“Performing has opened many doors to me and has allowed me to discover my greatest passion which is traveling. My parents always felt it was important to spend our money on memories instead of material things.” Hutchinson is now a student at BYU-Idaho where she is studying to become a foreign ambassador. It was on these travels she discovered her passion and desire to continue to travel the world.
Children with Talent Team raise their own money to pay for their trips. They do fundraisers like selling fireworks, babysitting and selling candy. Through this experience, children learn to work and save their money for their future tours.
The China trip has been four years in the planning stage. This allows children to learn about the culture they will be visiting, save their money, and meet weekly to learn the program they will be performing abroad. Colleen Hutchinson, a national board member, says, “Children gain self-esteem when they have an experience they succeed at.” This program has daily opportunities for children to experience success.
Not only do children benefit, but also the families traveling abroad with the performer learn and experience new and different cultures. If children are under 13, an adult must accompany them. Kurt Moskowitz is a father living in New Hampshire while his daughter lives in Arizona. He saw this experience as an opportunity to have quality time with his daughter, whose time together is limited. “The time I spent with Taylor is priceless. Meeting the other children and getting to know them is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
James, a father of three young children, brought his two oldest, Caitlyn — one of the performers — and Tyler, 7, who is along for the ride. James said, “It has been great to spend quality time with my children. Sometime they drive me crazy, but what a great experience we have all had creating memories that will last forever.
The tour left the US on June 9 and flew to Hong Kong. This was their first introduction to Chinese people and Chinese food. At lunch they were greeted by duck heads hanging from the window of the restaurant. For many, chopsticks were a new concept. A big bowl of noodles became a challenge for Tyler, just 7, who decided that best was to just get the noodle to his mouth and go from there.
Their performance in Hong Kong was rained, out so the performing troupe went to Disneyland to see how the Asian enjoy a wonderful piece of America. Here they felt right at home and knew that Disney got it right after all.
Their next stop was Beijing and the Great Wall. Here they stepped on their little stage and captured the hearts of the Chinese with their program of Broadway hits. Some of the selections included songs from “Lion King,” “Hairspray,” and “Grease.”