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Dick Perl: ‘Focused on Friendship’

Fast Facts about Dick Perl

Dick Perl plans trips for Young at Heart, a group travel program for the First Baptist Church in Covington, Louisiana. The program is geared toward church members 60 or above, though it won’t turn away younger members who wish to join. The program has run for more than 15 years and has close to 400 members.

Favorite Bible Verse: John 3:16 NIV

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Hometown: Perl grew up in New York City.

Favorite Destination: A trip that stands out for Perl is a visit to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. The massive size of the ark especially impressed him. Perl said the site caused him to reflect on the difficulties involved in making the ark using the tools that were available at the time of Noah.

Hobbies: Perl enjoys fishing and spending time with his grandkids. He also relishes his semiretirement, which allows him the time to lead the Young at Heart program.

‘Focused on Friendship’

Dick Perl believes faith and fun make a fruitful combination. When choosing tours for his church’s group travel program, Young at Heart, Perl tries to incorporate both into his Christian-based tours for a spiritually meaningful and entertaining experience.

“Our trips are focused on friendship, love and comradery,” said Perl. “We pray at meals and often discuss what moving experiences we’ve had or what we’ve learned, on the bus or in the evenings over dinner. We also put a priority on keeping the trips entertaining.”

Young at Heart offers faith-based trips for members of the First Baptist Church in Covington, Louisiana, who are 60 and older.

Each year, Perl crafts several day trips and overnight trips and a couple of five- to seven-night trips. This ensures that even those people who don’t want to leave the state can find a tour that fits their needs. Over the past few years, the group has explored Washington, D.C.; Branson, Missouri; the Ark Encounter in Kentucky; and Niagara Falls, New York.

“Next spring, we’re headed to Amish country in Ohio,” said Perl. “That’s one of my favorite places because I really admire how the Amish live. I love the simplicity.”

Perl only recently took over the thriving faith-based travel program, though he previously had trip planning experience during his time crafting business incentive trips.

“I’d plan incentive trips to Hawaii, Mexico and similar destinations for salespeople,” said Perl. “We would have an awards banquet at the location. A lot of those trips would include plenty of free time to sightsee. For Young at Heart, the entire trip is coordinated from when they leave to the time they get back.”

Perl promotes the tours during Young at Heart’s monthly meetings. About 150 people attend these events, which always include entertainment and lunch alongside the travel information. The lively entertainment acts help draw these large crowds. For example, one upcoming month’s meeting features a visit from a performance group all the way from Branson, Missouri.

After an upbeat, toe-tapping travel club meeting, it’s no wonder so many sign up for more merriment with Young at Heart’s group tours.

Travel Tips

1. Don’t plan travel alone. Find help.

 2. Get to know the people who are going on your trips to sense what is going to sell and what’s not. Make sure you have an itinerary that is going to excite them.

3. Try to keep the trips as reasonably priced as possible. We don’t do this as a moneymaker.