Class of 2017
in Ste. Genevieve, MO
The Patched Overalls Experience From the Parents of Thomas Englemann: Allen and Dana
How was the process for you as parents?
Scary at first. But I felt better after vetting the Sustainable Summer Program and researching the social climate of Costa Rica. The process of applying for the scholarship was very straight forward. Thomas took care of both the application and the presentation.
What advice would you give other parents who are considering letting their kid go through the process.
Find a credible study-abroad program to work with. Sustainable Summer was awesome. Also, Tyson and Carrie are extremely willing to help with anything - use them.
What sort of help did you have to give your student? Or just offer in general? Advice going through the process?
We helped Thomas get his passport and shots that are necessary for going to Central America. We communicated with his doctor and made arrangements for medications that would make travel and digestion easier. We made transportation arrangements. Our advice is to start early. There were extra passport forms to fill out since he was a minor.
What part of Patched Overalls did y’all like? Dislike? What sort of benefits did y’all see in allowing your son/daughter to go through the process?
We appreciate the constant support and recommendations. We also appreciate Tyson’s frequent email updates. Tyson’s travel experiences are very valuable. A major benefit of the process was that it forced Thomas to create and follow through on plans.
What was the most exciting thing to see?
Besides his excitement about the trip, it was his new found independence and self-confidence. He would like us to completely sever the leash. We’ll extend it, but we won’t cut it yet.
What changes did you see in your child while going through the process if any? What did they learn? Did they learn anything about themselves and/or planning an adventure?
The main change is the boost of self-confidence that Thomas gained. It has increased his maturity and is helping to build his independence. He also learned about how other cultures treat women differently. It’s not with disrespect, but they associate differently with people dependent upon their gender. Thomas also came back with a much greater appreciation for conservation and sustainability. In fact, this experience has changed his plans for the future. He now wants to go back to developing countries with the Army Corp of Engineers and help with sustainability projects.
What were the hardest parts of this whole process?
Not being able to communicate with Thomas for three weeks. However, we did receive daily blogs from Sustainable Summer, which kept us informed as to what they were doing. We looked forward to seeing the pictures and were glad that he was smiling. It was also difficult trusting his welfare to strangers.
Would you do it again?
Definitely!! We are already helping our daughter Abbey make plans for her application to the program next year.
Any suggestions for us at Patched Overalls to better serve the students and parents?
Could Carrie host application and presentation seminars during Dragon Fire periods for sophomores during the second semester and juniors during the first semester? Use Thomas to recruit Sophomore’s for next year by having him talk with advisories during the second semester.