Carol Beth Scott is the founder of 3D Travel Company and creator of the Ultimate Field Trip (UFT—a week at Walt Disney World in Florida designed for homeschoolers to learn while they play). She is also my partner in fun here at the Magical Mouse Schoolhouse as my sponsor, creative inspiration, and provider of many takeaways.
I first met Carol Beth in 2006 when she booked my family’s trip to UFT. Her company was still in its infancy, and UFT was only in its second year. Carol Beth, with the blessing of her husband, firefighter David Scott, included a letter to all UFT attendees that year. It was a four-page, typewritten, single-spaced testimony of why they do what they do. You see, in 2003, Carol Beth and David’s young sons were sexually assaulted by a teenage boy from their church. After living a nightmare, they traveled to Walt Disney World and their family began to heal. They determined to help other families experience life’s simple joys and established 3D Travel to help folks get to “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
MMS: You founded a travel agency specializing in Disney vacations after your family visited Walt Disney World. Can you tell us about the events that led to your family’s trip?
CBS: One day while David was at the fire station, I happened upon our boys “acting out” something that they should never, could never know existed. I never would have found out about it if Noah had not recently regressed from underwear to pull-ups to finally, diapers. He couldn’t get them back on without help, so I found out. Thank God I found out. Noah was three and Joshua had just celebrated his fifth birthday.
MMS: Other than seeing them acting out, were there any other signs that something had happened to them?
CBS: Joshua was in his second season of soccer and his grandma and I noticed how he just didn’t seem the same out there. He’d stop running and just look down or be distracted in some way. Now, for Noah, distraction is a way of life, but for Joshua it most certainly is not. The only other sign of a problem was Joshua wanting to buy a camouflage shirt. There was a young man in the youth group we led at our church who always wore a camouflage jacket. Joshua wanted to be like him, so we bought him the shirt. I thought it was nice Joshua liked him. Joshua, at four, was much more socially adept than that boy was at eighteen. I’ve always been drawn to the underdog, and I thought Joshua was following in my footsteps. No. He was being groomed by a pedophile.
MMS: So what did you do?
CBS: I attempted to find out what could possibly have prompted our boys to do what they had done. As is typical for children who have been threatened, I got absolutely nowhere. After I put them down for bed, I raced to my computer and typed in every phrase I could think of, desperate for answers.
I also reported their behavior to Child Protective Services (CPS), because I needed help in an arena in which I had no experience. I needed someone to guide me in what to do for my boys. I took them to the CPS office myself and turned them over one at a time to be questioned. The investigator also got nowhere.
We then took the boys to a Christian play therapist. He spoke to Noah first. Noah had begun to tell us someone had done this to him, but he was three, so we couldn’t get too far. Joshua was still denying anything had happened. The offender had threatened to throw Joshua in a fire and kill his whole family if he told. By the end of Joshua’s session, even though Joshua was still denying anything had happened, both the therapist and I knew it had. When we left, buckled into his little car seat in our van, my five-year-old told me the first piece of his story. It took him months to get it all out.
MMS: Can you tell us what your family has experienced since that time?
CBS: Joshua has Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and both he and Noah still have rough times, but they are doing remarkably well. After they began therapy, they both quickly became disgusted with their acting out. We had to leave our house, because one of the assaults occurred in our home. It wouldn’t sell, though, because we had renovated it and it was worth more than the others in the neighborhood. We ended up declaring bankruptcy and I gave up my car. We also left our church, because a second incident had happened there. David’s parents believed Joshua, but they just couldn’t deal with it. We haven’t seen them in seven years, or any of David’s family. Also, roughly half of our dearest friends have stopped calling. I’m told that’s typical, but it’s still hard to believe sometimes.
So, we lost our house, my car, church family, financial stability, ½ of our family, and ½ of our friends, along with our children’s innocence. At this same time, we battled my mother’s cancer, the normal ordeals of life, and the frustrating legal battle.
MMS: What got you through?
CBS: David’s faith is insurmountable. Most of us only meet a few people who carry that level of faith around like a shield and a comfort helping them to be capable of tackling every obstacle. Me…not so much. I love the Lord, but I was as mad as I’ve ever been, and most of it was directed at Him. I could say I almost lost my faith, but that’s not really true. I never stopped believing God was there. I just didn’t see how it was possible He loved me and my children, and yet he still allowed this to happen to us.
David’s faith was still steadfastly leading our family. Amazingly, he didn’t judge me as I was going through this. He cried with me. He cried for me. I was too mad to pray with him, but he sure prayed for me. I honestly did not know how I was going to get past this. Some days I wished we could all just leave this earth together. I was sick of it.
MMS: That’s a difficult position to be in.
CBS: We had told Joshua he was a hero from the beginning. We knew he had saved other boys. Many parents of little bitty guys in our church had seen physical symptoms of an attack, but their boys were too little or non-verbal. The predator’s family—a homeschool family, then a Christian school family—was very involved in the church. But until an older boy came forward, all the legal rigmarole we went through seemed futile.
I began to be truly thankful for our children’s healing. I was able to rejoice for the first time. I began to heal. I know I’ll never see the whole picture, but I was able to see that I am blessed. I am so blessed I just can’t hold it all in. My cup runs over. It was a spiritual healing.
MMS: So at what point did you visit Disney World?
CBS: A year-and-a-half after the assault took place, David and I took our children and my parents to Walt Disney World. We wanted to go someplace where our children could regain their innocence, where they could experience a piece of “normal” childhood, and where we could all forget about life’s harsh realities, if just for a little while.
The trip brought restoration. And a platform.
MMS: What do you mean by that?
CBS: As we endured this tribulation, David and I knew we had to do something to prevent sexual assaults from happening to other children. We also knew those who’d already been through it were in desperate need of encouragement and support. It’s a sad fact that victims are further victimized when they take a stand against an offender. People flock to the defense of the attacker and shame the victim. The innocent children, my children and others who were abused, did absolutely nothing wrong, yet as I’ve seen over and over again in these situations, the accuser is discredited and shunned. When we went through this, the defense attorneys attacked me by interviewing everyone who knew me—going back to high school friends—to try to make me the bad guy. So David and I determined to minister to victim families, and Disney provided the way.
It seems strange sometimes, to use a secular and sometimes controversial company for funding our ministry efforts, but it seemed logical considering how it blessed our family in September of 2004, marking the transition we made away from pain and anger and into healing.
3D Travel is now an Earmarked Agency and continues to grow. From humble beginnings booking eighteen travelers for the inaugural Ultimate Field Trip in 2005, the company reached half a million in sales in 2009, topping seven hundred UFT attendees in 2008. They’ve already booked $400,000 in Disney sales in the first quarter of this year and recently employed several new hires!
Since founding 3D Travel Company, which stands for Discount Disney Destinations, and starting UFT, the Scotts have blessed their community in countless ways. In 2005-2006, they donated half of their income from UFT and other bookings to BACA, Bikers Against Child Abuse. That’s half of their income, not half of the profits! In 2006, that money funded BACA for an entire year. The Scott family established a non-profit organization, The Ugly Bug Club, in 2007, enabling them to benefit a larger number of recipients, including individual families in crisis. In 2009, they developed a pilot program for churches to train facilitators to aid victims. Over the years, they have assembled program kits, spoken publicly, and supported victims and their families throughout court trials.
Administrative costs overburdened the non-profit in 2009, and it was dissolved. However, the Scotts have not stopped giving! Beginning this year, they are partnering with Give Kids the World.A portion of their profits will be donated, and anyone who books a Disney vacation through their agency will have the opportunity to donate as well. But that’s not all! During the Earmarked Convention this year, David, Carol Beth, and their team will give a day of their time to Give Kids the World on location in Florida. Then, starting with UFT 2011, David and other UFT participants will dedicate the day before UFT begins each year to volunteering with the program.
The Scotts continue to advocate for victims of child sexual predators and provide personal encouragement to families who’ve experienced an offense. You may contact Carol Beth directly if you, your children, or someone you know has experienced child sexual assault and would like direction, support, or a shoulder to lean on. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Carol Beth. Thank you and David for all you do to help those who’ve been victimized by sexual predators. Thank you for reaching out and for giving so generously of yourself and your resources.
Thank a Cast Member.
One thing Carol Beth and her family observed on their first visit to Walt Disney World was the exquisite customer service, the over-and-beyond level of care Cast Members provide, from the street sweepers to the gate keepers to the costumed performers to the security guards. Each plays a key role in making Disney World “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
Take some time to let Cast Members know how they made your visit so special. The Scott children showed Dexter a bit of gratitude, and just look at his smile! Click here to visit the 3D Travel blog where you can access a thank-you template, or have fun creating your own. When you return from a visit to the Park, address it to someone who’s made your trip particularly pleasant. Be sure to write the Cast Member’s name and location within the Park on the mailing label. Park addresses can be found at this website.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Business/Communication SKILL LEVEL: All
About Jodi Whisenhunt
Jodi Whisenhunt has written 1180 posts in this blog.
Jodi Whisenhunt is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who has visited Walt Disney World numerous times and has been homeschooling since 2000. She is the author of MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace. Come, think outside the textbook and stretch the walls of your home classroom with Walt Disney entertainment!
Magical Mouse Schoolhouse reveals the educational opportunities available from Walt Disney entertainment and encourages you to stretch the boundaries of your home classroom with teachable moments found in Disney movies, Disney theme parks, Disney art, and more!
Jodi Whisenhunt, feature writer and owner of Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, is an award-winning freelance writer and editor. She and her family have visited Walt Disney World numerous times and have been homeschooling since 2000.
MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort is now available in print at at Amazon.com, CreateSpace, and Barnes & Noble. Also on Kindle & Nook.
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