Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Without chaperone, team forced to sit out meet


The Haines High School cross-country team scrapped its trek to Ketchikan last month due to lack of a male chaperone to accompany the squad.

The Glacier Bears would have left Haines on a Thursday morning and returned on a Monday evening for the Saturday, Sept. 19, meet that coincided with the area moose hunt and end of the summer tourism season.

“It’s just really poor timing,” said assistant coach Alixanne Goodman.

Tiana Taylor, school activities director, said at least two chaperones are needed for away meets in case a student becomes ill or injured and must receive medical attention off-site.

“Sleeping as a group on the ferry or in the school, it’s always best practice to have a chaperone of each gender,” she said.

The school district covers travel and per diem costs for chaperones, Taylor said.

“Chaperones must be vetted through the school district; it’s not just open to anyone who volunteers,” she said. “The chaperones must also know and follow all the rules. They are there to monitor the kids, not just get a free ticket to the event.”

Coach Tara Bicknell said finding the necessary chaperones has been “down to the wire” several times in the past.

It can be difficult for chaperones to take the necessary days off work, she said, but the students make the responsibility rewarding.

“They are so much fun to travel with,” Bicknell said. “They do their homework and have been traveling together since they were so young. They know the routine.”

School employee Gary Stigen traveled with the team to its Wrangell meet in mid-September. His junior son, Jacob Stigen, was a first-year cross-country runner this season.

Bicknell noted that in Southeast, parents have few opportunities to watch their children compete, so chaperoning provides an extra benefit. “You get to see a parent watch their kid run, and you don’t get to do that often.”

Activities director Taylor said if there are residents interested in chaperoning, they should meet with her in person.


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