OOps, I just read to the bottom of your note. Why do you think their marketing is "seemingly deceptive?"
Good Morning M.,
My 15 year old will be heading to Australia this summer with People to People and this is her second trip with the organization. The first was when she was just 11 when they went to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Oh, and in Australia this year she will stay with a local family for a couple of days. All families/homes go through a thorough screening but the kids are also given code words they can tell the leaders if they feel uncomfortable about anything.
I can not say enough about the experience AND the organization. Have you been to the website and/or read the history of the organization? I guess when she was first invited to go I too had reservations and tried to find something wrong but couldn't. I was further put to ease after meeting Mary Eisenhower herself and understood how important it is to her to keep her grandfather's dream alive AS WELL AS the safety of the thousands of kids who travel under their name every year.
And as a 16 year old your granddaughter will be able to get high school and/or college credit for her time. It is not just a sight-seeing trip. They are involved in and learn about the cultures and usually participate in some sort of service to help the community they visit.
Our daughter is also working on her Congressional Medal which involves a boat-load of hours and even an excursion of some sort. People to People trips are one of the few organizations that fill all requirements for the excursion/exploration part of getting the medal.
I would be happy to talk to you privately and on the phone to tell you in more detail about our experience. I think you are indeed a loving grandma to have reservations, but it will be a safe - wonderful experience!