July 12, 2018
As we sit here from behind security waiting for your kiddos flight to take off, we are filled with such pride and gratitude. We have had such a wonderful two weeks with this group, and just wish we could have two more with them!
Since we last touched base, we have been canyoning away in the town of Claut. Ella was the first to jump in on our canyoning experience, leading the others in one of our best days yet. Kit and Susan kept smiles on all of our faces, jumping in the water constantly and taking crazy awesome videos on the Moondance GoPro. When we got back from Canyoning, Maura jumped on French braiding all of the girls’ hair… what a treat! Thomas and Reece led us in Moonup this night, and did a wonderful job in bringing the group together for one of our last nights. They asked everyone what their biggest insecurity was, but impressed us both with asking the group to follow this up by saying their favorite thing about the person to their left. It was such an empowering Moonup for us leaders to be a apart of, and we sure are proud of each of your kids for the support and vulnerability they put forth. The following day we had our town day in Venice! Jack and Grande were our Leaders of the Day, and did an excellent job at helping us lead the group through the streets of Venice and keeping the energies high! We had such a fun last night with the kids, and will always remember this time with them. We even got to catch the tail end of the World Cup semi-finals to see Croatia win against England… what an experience!
Most of all, we would like to express our deepest thanks for sharing your kids with us these last two weeks. They are such a dynamic and enthusiastic group of kiddos, and we so look forward to keeping in touch with them and hearing about all of their future endeavors.
Ciao for now!
Mary Hill and Reece
July 9, 2018
Ciao from the town of Claut! We have just gotten off the mountain from our very last day of trekking wooohoo! We hiked a total of 60 miles this trip, with many strenuous hikes/climbs throughout it all. Over the last few days, we have been busy climbing away in the notorious Cinque Torri. We have done Via Ferrata, single pitch and multi-pitch climbs, and your kiddos absolutely killed them all. Kit and Jack excelled at the Via Ferrata, traversing across snow and steep uphill climbs. Our outfitter made a point to let us know how impressed he was with both of their climbing skills. Maura and Reece raced each other up a challenging single pitch climb, with the whole group screaming up words of encouragement from below… talk about a WOW moment! Thomas, Grande and Ella were the first in the group to tackle the multi-pitch climb, and did so with such skill and determination. This multi-pitch climb was comprised of clipping into pitches as each student climbed higher and higher up the rock while connected to others in the group, and then repelling down the opposite side of the rock. Susan also took on this challenge, conquering her initial fear of the multi-pitch type of climbing. She not only completed the climb but also fearlessly led Mary Hill up along the way! Today we trekked from our last rifugio to the town of Cortina where we began our trek. It was incredible to see the full circle of trekking the entire group accomplished along the way. We are so impressed with the perseverance, maturity and encouragement each of your kids have shown throughout our trip thus far. We are sad the trip is coming to an end, but are absolutely stoked for the canyoning tomorrow and our town day in Venice to follow! Ciao for now!
Mary Hill and Reece
July 6, 2018
Ciao from the Dolomites! We hope this update finds you all well. What a wonderful last few days we have had since we last touched base. We just arrived at our rifugio for the climbing section of our trip after finishing the majority of our trekking section touching close to a whopping 50 miles woohoo! The trekking we have tackled over the last few days has been very challenging with long uphill climbs and steep downhill descents, and your students have absolutely conquered it with incredible grace and strength. Yesterday’s trek was one of the most challenging hikes this trip has to offer, with over 4.5 hours of the hike being uphill. Furthermore, your kids woke up at 5:00am to begin this difficult trek to beat the afternoon rainstorm that came in — We were both so impressed and proud of their enthusiasm and adaptability at such an early hour. Kit and Maura were our Leaders of the Day for this trek and did a wonderful job encouraging the others during the difficult parts and keeping the energy high. The next day Ella was one of our Leaders of the Day and led us on a beautiful day hike to a pass where we were able to see Austria! In addition to our trekking, we have been having a blast with a range of other awesome activities. Thomas and Reece treated us to some guitar and song at one of our rifugios, and it was definitely the general consensus that their tunes were the best any of us have ever heard – particularly Riptide by Vance Joy! We also got to do a polar plunge in one of the lakes nearby our rifugio, and Susan and Grande were the first to jump in — both showing great leadership skills for the rest of the group in getting them to jump in too. Today we learned all about Italy’s role in the First World War as we descended through the soldiers tunnels. Jack led us through these tunnels and also the traverses that followed once we exited them! In addition to the great activities, we have had some absolutely amazing food…from delicious pastas, to filling meat dishes and tasty desserts, we have sure been treated well after our hard day’s work. We feel so grateful to be leading such an enthusiastic and dynamic group of kids, and are thrilled for what’s to come in the second half of our trip. Ciao for now!
Reece and Mary Hill
P.S. Here are some shoutouts from your kiddos below:
Thomas: Hi Mom and Dad! I’m having a blast – please bring me Chic-Fil-A when you pick me up 🙂
Grande: Having the sickest time – my leaders are seriously so awesome! Miss y’all.
Jack: Hi Mom and Dad, I’m having the best time and have made some amazing friends. P.S. Please bring me 45 Chic-Fil-A nuggets
Reece: Hey Momatron, Popsicleand Remy! Everybody here is super dope, and how’s Chocolate? Miss y’all!
Kit: Hey Mom and Dad! Having the most amazing time and making the most amazing friends. Love you guys! <3 P.S. I LOVE my leaders.
Susan: Hey Mom and Dad (and friends!). Italy is so pretty. Miss you, love you. P.S. my leader knows the Spears!
Ella: Hi Mom, Dad, Alex and Honey! The views are amazing and so is the food. I love it here and see you soon!
Maura: Hey Mom, Dad and Dublin! I’m having an amazing time and the leaders are awesome. I love y’all and see you soon.
July 2, 2018
We hope this update finds you well. We have had a terrific start to our trip, and are over the moon to have your kids with us. We welcomed your kids to music outside customs on Saturday morning and hopped on a bus to the stunning town of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Once we arrived in Cortina, we went straight to the best pizza spot in town where Thomas and Reece and helped order a round of hearty and delicious pizzas for everyone! We finished the day with a fabulous Moonup under the stunning Dolomite Mountains where Grande and Maura were named our first Leaders of the Day for our trip. They did a wonderful job at leading our Via Ferrata excursion and hike that totaled up to 15.9 miles on foot…. WOW! We were so impressed. Ella was also an amazing photographer throughout our hike and climb, getting excellent shots of the group and all the beauty surrounding us! Hayes joined us for dinner as well, and Susan was an excellent conversationalist in getting everyone included and talking over a delicious meal. Our Leaders of the Day today, Kit and Jack, have done an excellent job at kickstarting our trekking section of the trip. We hiked a total of 10 miles today, with much of it being uphill. Their encouragement and strength were evident and contagious throughout the group, setting a wonderful tone for what’s to come on our trip moving forward! We just arrived at our Rifugio for a filling supper and good nights rest. We are so stoked for our adventures ahead and can’t wait to keep you all updated along the way! Arrivederci!
Mary Hill & Reece
June 30, 2018
Hello Dolomites Families!
Your students landed safely in Venice early this morning. We have been in touch with the group leaders, and the trip is off to a great start! We can’t wait to hear more about their adventures.