraft said. “So it’s important to set ground rules about who we are, what we’re trying to achieve and how we’re going to interact. Because we are very busy when we are there.”
In the eight-week spring course, Raycraft focuses on connecting with students and giving them information about where they will be going.
Zane Bando, a recent graduate, said that most of the classes began during the trip.
“I really don’t feel like the class really starts until you get to the first stop,” Bando said.
In class, students also focused on presenting the trip online, learning how to use hashtags and other social media initiatives.
In New York, the class visited Niagara Falls, Lake Placid, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Saratoga Racecourse, and Woodstock. For many, this was the first time they saw these places.
Madeleine Larson, an AHS sophomore, said Niagara Falls helped the group prepare for what was to come.
“I especially liked Niagara Falls; we made a Cave of the Winds that goes under a waterfall and gets wet through,” Larson said. “I think it blew the band-aid for everyone.”
At the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the group interacted with professional baseball players such as Ozzy Smith, Fergie Jenkins, Lee Smith, and Ted Simmons.
Afterwards, the group visited Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey to review Ivy League athletics and compare it to Big Ten athletic programs.
En route south, the group stopped in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to see historic tourist sites such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. They then visited Gettysburg National Park and the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“(It’s) one of the most solemn places in the United States,” Raycraft said. “It was an important experience just to go there to see and understand the historical implications of all this experience.”
Their next stop was Pro…