Hello Richard Branson

A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.  ~Richard Branson

Scavenger Hunt in Annapolis MD Thrill of the Hunt 2014 Aunt Heather Piper

Posing proudly, with a few graduating students while conducting a scavenger hunt in Annapolis, MD 10/4/14

A while back I read this article on Richard Branson, well, over the years I’ve read several articles on this mega entrepreneur, but this particular interview sparked my interest.  Why?  He stated that he actually tracks his own name online.  I’m sure a lot of top executives, entrepreneurs and every day people do the same, I know I do.

So why did this strike my fancy?  Well to start with, he goes through the action of uncovering his mentions himself, not an assistant or employee.  I’ve never heard anyone of his stature admit to basically Googling himself.   Perhaps I should test the waters?  I bet Donald Trump has eyes online, although with all the presidential campaigning chatter, I’m sure this post will only get lost in the mix.

So big deal if Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson Googles his own name?  He justified his actions by saying he’ll read the articles.  So?  If your going to Google yourself, one would think you’d actually read the information, right?  Yes, but he’ll sometimes reach out to those who mentioned him.  Light bulb!  (pun totally intended since my title at Thrill of the Hunt is The Light Bulb)   It’s been a while since I read the article, but that’s what I remembered.  As an entrepreneur, I look for any opportunity to help me in my journey.

In trying to find that exact article on Richard Branson, which I couldn’t, I found an even better one. 65 things you’ve always wanted to know about Richard Branson.  Okay, now some fun facts.  We both wake up at 5:30 am (in my case sometimes earlier), we both like to play chess (although I suck), and we both carry notebooks (mines on my iPhone).

His favorite social media tool and the best way to communicate with him is through Twitter @richardbranson.  I’ll be sending out a Tweet today.

Seton Hill University Scavenger Hunt Alumni Weekend 2015 Thrill of the Hunt Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Mary Cox at the Seton Hill University Alumni Weekend Scavenger Hunt. 6/6/15

When asked how Richard Branson would describe himself in three words, he answered, adventurous, curious and fun-loving.  Yep, that’s me!  In fact, I started Thrill of the Hunt with all three in mind, seriously!  I’m thinking we’re long lost relatives.  After all, my maternal grandmother came from England!  Perhaps Ancestry can clear up the mystery?

What do I find so intriguing about Richard Branson?  It’s not stated anywhere, but I bet he has a great sense of humor.  I mean is autobiography is Losing my Virginity!  I think he’d be a hoot to meet.

So what got me on this kick all of a sudden to test what I call the Richard Branson theory?  It began at 5:30 am, when I started my day scanning the morning news online.

On a side note, admittedly, I love reading fun facts and behind the scenes type of articles over serious news.  I do follow the news and try to stay current, but I simply prefer to keep my day bright and upbeat, especially in the early morning.  Let’s face it, the news doesn’t exactly fit that bill.  Plus, for some odd reason, the media will continuously repeat the horrible and the worst of the worst, day in and day out.  If I missed something news worthy, or I skimmed it, I can always pick up where I left off.  The feel good stories, and fun facts are short run.   I have to gobble them up before they disappear, and are overtaken by a bad day, somewhere.

Dog Scavenger Hunt Winchester VA Thrill of the Hunt Aunt Heather Piper 5-30--2015

Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in Winchester, VA 5/30/15

Anyway, this morning I read an article on the facts behind Shark Tank.  Yes, fun facts always catch my eye.  One might say, I’m a fun fact addict!  I’m not going to rehash the Entrepreneur article, but it stated “More than 50% of the Tank’s TV handshake deals do not close.”  Wow.  What really flabbergasted me was “One out of every four entrepreneurs appearing on ‘Shark Tank’ was invited to apply.”  A quarter of the pitches were actually asked to be on the show?  I didn’t see that one coming.

Being a stinker, I instantly thought Shark Tank looked for some sort of drama to add to the ratings.  However, as I continued reading, they sited an example and I began to dig deeper.

It’s true, to be in business, you need to be seen.  You can’t sell goods or services, while being a secret.  This is where I’m falling short with Thrill of the Hunt.  Actually, that’s half true.  Over the years, I’ve received emails and calls from interested parties inquiring about scavenger hunts, and some wanted to interview me.  How did they find me?  Online.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find them first, it’s the passive way to find business and recognition.  I would prefer to be proactive.

Is there a point to my ramblings?  You bet there is!  I would like to meet Richard Branson and sit down and discuss my business plan.  All I’m asking for is his advice, and maybe the use of his fan base for advertising wouldn’t hurt either.  (joking, unless he will)  I’ve learned that knowledge, networking and guts is priceless in business.  Plus, I’d like to see if the article was true.   

I would also like to tell Mr. Branson about my other ideas for business ventures.  I have a ton!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Random Fun Facts,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Thanks Dancing Dog Natural Market!

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.  ~Cynthia Ozick

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A happy participant from the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in Winchester, VA – Sponsored by Dancing Dog Natural Market 5/30/15

As far as I’m aware, Thrill of the Hunt is the originator of the dog scavenger hunt, (Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt and the Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt, spring and Halloween themed respectively).  They’re certainly very popular among our Thrill Seekers and their four-legged pals.  To be honest, I enjoy administering to these particular scavenger hunts, as much as the participants enjoy walking around with their favorite sidekick, figuring out clues, completing online challenges, and collecting dog treats and toys, while hanging out with others of like interest.  They’re a lot of fun!

This past Saturday, May 30th, Thrill of the Hunt held another such event, the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in Winchester, Virginia.  Why did we choose Winchester to expand our most recent dog scavenger hunt?  It’s all thanks to Dancing Dog Natural Market! (Check out their website: dancingdognatural.com and follow them on Facebook: facebook.com/DancingDogNaturalMarket)

Last year, Adam and Leann Pask, owners of the Dancing Dog Natural Market reached out to Thrill of the Hunt suggesting we hold a dog scavenger hunt in dog friendly Winchester, Virginia.  Great idea!  After checking out the area, and speaking with Adam, we both agreed Old Town Winchester would be a perfect location for a dog scavenger hunt.

Please note, the City of Winchester was very friendly and supportive when presenting this idea.

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Checking out the goodie bag from the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in Winchester, VA sponsored by Dancing Dog Natural Market 5/30/15

Now that we’ve decided to hold a dog scavenger hunt in Winchester, Virginia, some logistics needed to be outlined.

When is the best time to hold our event?  Recently, the Dancing Dog Natural Market celebrated their store opening anniversary, and so it was chosen to host the event in the spring, closest to their anniversary date. Perfect!

Eventually, after much research, planning and promoting, the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt became a reality.  Dancing Dog Natural Market was our official sponsor of the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in Winchester, Virginia.

With Adam’s influence and suggestion, Kresha Hornby, publisher at Valley Homes & Style Magazine ran a double page article on the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt and Dancing Dog Natural Market, in the Valley Events section of the April issue.  That was very exciting!

In addition to the local vendors, Weruva was present to pass out samples of canned cat and dog food, and Carol from Pawtivity was on hand to socialize with the dogs and owners.

Pawtivity is a new site dedicated to staying active and involved with your dog, your local community, and the dog community in general.  They’ll be launching their website soon, so please look for it (Website: pawtivity.com).  In the meantime, please check out their Facebook page:  facebook.com/pawtivity.  Thrill of the Hunt will be partnering with Pawtivity to bring all dogs and their owners exciting adventures!

Dancing Dog Natural Market Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger HuntNow that the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt has came and left, was it a success?  You bet it was!  In addition to being blessed with perfect sunny blue skies, we also had some awesome participants from as far away as Washington D.C.  We couldn’t have asked for a better group of dogs and owners to join us for our first dog scavenger hunt in Winchester, Virginia!

One of the biggest questions I received shortly after the conclusion of the dog scavenger hunt was, “Will Thrill of the Hunt be back?”  Of course we will!  We plan on making this an annual event and Dancing Dog Natural Market is one-hundred percent on board!

Thank you again to everyone who helped make the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt a success!  Thanks to the participants for spending their Saturday morning with us and showing an interest in our dog scavenger hunt.  We loved meeting your four-legged friends and we loved being a part of your family activity.

Thank you to the local businesses who participated as part of the scavenger hunt.  Your enthusiasm and involvement helped the scavenger hunt come together, and made it a true community event.

Thank you to Carol from Pawtivity for helping out and capturing the day in pictures.  It was nice having Weruva present and of course a huge thanks to Dancing Dog Natural Market for everything they’ve done!  Working with you was seamless and refreshing!  We can’t wait for next year!

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Article in the Valley Homes & Style Magazine for the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in Winchester, VA by Thrill of the Hunt, sponsored by Dancing Dog Natural Market

Now time to promote Thrill of the Hunt.  If you’re interested in a unique custom scavenger hunt or just want to discuss the possibilities, email me at Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com, Heather@AuntHeather.com or fill out the form on our Contact Us page for a free quote.  We’ll get back to you within 24-business hours. I promise!

Please note, Thrill of the Hunt will be hosting our annual Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunts in local cities including Latrobe, Pennsylvania; Annapolis, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia; and New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Tickets are on sale now, but are limited.  We’re still accepting local businesses to be added to the actual scavenger hunt to increase foot traffic to these locations.

Next weekend, Thrill of the Hunt will be hosting our Singles Scavenger Hunt in Arlington, Virginia.  Join us for a socializing good time!

Speaking of different areas, we are always open to hearing suggestions on scavenger hunt themes and hometowns to bring our events.  Please Suggest An Event on our website, or email Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com.  I seriously want to hear from you!

Please make sure you’re following the hunt on our social sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, always using #ThrillofHunt

Remember, everyone needs to … Experience the Game!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts,Travels and have No Comments

Paint Nite Fun!

Art, art of any kind, shows that folks are trying.  ~Walter Kirn

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Me & Lisa at Paint Nite in Pittsburgh (Allison Park) at Rocky’s. Great time! Lisa’s painting has so much depth! I love it! 4/10/15

My friend Lisa Zettelmayer, yes the same Lisa from Happy 50th Anniversary, had a great idea to get together for a Paint Nite!  For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of experiencing or even hearing of such an event, they’re seriously so much fun!  I can’t believe that was two weeks ago already!  I’ve been so busy.  With what you may ask?  You’ll find out in the next few blog posts.  In the meantime, I’d like to talk about Paint Nite.

Our event was held at Rocky’s on Route 8 in Allison Park in Pittsburgh.  What exactly is Paint Nite?  Simple, it’s an event whereas you purchase a ticket to paint a specific painting.  Yes, before signing up for the gig, the coordinating artist, along with the painting of choice is listed for review before committing.  These activities are held in multiple locations periodically throughout the year.  Do you have to be an artist?  Absolutely not!  That’s what makes it so much fun.  You get to hang out with friends, kick back a few brews, and listen to Ben, who happened to be our artist extraordinaire two Fridays ago.  His job?  In addition to setting up the brushes, our paints, supplying our aprons, and the canvases, yes they were very nice canvases stretched over wooden frames measuring about nineteen inches wide by sixteen inches height, he also instructed us with the steps to painting our very own masterpiece.  Ben was in essence playing Bob Ross.  He gave step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish the finished piece.  Naturally, when reviewing all the paintings in the room, about forty individuals, everyone maintained the same general theme but with their own artistic touch.  Is this fine art?  No, not in my opinion, just a neat way to introduce the arts and some culture into the lives of everyday people, while getting out and socializing and trying something new.  Personally, I loved it!

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Paint Nite at Rocky’s in Pittsburgh (Allison Park) with Lisa Zettelmayer… she’s smiling in the background. I just started my painting. 4/10/15

Not only has it been a while since I’ve seen Lisa, and it’s nice to catch up, but it was also a pleasure to meet her friends.  However, what I really enjoyed was holding a paintbrush again and being around art.  You know, my art history professor Maureen Vissat, who was an excellent teacher and a wonderful person, once told our class, “Unless you’re involved in the arts, there will be a time when you miss it.”  Paraphrasing her of course, I realize just how true that statement is!  I do miss being around art, and participating in it.  Granted, I do graphic design on the side, but it’s not the same.  I actually long for the interaction between artists and the inspiration floating in the air.  There’s nothing like it.

While we were painting, I had a feeling of déjà vu.  I knew exactly what it was.  It was being among artists, lined up in front of easels, focusing on a single piece, from way back to my days at Seton Hill University, when I had drawing class with Phil Rostek.  Only our subjects consisted of  nudes, or some sort of masterpiece projected on the wall, or a fun center display.  I used a lot, and I mean a lot of charcoal and conte crayon in that class.  Seriously, I looked like I was mining the coal mines every time I left class.  I sported charcoal on my face, cloths, ears, hair, under my nails, neck, you get the idea.

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Paint Nite with Lisa (in the background) at Rocky’s in Pittsburgh (Allison Park). My painting is about halfway done. 4/10/15

What I miss the most is getting my hands dirty in clay and sculpting pottery on the wheel.  Pottery was always a passion of mine, and I do miss that the most.  (After spending a few hours in the clay studio, I wore more of the clay than what was used in all my pieces combined!)

I don’t consider myself an artist, even though I love art, art history, I have a Fine Art Degree, which gave me the opportunity to have a gallery show My Senior Art Exhibit at Seton Hill University – ARTsylum, and admittedly, I do have an artist eye.  Perhaps, if I participated in developing art for the sake of art, then I might be able to classify myself in that manner, maybe.

Prior to the event we met at the Tuscan Inn, a few minutes away, for dinner and wine.  It was truly an enjoyable dinner with a great group of gals, delicious food, and fun conversation.  Maybe too much fun, for we were laughing and bringing the place to life.

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Another progression of my painting from Paint Nite in Pittsburgh, Pa (Allison Park) at Rocky’s. 4/10/15

This trendy paint party, has become a big thing.  I’ve heard of them before, I’ve just never participated.  And you know what?  I’m ready to do it again.  Once I posted my painting to Facebook, a few of my cousins commented that they wanted to join me the next time I go.  That sounds like a plan!  I was told the Latrobe Art Center has them occasionally and the participants are permitted to bring his/her own alcohol, if desired.  I’m in!  Hopefully, I can get a ticket from Groupon, like I did this one.

Now, my next step is to create my Thrill of the Hunt scavenger hunt Events as such a hot topic!  One day, my scavenger  hunts will be the thing to do all over the nation, at least I hope so.  I love adventure!

 

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After a hard night of painting, socializing & having a few brews… this is the result. Paint Nite in Pittsburgh, Pa (Allison Park) 4/10/15

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts,Travels and have No Comments

Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.  ~Rachel Carson

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Coloring Easter eggs with Aunt Nikki, Kyle, Pappy & me. Kyle mostly dictated what Nicole & I were to do… 3/26/05

Happy spring!  The first day of spring (vernal – Latin for spring, equinox – Latin for equal night) is one of only two days when the sun passes directly over the equator and crosses that celestial equator going from south to north.  The spring and fall equinoxes are the only two times of the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west.  Pretty interesting!

Did you also know Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after spring?  I’m no astronomer, but that’s what I’ve read.  Along those fun facts, the egg is a symbol of fertility in spring, and this time of year is also called Lent or Lenten.

With Easter around the corner, everyone is posting their fun Easter ideas and traditions, mostly on Pinterest.  I’ve read about a variety of Easter basket items, and fun activities, and so on and so forth.  These innovative suggestions got me thinking of different ways to enhance our own typical Easter traditions.

Naturally, my mind turns everything into a scavenger hunt!  Yes, incorporating the standard Easter egg hunt with a scavenger hunt!  Why not?  Actually, I wish the idea crossed my mind when Kyle was younger.  Adding another layer to the typical Easter egg hunt would’ve been the perfect challenge for my little man.  He would’ve loved the extra effort on my part, and I most certainly would’ve loved to create something unique for his Easter experience !  What fun!

When I was little, our family tradition was for the “Easter Bunny” a.k.a. mom, to hide our dyed eggs around the house.  The more I think about it, that was risky in the event we missed an egg and it remained hidden, especially with the summer heat fast approaching.  That could’ve been lethal!  I’m pretty sure mom counted the eggs to ensure none were overlooked.  Although, that would’ve made for an interesting story about a rotten Easter egg, but no such luck.

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Me, Nicole & Ryan Easter morning before church. 5/1981

With Kyle, we added another level of excitement by stuffing colorful plastic eggs with quarters and candy, and sometimes Matchbox cars in the larger eggs.  He loved each of those equally.  When the weather wasn’t too shabby, we’d hide the eggs in my parent’s orchard in the backyard.  Early Easter morning, I’m talking about 4:00 am or so, Kyle would attempt to wake everyone for his Easter morning adventure.  No one would budge, except leave it to good old Aunt Heather to give in to my little bundle of enthusiasm.  I’ll admit, it wasn’t too difficult to get up early, since I was like a kid myself, excited for Kyle to find the eggs mom and I hid the night before.

Together, Kyle and I would pull on our rubber boots, still in our pajamas (Actually, I stand corrected, I was in my pjs, while I had to make Kyle dress in some sort of pant, usually sweatpants and a t-shirt.  I was lucky if I got him to wear a coat.) and venture into the early morning hours to run around the yard looking for plastic eggs with flashlights in hand.  That was always fun, watching Kyle dart from one tree to another, looking high and low.  When the weather didn’t cooperate, we’d hide the eggs in the house, not exactly ideal but it worked.

So, back to my idea.  How does an Easter egg scavenger hunt work?  Simple.  Create a map or a serious of riddles and clues to uncover the hidden Easter eggs.  It can even be as detailed or as simple as desired, as per the age range of the participants.  One idea is to give a single clue to one egg, which contains another clue to the next, and so on and so forth.  If I was developing the Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt, I’d add scholastic questions to really challenge the child and reinforce his or her school subjects.  I’d also add religious questions to reinforce the true meaning behind Easter.  And if I’m designing the scavenger hunt in the typical Thrill of the Hunt fashion, I’d add online challenges for the child to take pictures and video along the scavenger hunt adventure.  The entire family could join in on the fun for a family fun good time!  This scavenger hunt doesn’t necessarily have to be targeted to young children (I’m thinking 4+), but could be developed for pre-teens and teenagers alike.  That’s one way to include everyone on an Easter Egg Hunt Scavenger Hunt!  This can be accomplished inside or out, or both.

Thrill of the Hunt offers many different types of themed scavenger hunts.  Check them out at (www.ThrillScavengerHunt.com).

Think Team Building … Think Scavenger Hunts
Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt
WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt & a Puppy in a Day
Scavenger Hunt – Getting Our Start At Seton Hill University & Continuing

Now time to promote Thrill of the Hunt.  If you’re interested in a unique custom scavenger hunt or just want to discuss the possibilities, email me at Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com, Heather@AuntHeather.com or fill out the form on our Contact Us page for a free quote.  We’ll get back to you within 24-business hours. I promise!

Please note, Thrill of the Hunt will be hosting our first ever Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in Winchester, Virginia on Saturday, May 30, 2015.  We’re also hosting our annual Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunts in local cities including Latrobe, Pennsylvania; Annapolis, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia; and New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Tickets are on sale now, but are limited.  We’re still accepting local businesses to be added to the actual scavenger hunt to increase foot traffic to these locations.

Thrill of the Hunt is in the planning stages for our Singles Scavenger Hunt in Virginia.  Keep your eyes peeled.

Speaking of different areas, we are always open to hearing suggestions on scavenger hunt themes and hometowns to bring our events.  Please Suggest An Event on our website, or email Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com.  I seriously want to hear from you!

Please make sure you’re following the hunt on our social sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, always using #ThrillofHunt

Remember, everyone needs to … Experience the Game!

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.  ~Richard P. Feynman

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Statue of Saint Boniface Wimmer in front of Saint Vincent Church at Saint Vincent College. I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in this church… Ryan was the alter boy.

Since I recently wrote about Random Fun Facts:  Latrobe, Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t be complete without addressing Saint Vincent College.

This past June, for Kyle’s birthday gift I got him, Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe!  Actually I got him two different Bricks 4 Kidz sessions, Animal Grossology for the morning session and Space Adventure – Star Wars for the afternoon session.  The Lego camp lasted a week, from Monday June 24 through Friday, June 28.  Kyle’s birthday is in July, so he was really surprised.

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Saint Boniface Wimmer, Saint Vincent College

The first day of Lego Camp, on Monday, I thought it would be neat to hang out with Kyle for lunch.  So I packed us a picnic and we ate on the college grounds.  It was a warm day but really pleasant under the trees.  Afterwords, I thought he might find a tour of the campus interesting.  In my head, I remembered how cool it was when Father Alred gave our sixth grade class a tour of the college when attending Sacred Heart.  He talked about the history, the architecture, the stain glass windows, and so on and so forth.

Well, as it turns out, I remembered the feeling more than the facts.  I must say, I fell short and needed a refresher.  Kyle wasn’t amused at all!  It was at that moment when I thought, I need to revisit Saint Vincent College, in the books.

Ironically, when I was doing research for the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University Discovering Greensburg in the Rain  (the sister college of Saint Vincent), at the Westmoreland County Historical Society, I came across a lot of intriguing content on  Saint Vincent College.  I hope you find the history of the college as interesting and almost mind blowing as I do!  Please read to the very end!  I promise it will shock you!

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Sportman’s Hall, built in 1790 by Father Theodore Brouwers- later become Saint Vincent

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

  • Founded in 1846 – Saint Vincent Arch-abbey and College
  • In 1766, before the monks John Fraser, an Indian trader, acquired land on part of which Saint Vincent is now situated
  • February 10, 1766 granted a tract of land along the Forbes Road to John- made in the name of the King George II of Great Britain by Captain William Murray, Commander of Port Pitt.
  • December 3, 1768 John Fraser transferred teh entire parcel of land to James Hunter, a farmer for Five Pounds Lawful Money
  • James Hunter owned the land for 21 years
  • March 12, 1790, the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Joseph Hunter “a certain tract of land called ‘Sportsman’s Hall'” – 1st time the name of Sportman’s Hall was given to individual tract of land (name retained for over half a century)
  • Sportman’s Hall was called “the Cradle of Catholicity in western Pennsylvania”
  • April 16, 1790 Joseph transferred the deed to Rev. Theodore Brouwers, O.F.M.
  • Father Brouwers died on October 29, 1790.  As per his will his body was laid to rest in a plot overlooking Sportsman’s Hall.  Since 1869 his remains have reposed under a a stone cross in Saint Vincent Cemetery
  • Father Brouwers provided his successor by bequeathing all of his real estate “to a Roman Catholic priest that shall succeed me in this same place, to be entailed to him and to his successors, forever.”
  • In 1787, 6 Catholic families moved from Philadelphia and settle near Greensburg
  • A small log church was erected
  • Sportsman’s Hall stood northeast to the present Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica until 1883 – in 1930s a marker was erected on this site
  • Reverand Michael Galllagher succeeded Father Stillinger as pastor, serving until October 21, 1846 – then Rev. Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. was pointed as pastor
  • Boniface Wimmer was a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria

Hence the name Wimmerton for the neighboring housing development

  • Boniface Wimmer received the monastic name of Boniface upon his entry into the monastery, a name with deep significance for German Catholics
  • Saint Boniface was an English monk who in the 18th century brought the Gospel and the Benedictine Rule to the Rhineland, where he established  monasteries and served as bishop of Fulda

He wanted to provide education for the sons of German immigrants and train clergy for the German community in the United States.

  • Saint Vincent is the 1st Benedictine college in the United States
  • Saint Vincent sits on roughly 200 acres of land
  • First buildings were built by the monks
  • The Benedictine Rule is known for spirituality and practicality
  • By 1855, Saint Vincent was divided into the Seminary, the Classical Department, and the Commercial Department – basic structure of college for next 50 years
  • In 1870, the college was incorporated by the State Legislature of Pennsylvania and given the power to grant degrees in the arts and sciences
  • February 25, 1931 Benedictine Sisters left Germany to go to America, set up residence in Saint Vincent, to earn money to send back to mother house during World War I
  • By 1987, one sister retired and founded Saint Emma’s Retreat House in Greensburg
  • In 1948, there were 19 majors available in the divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Business
  • January of 1963 – a fire destroyed part of the campus – no life was lost

On the campus they have a memorial with a rescued bell saved from the bell tower.  The bent and torn metal of the once perfect bell is so surreal yet intriguing.

  • In 1983, Saint Vincent became co-educational

Until that point it was an all male college, sister college to Seton Hill University, which used to be an all female college

  • The college is sponsored by the Benedictine Monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey and shares the campus with Saint Vincent Seminary (4-year graduate school of theology), and Saint Vincent Parish
  • Saint Vincent College offers undergraduate degrees in business, education, medicine, engineering government service and church.
  • Saint Vincent College offers Masters degree programs in education and business
  • The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (yes THE  Mr. Rogers!) is a college center
  • Nationally known, students from 24 U.S. states/territories and 20 foreign countries – half of these students are in the top 20% of their high school graduating classes
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and School
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Bell Tower at Saint Vincent, built in 1871 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Benedictines in the U.S. In 1963, destroyed in a fire

Ok, now for the the really fun and interesting information I stumbled across.  Evidently, the students at Saint Vincent College need or did need to write a senior thesis before graduation.  Using primary resources, they were permitted to write about anything.

One student narrowed his focus to Latrobe and decided to write about the history of Latrobe’s volunteer firer-fighters and the Latrobe fire company.  Nice little topic!

Unbeknownst to him, he was going to stumble upon some really ground breaking news that was overlooked, even by Saint Vincent scholars, even to present day!  When I had lunch with my cousins John and Sherry Business Leader in the Form of a Youngster, in September, I asked John if he ever heard of the news I will reveal to you below.  He didn’t.  Dr. Olczak who also translated books for Saint Vincent College and most certainly was knowledgeable in the history of his Alma Mater, had no idea!

In the 1870’s, the Latrobe Advance, the local paper which is now the Latrobe Bulletin, circulated a story which dealt with a recent incident at Saint Vincent College.  What made the news but never made any other history books regarding the college and was forgotten?

Boniface Wimmer, yes the founder of Saint Vincent monastery and college, made the paper in the form of a small hidden story.  On October 1, 1879, the newspaper reported that the then 70 year old Abbot was nearly assassinated by a “lunatic”.  YEP!  No joke!  Keep in mind at this point in history, Boniface Wimmer was no stranger to the world, especially when concerned with his dedication and progress towards education and as a missionary.  In fact, he was recognized by many as the American Roman Catholic Church leader.  Kind of a big deal!  The paper reported that the mad man tried to assassinate Boniface Wimmer in his monastery room.

The story goes, a stranger was found lurking around, outside the monastery for several days.  On Saturday, September 13, 1879 the stranger gained access to the monastery where Boniface Wimmer resided.  A monk cut him off at the pass and ejected him from the premisses.  A week later the creepy stranger, on Tuesday September 23rd made his way back in the monastery and proceeded towards Brother Nicholas room.  He was the Porter or the gatekeeper of Wimmer.  This crazed stranger struck Brother Nicholas on the head and bolted up the stairs to the Abbot Boniface’s room.  (currently located in Mauer Hall and is used as a guest room) The lunatic took the key and tried to lock himself inside along with Boniface Wimmer.

Quick witted and matching reflexes, even from an aged man, the Abbot noticed this unusual sight and took the would-be assassin off guard before he could lock the door.  There was a tussle between the two men and that’s when Boniface Wimmer received a blow to the head, but not before gaining a hold of the intruders arm and managing to gain the upper hand. The 70 year old Abbot took down his attacker!  Yes!  He wrestled him to the floor!  This just proves, you have nothing to fear with God on your side and when you have complete faith in Him.

The recovering Porter came to Boniface’s assistance, after gaining his wits about him, and eventually a couple of monks arrived at the scene, hearing yells for help.  They removed the determined stranger from the premises.  No charges, no cops, no finger pointing, nothing.  Now-a-days that would have made front line news and opposing sides would be talking about it and pointing fingers at everyone including the Abbot for days, or weeks, heck months.  Everyone would have someone to blame.

The reason for this situation?  Not an Anti-Catholic message nor a hatred against Saint Vincent nor its Abbot.  The intruder was a Latrobe native who had mental issues and recently escaped from an asylum.  He felt if he killed the Abbot Wimmer he would in turn take his place as the Abbot of Saint Vincent.   At least the mentally disturbed man had goals!

Since this was not recorded anywhere else or brought to the spotlight, how can we know this actually happened? Even though back then the reporters needed to check and verify their sources, so I would be pretty confident they did their due-diligence before including the story in the paper.  Well, I came across documentation of a letter Abbot Wimmer wrote to the Vatican giving them an update on the church and the college.  This was a standard letter, with pleasantries and general day-to-day stuff.  At the conclusion of his letter, yes not as a headline, the butt end, as if just mentioning it in passing or as an afterthought, Abbot Wimmer made note of this incident.  Why didn’t he make it out to be the big deal it was?  Simply, because he was a humble man and didn’t want to upset anyone or have the general population turning on the assailant.   At least that’s my guess.  Or perhaps he didn’t like the negative publicity.  Either way, it was real history.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Business Leader In the Form of a Youngster

The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.  ~Ronald Reagan

Dog-Gone-Scavenger-Hunt-New-Hope-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-9-14-13-v45 Aunt Heather Piper

One of the dogs from the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in New Hope 9/14/13

On Saturday, Thrill of the Hunt had another Dog Gone!  Scavenger Hunt in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Is that far from me?  Heading out there is about a five hour trip, 300 miles one way.  So it’s certainly a hike and a half.  Why did we have a scavenger hunt so far away?  Simply, because I love the area, it’s so quaint and charming and I’ve found the business owners and locals very easy to work with and very positive about what I have to offer.  Not to mention, breaking out into New Hope was my way of introducing Thrill of the Hunt to the eastern side of Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.  New Hope is just across the Delaware River from New Jersey, and is relatively close to New York, Maryland and Delaware.  Yep, New Hope, a borough in Bucks County, my next stop.

Kyle still loves being apart of all things with The Piper Corporation.  I mean that!  He never snubs his nose or whines when we have work to do with the company, well almost never.  In fact, Kyle got a new Macbook Air for this past birthday.  His comment to me?  “Now Aunt Heather I can help you out with the scavenger hunts!”  He meant it wholeheartedly.  Kyle always shows the most enthusiasm when it comes to the company work.  He really enjoys it and I enjoy having Kyle help me out and be apart of hopefully his future legacy, if desired.

Everyone knows Kyle is pretty money centric.  Not with Thrill of the Hunt.  Every now again, I will pay the kid in movies and popcorn, but no hard cold cash is ever transferred.  One day soon I hope to be able to put him on the payroll, but until then, Kyle understands and is just happy to help out.  And he truly is a huge help to me!

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Kyle manning his post at the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in New Hope. 9/14/13

We left Saturday morning around 3:30 am on a long day of fun.  It was a little difficult to get the twelve year old up, but let’s face it, it would be hard to get anyone up at that hour.  Without a second thought, Kyle even went to bed early so he could rest up for the long work day.  My little planner!

Once in the car he slept, and slept, and slept, and slept.  He did wake up briefly, while I made a pit stop, but he stayed in the car and relaxed.  I had a heck of a time waking him up when we finally got to New Hope.  He really didn’t want to join the land of the living.

Getting there early to set up and address any last minute issues and get our bearings straight helps to reduce stress.  I try to practice such behavior whenever possible, teaching Kyle the same lesson, after all I had my car packed and ready to go by Wednesday.  The one thing about the scavenger hunt events, almost everything needs to be done prior to, at least all the hard leg work.  So come the day of the event, it’s enjoyable not only for the participants, but also for us.

Usually Kyle stays with me, helps with registration, taking pictures and addressing questions, but alas this particular scavenger hunt I needed Kyle to pass out a prize at a participating business.  Did he mind?  Not really, he doesn’t prefer to be by himself, but he loves being needed and helping out.

Dog-Gone-Scavenger-Hunt-New-Hope-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-9-14-13-v23 Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle is mingling with a few dogs during the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in New Hope, Pa. 9/14/13

Part of my business model with the Thrill of the Hunt Events, is to help local communities and businesses by bringing the customer directly to their storefront, driving direct traffic.  There is more to the Thrill Sponsorship Program, but that’s how it came to be and the basic idea.  Well, I did have a local business who wanted to participate, but was unable to have dogs in their store.  They also didn’t have the staff on a Saturday to have someone stationed outside of their facility passing out prizes.  Problem solved, Kyle.  Normally, I wouldn’t have offered his service, but I’ve done this event already and I was an old hand at it.  So if I could help out, then I will, and I did.  Plus the business owner gave coupons for the participants’ goodie bags and branded them Thrill of the Hunt.  They too were trying to promote my company.  Now that’s working together!

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Kyle helping me out during the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in New Hope, Pa. What a businessman – a true leader! 9/14/13

So my little man and I were separated for the better part of the scavenger hunt.  He was cracking me up while he was sitting on his little perch outside the storefront.  He was passing out flyers promoting the Dog Gone!  Scavenger Hunt to any late comers.  Brilliant!  He even took one for the team.

Apparently, as per Kyle, he was trying to hand out a flyer to someone walking their dog and saw a few more dog owners walk past him.  He changed his mind and made an about face to approach the other set of dog walkers and splattered on the ground!  What?  Yep!  I saw the bark removed from his leg.  When he came to me later on in the day, he explained his story and showed me his minor scrapes on the knee and hands.  He did so without drama and without complete agony, very unlike Kyle.   To be honest, as soon as he told me his story, I busted out laughing.  Without controlling my laughter, Kyle joined in and proceeded to tell me that he had no idea what made him fall.  He didn’t trip, he just fell.  Boy does he remind me of Nicole!  He said, “I bet everyone that saw me wondered why I fell!”  I bet!

Anyway, while he was sitting there, I did receive several phone calls from Kyle.  He was keeping me updated on who stopped by and the new recruits he was sending my way.  Once he called me to tell me, “I got lonely so I called Gigi.”  What a stinker!  I said, “O that’s good buddy, I bet Gigi wanted to hear from you. I bet you made her day.  Did you tell her how things were going?”  He did and he gave me a report on Storm.

Dog-Gone-Scavenger-Hunt-New-Hope-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-9-14-13-v19 Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle continues to socialize with the dogs during registration of the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in New Hope, Pa. 9/14/13

You see, the day before Storm, my cat wanted out.  No problem, except she didn’t come back in before dark, which she usually does when called.  No Storm by the time we left, no Storm by the time dad got up at 5:00 am and no Storm when I called in around 9:00 am.  Now that made me nervous.  It seems like every time we have a Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt, we have family pet issues.  Dog Gone! Irony  Storm did eventually come back unscathed and ready to sleep the rest of the day.  No worries.

While manning his post, Kyle received a call from my sister who was checking in.  I guess, it was not a good time, because Kyle told Nicole, “I gotta go Aunt Nikki, I have customers.”  That’s my boy!  Priorities!  Laughing, Nicole called me to inform me of what just went down.  We both found it humorous and I found it inspirational.

Throughout the day Kyle did pull out his iPod to play games and he couldn’t stand at the registration table passing out flyers and answering onlookers’ questions for too long, but after all he is only twelve.  But he did try his best.

Dog-Gone-Scavenger-Hunt-New-Hope-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-9-14-13-v9 Aunt Heather Piper

I think Kyle had to pet every dog that participated in the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt in New Hope, Pa. 9/14/13

At the conclusion of the scavenger hunt, a few of the participants came up to me, not knowing he was my nephew, and commented on how helpful and professional “the little boy”  was during the event.  He was given kudos from many, even from a few of the businesses that met him.  Kyle is getting accustomed to shaking hands, using his manners and speaking directly and speaking business.  What a great leader and an impressive youngster!  Thank you for all your efforts buddy!  They are certainly noticed and appreciated by all.

On a side note, on the way back it was pretty uneventful.  Kyle slept and slept and slept and slept all the way up till about hour from home.  Once he did wake up he was back to being a kid again, asking me when we were going to arrive, over and over again.  I told him, “Just go back to sleep.”  Once we arrived at my parents house, which was closer and lets’ face it they really missed our little man, Kyle was wide awake and ready for a late night snack.  Me?  I was ready for the pillow.  After all I was going on nearly twenty hours without sleep.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  Can’t wait for the next scavenger hunt this Saturday, Discovering Greensburg sponsored by Seton Hill University.

 

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts,Travels and have No Comments

Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise

You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.  ~Brigham Young

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Kyle’s 2nd day of Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College – Bricks 4 Kidz Program 6/25/13

Most people celebrate their birthday the day of their actual birth, or sometime close.  Others take a week or so in preparation and to celebrate the anniversary of their birth.  I really do neither, I’ve never been much of a birthday person.  Seriously, I could care less about my birthday, except it also happens to be my parents wedding anniversary (I was born six years after they were hitched).  Going out to eat, or birthday cakes and such never appealed to me.  Well, cake certainly peeks my interest, but not the celebration.  Yes, as a child I loved to get presents, but it wasn’t like it is today.  Even back then, I remember asking mom to stop the birthday parties.  Just not a big fan.

Kyle on the other hand is a big supporter of birthday celebrations, specifically his own.  Literally, from December 26th up until his day of birth, July 30th, he is preparing, scheming and throwing hints left and right.  Keep in mind, Easter falls between this time and he gets more gifts, not to mention his report card money that tends to go toward more Legos.  But his birthday, day, opens his eyes and fills his head with possibilities like no other.

Keeping with tradition, I never get Kyle toys or video games, basically what he asks for.  Nope!  I get him unconventional gifts.  They are items that I believe give him skills, introduces him to thinking differently, gives him life long knowledge or interests and helps him to grow as a person.  Others, mostly my parents and my sister get him the items that make his childhood bucket list of desirables.  (Happy Lego Birthday Kyle – 11 Years Old!, Flying Back to Kyle’s Ninth Birthday, Family Time Through an ipod Touch, Happy Birthday Kyle- 10 Years Old!)  I’ve mentioned it in the past about buying him piano lessons, swimming lessons, flying lessons, books etc.  So what to do for his twelfth birthday?

Starting to mill around ideas in my head back in May, which is when Kyle started to throw out hints, I really had no clue.  I’ve been known to give him a saving bond, again another practical gift to force him to save for the near future, but I really wasn’t sure.  Then, thanks to a family friend, Lori Planinsek Rodgers, she gave me the perfect idea!  Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp!

She mentioned it while we were at the 24th Annual Planinsek Fishing Derby, Gone Fishing!.  At the time I just thought it might be something fun Kyle would enjoy, so I mentioned it to him.  Naturally, anything with Legos causes the kid to jump out of his skin.  Well, that is until he found out he doesn’t get to keep the Legos he builds.  Too bad!  Looking online into the programs, the light came on in my head and bingo, his birthday present was established.

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Yes, another Lego even while at Lego camp – Bricks 4 Kidz at Saint Vincent College. That was his report card money courtesy of his Aunt Nikki 6/27/13

This gift accomplished more than just his gift.  Kyle always loved going to daycare (Come and Play) every summer.  He truly looked forward to hanging out with his friends and playing.  The kids not only played, but the daycare ladies  would make them bring books to read and they would have to go outside and run around and do some schoolwork.  Kyle’s days were very planned, very organized and very structured.  All the qualities that make for an enjoyable day for Kyle, truly!  Well, this summer Kyle didn’t go to daycare.  He was seriously bummed and bored!  I wish he was sent at least a couple of days a week, but nope, his summer consisted of hanging by himself at home.  That’s when I thought to send him to camp.  Granted the kid takes more vacations then any other child I know, but it still stinks to sit at home by yourself, not being mentally or physically challenged and being socially deprived.

Originally, I was going to sign him up for the third week in July, bringing it closer to his birthday, but alas that week was the ‘Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s Week of Fun’.  No good!  So I had to work backwards deciding on the week of June 24th through June 28th, last week.

Signing Kyle up for Animal Grossology in the am session (8:30-11:30) and Space Adventure – Star Wars for the afternoon session (1:00-4:00) at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, all I could think of was how excited he was going to be.

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Kyle received 2 certificates for finishing his Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College. Animal Grossology & Space Adventure- Star Wars 6/28/13

Keeping the Lego camp a secret, I alerted the rest of the family and I made arrangements for us both to stay at my parents house all week, which made my parents really happy.  They were looking forward to his Lego camp too for two reasons.  One, to spend the week with Kyle and two, to share in his excitement, knowing how much he loves to build Legos and being challenged.

Leading up to the birthday present surprise, I started to prod Kyle a bit, although he never really took the bait.  Probably because he knew his gift from me wasn’t exactly what he wanted.  I did tell him he was getting his gift early and it involved animals and space.  That sparked one of our dashboard silly conversations Laughing About Nothing…Dog in Space.  Throughout Kyle’s short life, you would think he would learn to trust me.  Our activities are never items he’s thought about or thinks are fun, but he can never deny he loves the gifts I get him.

One of the hints I slipped him, was that he was going to college and it was an educational gift.  He politely smiled and gave me a grunt.  Then he said, “I can’t go to college, I’m not old enough.”  Love that kid!  I told him he’s going and he better pay attention!  I could tell he didn’t know whether to take me seriously or not.  Sometimes I can be such an instigator.

Sunday night, the eve before Kyle was going to partake in his Lego camp adventure, I told him where he was going.  His eyes lit up and excitement shot over his entire body, leaving his mouth ALL night!  To be honest, I was trilled at his enthusiasm but it was getting late and I was tired.  He kept speculating on  what he was going build and what he was going to do.  He commented, how much he loved animals and told me how much he knows about animals.  Then he went into his dissertation on space and Star Wars.  It was a long night until the sandman knocked Kyle out.

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Kyle his a great little guy! Check him out helping another, at the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College! 6/24/13

The next morning and all week he was up early, got himself his breakfast and got dressed, all without incident.  The first day was a bit rough, especially at lunch.  I packed us a lunch and thought we could picnic at Saint Vincent College and then walk around a bit.  I wanted to share with Kyle, some of what I remembered Father Alred teaching us about the buildings and the history when I was in the sixth grade at Sacred Heart.  (I found out that I remember very little and need to research the college again to bring back what I knew.)  Kyle was very quiet and almost blasé about his morning and kind of complained about his lunch.  Then, he didn’t want to walk around, didn’t want to sit, didn’t really care to go back.  I was in complete shock and let’s face it, irritated.  Only because I thought Kyle didn’t appreciate this opportunity.  Keep in mind it was pretty hot and humid out.

I dropped Kyle off for his afternoon class and then picked him up at 4:00.  Same attitude, same almost lethargic demeanor.  At this point, I thought Kyle was getting sick or maybe he was tried from getting to bed so late and waking up pretty early.  That is until the next day brought me my answers.

As I dropped him off for his morning session, I spoke to the one teacher to see how Kyle was doing.  She informed me that the room was really hot and evidently since it was an old building, putting the air conditioning on cool meant they were turning on the heater!  Yikes!  Kyle was sitting in not only a hot room, but it was being heated too!  No wonder he was so miserable.  The kid HATES being hot.  Not that I can blame him.

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Kyle loved the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College! 6/26/13

By the time I picked Kyle up for lunch on Tuesday, it was like he did a one eighty!  He was ecstatic, energetic and completely excited to tell me about his day and what he built!  I was so happy I didn’t make a mistake with the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp.  I did not!  It was a hit, now that the temperature in the room was bearable.

What a great week!  Everyday, Kyle and I ate breakfast together; then I dropped him off for his morning class; picked him up for lunch, which we made and ate together; dropped him off for his afternoon session and then picked him up when his day was done.  Actually, everyday except Friday, mom picked him up for me since I was getting the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt ready for the following day.  (For my company Thrill of the Hunt)  That was the start of the Dog Gone Irony!

Kyle had a GREAT time!  He not only got to feed his addiction of  building Legos, but he fed the brain too with animal knowledge and space talk.  As much as Kyle won’t admit to it, he loves to learn and discover new things and experiences, much like the rest of my family.  Lori, who introduced me to the Bricks 4 Kidz Program, messaged me this:

I see you’ve been busy dog hunting the past couple days, but I’m wondering if you’ve had a chance to see any of the videos posted for Bricks 4 Kidz! Looks like Kyle loved the programs! His teacher brought their entire class (5 or 6 kids) up to our class to show us how Kyle put a motor on the kangaroo (which wasn’t in the plans) and made it move – WHAT A GENIUS! I was proud of him and he’s not even mine!

Kyle surprises me all the time and makes me proud too!  He is a bright young man, that will no doubt shine in his future endeavors, whatever they may be.

He was an absolute jewel the entire week!  Seriously, the happiest and most non-argumentative child.  Everyday he came home and practiced his piano and read in his book.  Then he would watch some of his Lord of the Rings movies, watched a little TV or played with one of his many Legos.  He never complained about dinner and ate some of his veggies.  He even showered every night with little resistance and brushed his teeth without being asked, morning and night.  He was in a routine of structure, family, and good eating habits.  Believe it or not, it made the world of difference on his attitude.

I highly recommend the Bricks 4 Kidz Lego camp or any of the offered classes!  The teachers are really great to deal with, they have such a positive attitude and the benefits the children receive are priceless.  I’m not just talking about learning to build, but the socialization, the structure, the added knowledge and the attention are so good for the kids.  Kyle was looking into other Lego classes and wants me to sign him up for more.  If he can fit it into his busy schedule, I totally will!

Thanks Lori!  You saved my birthday gift dilemma and brought so much more to one little boy than you can imagine!  You really are a true teacher through and through.

Below is a video I took of Kyle.  I creeped into the classroom, while he was still playing with his creation of the day.  The kid was in complete glory!

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Dog Gone Irony!

My little dog
a heart-beat
at my feet  ~Edith Wharton

Missing-Dog-Poster-Aunt-Heather-PiperThey always say when it rains it pours.  Sometimes that’s the case, it certainly was this past weekend, starting Friday morning.

Let me set the stage.  I’ve been developing and organizing the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt all month, getting ready to launch our first Thrill of the Hunt scavenger hunt event in Shadyside.  So if you can image, there’s a lot of details and last minute items that need addressed.  All week I was unable to take the dogs, Scooby and Seven, for their daily three mile hike.  That’s my normal lunch break now-a-days.  Plus, keep in mind, Kyle was at his Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College.  My lunches were consumed with Kyle, going to pick him up, getting him lunch and taking him back for his afternoon sessions.  Then, the rest of my day and evenings, I was consumed with plugging away at the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt.  Busy, busy, busy week.

Then, Friday morning rolled around.  Naturally, I was up early with my head in my work, trying to wrap some items up before having to drop Kyle off at his Lego Camp.  I knew I had to make a trip to Shadyside and meet with the participating business owners before the work day ended, and I had to send brochures to the printers, pick them up and assemble all the Thrill of the Hunt bags for the participants before the day came to a close.  Needless to say, there was a lot on my mind and I was completely pre-occupied.  I’m not making excuses, just outlining the events of the day.

Roughly around 7:00 am, mom emailed me telling me to change Seven’s tracker, the battery was really low.  We use Tagg, which is a great service for tracking our freedom seeking dogs.  Only keeping a tracker on Seven, we’ve found that the buddies travel together so no need to weigh Scooby down.  My response to mom’s email?  “I don’t have time and I’m not planning on taking the dogs for a walk today, I have too much to do!”  Mistake number one!  Then around 7:30 am, Kyle was playing with my cat, Storm, on the porch and he had the front door wide open, without putting up the baby gate.  I was also going back and forth to my car loading it up with needed Thrill of the Hunt paraphernalia.

Then by 8:00 am, we both noticed we were two dogs short!  Around that time, I had to hurry up and update the Piper Reunion postcard and send it to press, since that was sneaking up on us; my friend Holly wanted to run hills and was calling; and mom called to ask me to bring her a large bowl to work.   Yikes!  Too much to do!  Not to mention I had to get Kyle over to his last day of Lego camp by 8:30 am and now the boys are missing.

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Seven & Scooby getting some rest after the rescue mission was a success! Poor Seven still had those porcupine quills in his face. Tired pups after 3 days missing. 6/30/13

Right around this very hectic time, mom emailed me giving me the update on the already known missing dogs.  She saw his last check-in was in Ridilliatown, not far from our house, but his tracker died so we really had no idea where their actual whereabouts were.  My response?  They’ll come back.  Did I mention this was when I was in route, between Saint Vincent, to Latrobe and mom’s work?

You see the dogs have a track record of taking off, running through the woods for a few hours and then making their way back home after they are good and tired and completely muddy (Dog Gone).  So who would have thought they would have deviated off of the norm?  Certainly none of us did!  In fact, we thought they would show up on the porch before dark, ready to sit out there punishment under the kitchen table.  That’s were they go when they’re in trouble.  The thinner, crappy doggie beds reside under there, making them really suffer their punishments out. (sarcasm)

Well, needless to say nightfall came and left and no signs of the dogs!  I woke up Saturday morning around 5:00 am to get ready for the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt to find the house still a little empty.  I hate to say it, but when I talked to mom, who incidentally slept on the couch so she could hear are late night arrivals, I said, “I bet someone shot them!”  Mom agreed.  I know what a horrible thought!  I didn’t say I wanted that to happen, I was just trying to be realistic and prepare myself for the worst.  That’s what happened to my cousin’s dog when we were little, it was terrible!  Jack the dog, came back with half of his jaw shot off!

Speaking of shooting dogs.  That might sound like an over active imagination and not a present day reality, guess again!  When we were going around to the local neighbors where the dogs were once spotted, a lady told us that someone in Youngstown, near Latrobe Pennsylvania is known to shoot stray dogs.  She said they shot one before and wounded another!  Can you believe it?  I understand dog owners have to be in control of their dog at all times, but come on, things happen.  There is no reason to shoot a dog!  Maybe if it was bringing direct harm to another animal or person, sure for self defense, but just because they are loose and running around?  Even if they were on your property, shoo them away!  Don’t just shoot them!  What is wrong with some people?  Apparently, they have no heart and we need to say prayers for them.

Wishing I could have stayed to help with the rescue mission Saturday morning, Kyle and I headed into Pittsburgh for the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt.  Before I left I had time to make a missing poster and I distributed it to my social sites far and wide.  While we were in Shadyside, the irony of the situation hit me!  I was running a scavenger hunt for dogs, when ours ran away and were lost, called Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt.  Not funny at the time, but has brought new humor.

Seven-with-porcupine-quills-6-30-13-Aunt-Heather-Piper

My poor Seven. Did he put his face directly up a porcupine’s butt? At least he’s home! 6/30/13

The scavenger hunt went really smoothly and was well received by all the participants and business owners.  During the hunt, besides reaching out to our participants via social sites along with my sister, we were  also helping to spread the word, on our very own missing four legged pals.  I was taking calls, and checking Facebook, keeping in touch with my friend Tree who was following up on leads and touching base with my family.  Talk about a lot going on!

As soon as I got back to the area, I joined the search and rescue team.  Getting in the car with mom, we rechecked the the last areas the dogs were spotted, and a few areas we thought they might have gone through.  What made this so difficult was the location of our runaways.  They were running through mostly woods, even worse, mostly unfamiliar woods to me, making their appearance every now-and-again near someones house or a main road.  Even though it was extremely frustrating, each report brought a bit of hope.  At the start of this all, the last place we knew the dogs were located in Ridilliatown, early Friday morning.  Keep in mind it is now Saturday afternoon.

The sightings included:  Someone saw them together off of route 30 near Sleepy Hallow at 6:00 pm on Friday.  Someone saw them near Kingston on Friday around 5:30 pm.  Someone almost hit them with their car off of route 30 near Ligonier around 6:30 pm on Friday.  What?  How did they make it that far coming from Youngstown?

Well, later on Sunday when I hiked the woods in that area, I found out it didn’t take me long to cross the ridges through the woods, only traveling about four miles.  Piece of cake for a couple of four legged travelers.

Then God gave us another bit of hope, Dave Planinsek saw them off his property Saturday morning around 6:15 am.  Great!  They made the night.  He did say it looked like the black one, Seven was foaming at the mouth.  That would explain why the others who spotted our pups said the one looked like he had porcupine quills in his mouth.  My poor Seven!

Seven-with-porcupine-quills-6-30-13 Aunt Heather Piper

Seven in the car after we found him, he was lost for 3 days & apparently met a porcupine on the his travels. 6/30/13

Saturday night was fast approaching and nothing, no sign, no word.  I even walked back in unfamiliar woods of Sugarbush, calling the entire mile in and mile out.  Once darkness completely took away my sense of sight, I reluctantly left the woods.  I will admit, it was pitch black and I had about three quarters of a mile to go just to get out of the woods and meet up with dad, who was on the quad.

We arrived at my parents house Saturday night, feeling completely defeated!  Especially knowing the dogs were going to have to spend another night in the woods and knowing that Seven was hurt and possibly Scooby.

That did it!  I had a new game plan.  I woke up early Sunday morning, we went to church the night before because Kyle had to serve mass, and packed my book bag.  I was going to hike all the woods in the area to try and find them.  Our logic, since no one had seen them since Saturday morning, they were hanging out in the woods.  They were injured, tired, hungry, scared and lost.

I packed up my .22 pistol, some food and water, first aide kit and a few other essentials.  I made sure my phone was completely charged so I could check my location on my GPS.  Mom was nervous since I have a track record of getting lost, (Directionally Challenged) but I had no qualms about walking around the woods.  I knew I’d pop out somewhere.  To play it safe, as long as my phone was on, Kyle could find me on Find Friends apps.  Not to mention I was using my RunKeeper app, which Tree and mom had my login information to track my last checked in status.

Breaking some of my RunKeeper records I continued on foot, while dad was on the quad and mom and Kyle were in the car driving around and checking with neighbors and putting up more posters.

This went on for hours on Sunday, it seemed like a lifetime.  When I would make my way to a main road, I would have mom and Kyle come and get me, to drop me off closer to start again.  By Sunday at 1:30 pm, I was with mom and Kyle in the car.  We decided to call dad to see how his progress was going.  When mom was talking to dad trying to outline our next plan of attack, possibly take a break for the time being, dad spotted Scooby!  We were in complete shock!  He called Scooby, and after Scooby recognized dad, he came running over to the quad, leaping up in his lap.  All dad was saying was, “Bring the car around and get him!”  I said, “Where are you?”  His vague reply was, “By the woods.”  Really?  Is this a joke?  “What woods?” I said.  Again, vaguely dad replied, “The ones we were by last night.”  Really?  Again, we were all over the ridge on Saturday.

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Scooby just woke up from hours of sleep after being lost for 3 days. He was looking for his buddy who still was not found at this point. 6/30/13

Trying to get dad’s exact location proved to be as difficult as trying to find the dogs because he just wanted to talk to Scooby.  He was even asking our blond pal where his pal Seven was.

Once we picked up Scooby, who had a few porcupine quills in his face, that I plucked out, Scooby fell asleep in the car on the way home.  Then back we went to track down number two doggie delinquent.  Apparently, the one house saw them, just before dad got to their house while he was on the quad, and they tried to call the dogs over.  Scooby came to our good Samaritans, (to my complete surprise)  but Seven was scared and took off (even more of a shock, I thought the opposite).  Now for the first time in days, the dogs are separated.

We looked and looked, to no avail.  Finally, as we were ready to make another pass at the ridge in the car, we got a call from the same house who found Scooby.  Seven was in their yard!  Mom drove like lightening to get there.  Once I saw my obviously distraught, disoriented and in pain pup, I welcomed him with open arms.  He reluctantly came to me, but eventually made his way into the car, for our ride home.

Seven and Scooby are safe back home!  Seven spent Monday at the vets getting those darn porcupine needles out of his face.  I was going to try and remove them like I did once for Scooby (Scooby Meets a Porcupine), but Scooby’s weren’t in for three days.  Seven was also really dehydrated and starving.  I thought it be best to wait out the night and take Seven to the vet first thing in the am.  They weighed him and it seems he lost nearly ten pounds!  Poor pup couldn’t eat or drink or even sleep for that matter, for three days.

Missing-Dog-Poster-Found-Aunt-Heather-Piper.psdThe boys were gone from Friday at 7:30 am and Scooby was brought home around Sunday at 2:00 pm, while Seven didn’t make it home till Sunday at 8:00 pm.  He also had to endure another night with the quills in his face before we could take him to the vet on Monday at 8:30 am.  He’s still not quite himself, but he is coming around, at least physically.  Scooby’s really stiff and his paw is proving to be hard to walk on, but he bounced right back.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to call in the sightings of the dogs, and those that tried to help completely strange dogs and unknowns owners!   Your efforts made the world of difference!

While everyone was extremely helpful, I want to give a big thanks to specific people.  One being my friend Tree.  She gave me all the updates of the reported sightings, posted on Action for Animals Facebook, responded back to posts and inquiries, tracked me as I walked through the woods so I didn’t get lost, sent us phone numbers and helped to remind me to keep the faith and reach out to my inner Wonder Woman!  Thanks Tree, you rock!  She was saying prayers and asking for Saint Francis and Saint Anthony to pray for us too.  Then there was mom’s friend Mary, who called all the police departments, local and state and reached out to specific key individuals in the area to spread the word and retrieve updates.  All of the Planinsek’s were most certainly helpful and patient with us driving around their property yelling for our delinquents, and walking and driving our quad through their woods.  The Seminsky’s went out riding around looking for beasts.  Renee Yazvec Hall’s husband and son drove around after seeing the posts on Renee’s Facebook page.  They also offered their services if we needed them, and truly meant it!  And not to mention the fellows from Frowen’s garage went looking with trucks and quads.  Thanks everyone, and those who I did not mention, some taking it upon yourselves to make calls and assist.  Thank you!

Although everyone in the surrounding areas were more than helpful, a big kudos goes to PJ Self and his family.  That young man, saw the dogs and let us know.  Then joined our rescue team on foot and ran through the woods and made a huge circle to look for Seven.  He actually ran.  Seriously, I mean he actually ran!  He even kicked up some deer, I saw them leaping like gazelles through Steiner’s field, while PJ ran along the tree line, miles from his house!  We never asked, he just wanted to help out.  Thank you so very  much!

Thinking about it now, I wonder if our boys learned a lesson?  Somehow I doubt it!  But for now they are safe and sound!

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments
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