That is what it was like for me while leading a program called Taglit-Birthright Israel in mid-July. As displayed on their website, "The vision of Taglit-Birthright Israel is to strengthen Jewish identity, Jewish communities and solidarity with Israel by providing a [free] 10-day trip to Israel for young Jewish people." Taglit is Hebrew for "discovery" and I can tell you firsthand that these young adults truly did discover quite a bit about their heritage, identify, and the country that can connect it all together.
As a staff member, my role was not that different from a teacher leading a field trip: make sure the participants are safe; make sure the program is interesting; make sure everyone gets what they need in order to benefit the most from this trip. These adults were bused around the State of Israel in order to do walking tours, biking tours, hiking tours, museum tours, and more. At night we often discussed what we experienced during the day and tried to promote the idea that they should talk about what they were experiencing.
At first, the fact that they had self-selected to be a part of this trip was a benefit. Adults in their mid-20s are perfectly capable of getting places on time; quieting each other down; and asking incredibly insightful questions. But about halfway through the trip things digressed and they were sometimes late, not always awake enough to focus, and were difficult to bring around so much so that we sometimes lost a few on a hike and had to search for them.
What I find most fascinating about this experience was that I, too, began digressing into the mode of "counselor" from summer camp. I began treating them as if they were teenagers when, instead, they were 24 or 25 years old (sometimes even 26). My perception of what they needed (constant reminders of timing, to be herded place to place) made them act exactly as I feared they would.
This made me think quite a bit about my expectations in my classroom for next year. Granted, I don't think the "no excuses" attitude of many schools nowadays is the reason for their success, but I want to make sure that I don't belittle the expectations all the way down. It is important that my students (or participants on trips) know what I want them to do and strive to reach the place where they can do it. I will provide as much help along the way that I can but I should not have to coddle anyone - that only leads to them feeling they constantly need to ask me for things when I want them to ask each other first.
I hope that this 10 dray trip provided plenty of time for my participants to question and that they keep in touch with some answers that they find.