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Local company closes before honouring students' trip


TRURO - Elementary students in Alberta who were slighted by a local company got to enjoy a trip of a lifetime anyway.

Brooks Robinson, 11, was one of about 70 students from Alberta to travel to Ottawa, Montreal and Laval on a trip that included a space camp. The families were originally to go through Experiential Education based out of East Mountain, however, the business closed a month before the students were supposed to leave. Through corporate donations and a travel company stepping to the plate, all the students were able to go.

Shelley Robinson, a mother of three in St. Albert, Alta., said her son, Brooks, and about 70 other students from four schools still enjoyed a trip to Ottawa, Montreal and Laval, even after Experiential Education in East Mountain closed up shop without a word and left them hanging.

"We've heard nothing from Experiential Education. Nothing," said Robinson. "But because of some community fundraising, the kids got to go."

It was last May that Brooks, a Grade 6 student, brought home information on a trip through Experiential Education that would include a NASA approved space camp in Laval.

"My son never really expressed an interest in going to space camp, but he loves science and travelling, so when he told us about it, we thought we'd go listen to the information and check it out," said Robinson. "We thought it would be an amazing opportunity and my husband and I decided we would do our best to get him there."

More than 70 students in Grades five and six, as well as about 20 chaperones, had signed up for the trip, which occurred at the end of April.

"We signed our son up in June and told him it would have been his birthday present, but also told him he would have to save his own spending money," said Robinson.

In total, the travel costs were more than $2,300, which Robinson said she and her husband paid by postdated cheques.

A month before the scheduled departure date, schools informed the families that the company had shut its doors.

"We didn't have any contact information other than where we were sending the cheques in," said Robinson. "I was floored, first of all. I thought it was a joke. I immediately went to my son and he was absolutely crushed."

She said when she told her son, Brooks, he tensed up and was angry.

"His first response was to sue them," she said. "He was so upset. Everybody was just in shock."

Since then, Robinson said families have had no contact with Experiential Education, nor have they gotten an update from the RCMP, which had been investigating complaints.

"But all the kids did get to go," she said. "A group of parents got together and set up a committee to get them there. Through a lot of corporate donations and a travel company in Quebec, they all got to go. My son absolutely loved it."

A search for Experiential Education on the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies website lists Gail Goodwin of 344 Mountain Lee Rd. as both a partner and recognized agent for Experiential Education Consulting Service. The information lists it as in business since March 1992, however, it was dissolved in May of 1998.

Goodwin is also listed as a recognized agent on the website for Experiential Tours, which also has the same civic address as Experiential Education.

Experiential Tours, according to the website, was registered in January 2003, with the last activity being an annual renewal in January of this year.

Also with the same address is Experiential Education Limited, with Goodwin listed as director, president and recognized agent. It was incorporated in March 1986, however, was "revoked on request" on April 15, 2014.

Its related registrations list both Experiential Tours and Experiential Education Consulting Service, as well as Canadian Earth Shuttle.

A phone number for Experiential Education Limited through the Yellow Pages is no longer in service.

 

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