Singles Scavenger Hunt & MELODIME Show

Dare to be strong and courageous. That is the road. Venture anything.  ~Sherwood Anderson

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Thrill of the Hunt’s Singles Scavenger Hunt at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA 9/5/14

Since the days are slipping past me, I thought I’d share this idea before it has become the very past.

Look online and you’ll be flooded with activities in all areas, for all interests for families and adults alike.  Well, here is one for the singles. (21+)

Two weeks ago this Friday, on September 5, 2014, Thrill of the Hunt, a division of The Piper Corporation hosted our first ever singles scavenger hunt!  Espy Scavenger Hunt  Yes!  An option for those singles instead of the same old, which ultimately rests solely on the participants’ ability to strike up a conversation.  Nope!  Not this time.  This scavenger hunt was a non-threatening conversation starter, while having fun playing a game.

Again, to reiterate and for disclosure purposes, Thrill of the Hunt is my start-up company.  We exclusively develop and administer to scavenger hunts.  One might ask, for what?  Short answer, for any business function such as an outing, team building, a company picnic, a sales meeting, a conference or for a trade show to engage customers or potential prospects; for parties such as birthday, retirement, bachelor/bachelorette, bridal or baby shower or family reunion; or as a unique and exciting fundraiser.  Not only does Thrill of the Hunt build these private scavenger hunts but we also host our own public hunts.

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Thrill of the Hunt’s Singles Scavenger Hunt & MELODIME Show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA 9/5/14

The singles scavenger hunt was one of those public activities whereas the participants purchased a ticket in advance.  This particular event was coupled with the MELODIME show afterwards, if desired.  In addition, Thrill of the Hunt issued the adventurous singles a list of items to prepare them for the hunt, and in turn, they addressed such items as they chose.  The scavenger hunt was designed to prompt specific questions to keep the conversations flowing and not have awkward silence and to eliminate anxiety or uncomfortableness, while going through the clues and challenges.  Each participant had the freedom to choose who they spoke to, somewhat.

The outcome?  It was a small event, being the first one of its kind at this venue, which was Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia.  Being an administrator, I can only listen to the feedback and get a sense of the participants’ attitude and body language.  I was told it was a fun event, even though it would have been better with a larger group.  I couldn’t agree more, perhaps in the future.  Everyone did enjoy themselves and the conversations where certainly none stop.

On a side note, this is one of those rare occasions Kyle wasn’t able to assist me.  His thirteen years was not permitted in the facility that served alcohol.  Plus, with an event like this, he is definitely too immature to really understand, at least at this point in his life.  Plus, I can never gauge the quality of the participants.  At this event, they were all very pleasant nice people, but I’m sure I’ll have a few challenges as I continue offering the singles scavenger hunt.  I certainly hope not, and I haven’t thus far with any of my events, but it’s always a real possibility.  I don’t want Kyle exposed to potential problems, so he will remain on the sideline for now, at least with respect to the singles events.

I truly do love building scavenger hunts and administering to them!  Hence why I started this company.  Good thing!

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Thrill of the Hunt hosted the Singles Scavenger Hunt & MELODIME Show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA 9/5/14

Recently, I spoke to a gal on the phone regarding a bachelorette party she is having in Louisiana.  She thought we didn’t service that area.  We do!  These are exciting times and Thrill of the Hunt is expanding our reach to cover most cities.

We are also teaming up with different colleges and universities for a variety of activities, as well as different groups of all interests.  Recently, a few MeetUp groups reached out to me about scavenger hunt events and other themes.  Great idea!  In fact, 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 were also commissioned by Seton Hill University as an activity for their block party homecoming.  Join us in Greensburg, Pennsylvania tomorrow.  Told you a lot going on!

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, either on our website or email Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.  I seriously want to hear from you!

Now time for my marketing promotion of Thrill of the Hunt, as if I haven’t already.  If you are interested in a unique custom scavenger hunt or just want to discuss the possibilities, email me at Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com or fill out the form on our Contact Us page for a free quote.  We will get back to you within 24 business hours. I promise!

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!  (I thought of that all on my own)

 

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

Patron the Local Business & Show Appreciation

Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere.  ~Paul Ryan

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Me & Kyle at the Latrobe Banana Split Festival … showing our local support! Thrill of the Hunt 8/24/13

I’m a pretty practical chick.  Truly, I appreciate the area I live in and frequenting the local businesses.  When it comes down to it, I am a small town gal.  Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise, Perfect Gift – The Ugly Quilt  With that comes a pride for my area, including the small businesses.  This is something we are now trying to teach Kyle.  Why?  To always ensure our favorite stores are going to be around for years to come and to support our area.  Granted, this is not a guarantee due to other circumstances, but it’s a start.

No matter what, let me state I do believe in patronizing local stores and keeping mom and pop shops in business.  Granted, sometimes that means slightly higher prices but not always.  Everyone always complains about the cost of things, rightfully so in our economical rough times, but it’s not always the case.  I agree, paying outrages prices for the same item that could be shipped directly to your house is insane.  But a few extra bucks for the store down the street, I don’t really make a big deal about.  And believe it or not, sometimes the local stores have cheaper prices and usually better quality.

I too have been guilty of going online or making my purchases at the big old corporations, which there is nothing wrong with.  I mean, in most cases, those large corporations started out as something small, the local start-up company.  That is the joy of living in a republic, we have options and are free to choose.

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Colleen at the Seton Hill University Decoding the Past Scavenger Hunt. Thrill of the Hunt was part of the Alumni Weekend 6/8/14

What started this dissertation on small businesses?  The comic book store Kyle frequents, Westmoreland Gaming, Sportscards & Comics. Yes, his new hang out to play Warmachine.  Kyle, being a child of our century, is no stranger to going online to looking things up and to making online purchases.  So when he started to get into Warmachine, naturally the kid went to the virtual stores to compare prices with those of the comic book store, especially since he was spending his own money.  What did he find?  Some prices where a couple bucks cheaper online, nothing drastic.

Nicole had a great idea with respect to this issue.  To help the comic book store and Kyle, she actually gives Kyle the difference, so he would continue to patron the comic book store.  After all, it’s only right considering he practically lives there now, playing Warmachine with others and getting advice on the game and just plain taking up space.  This is our way of showing our appreciation.

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Kyle hanging with Mr. Rogers statue in Pittsburgh, Pa. Setting up the Class of 1984 Scavenger Hunt Fundraiser by Thrill of the Hunt. 4/26/14

Please keep in mind the guys that work at the comic book store, as well as the customers, are so very nice.  Truly, going above and beyond helping Kyle out and being very welcoming of our little teenager.  Warmachine Tournament They don’t stop there, they are really friendly with mom, Nicole and me too!  Mom told me while she was sitting there patiently waiting on Kyle to wrap up his battle the one day, Cody, the store manager offered mom something to drink.  Again, well above and beyond, hence the reason for our support.  They order items they don’t have stocked, which usually arive within a week, they are friendly and courteous to EVERYONE who walks in the door and it’s a true family establishment.  Westmoreland Gaming, Sportscards & Comics tolerate no riff raff or anyone acting in a way that is not conducive to family values and an environment for children.

Appreciation doesn’t always come in the form of money.  It can be done in many different ways.

Example, every year mom and I stock up on flowers and plants to decorate the headstones and to plant the garden, respectively. We frequent a small nursery in Derry, Pennsylvania, Orazios.  They are a wonderful family business, who are so very nice, not to mention their prices can’t be beat.  They also have such great quality plants, flowers and veggies, it would be stupid on our behalf not to purchase from them.

How do we show appreciation for their lower prices, good quality plants and excellent customer service, ultimately their family business?  We obviously shop there, but we also simply don’t take anything for granted.  To further demonstrate my point, after mom and I go around and plant the headstones, we don’t discard the plastic containers.  Yes, those thin plastic containers that hold either four or six plants, plus the plastic flats that hold all the plants.  Nope, we don’t like to waste anything.  Those items cost money and the more a business has to replace, the more it costs.  Like it or not, costs are always turned around to be picked up by the patron, basic business.  I believe in thinking ahead, going out of my way to stop waste by returning such items to be reused.

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Me at the POP TRiViA Scavenger Hunt by Thrill of the Hunt, for ECHO Real Estate Services company outing. 6/25/14

Think about it.  If everyone thought to do such an action, then the savings would add up.  In an ideal world, the decreased overhead would be passed along to the customer.  Seriously, if not, I’m fine with the local business making more profit.  That means they will be in business for years to come.  Putting aside extenuating circumstances, that’s probably the number one reason businesses go out of business, lack of profits.  After all that’s why they are in business in the first place, among other reasons I’m sure.  So if they make more profits and yet still sell great quality products at lower prices, win win for everyone.

Just thinking outside the box, maybe if it’s a local coffee shop, (I know I don’t drink coffee but work with me)  bringing in your travel mug when getting a coffee to go.  Or bringing your own bag instead of taking the store plastic bag.  I guess, these are just good practices anyway to eliminate waste and excess.

Please also keep in mind, large name brands could fall into this category.  Example, franchises are sometimes owned by local patrons.  They are also the ones who sponsor events like little leagues and they give back to the community and supply jobs to the area.  Just because they have a big name associated to a business, behind the curtain could be your neighbor.

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Thrill of the Hunt in Annapolis, MD for the Heart & Soul Scavenger Hunt, Davita’s company outing 3/18/14

Thrill of the Hunt
Yes, I too am a small business owner, a local Latrobe, Pennsylvanian homegrown company.  Being the co-owner of Thrill of the Hunt, a division of The Piper Corporation, we develop and administer to theme scavenger hunts for business functions, fundraisers, events and all sorts of parties, you get the point.  We also host public scavenger hunt events, our more popular being our dog scavenger hunts.  I could go on about our company so if anyone is interested, I can be reached at heather@PiperCorporation.com or visit our website Thrill of the Hunt.

Granted, I don’t have a retail store, but it is nice to see the local people wanting us to succeed. There is nothing better than positive vibes!  How do they do that?  Sometimes the best support is speaking honestly over my company, either good or bad.  I appreciate the feedback, ultimately helping to make my product and services better.

Also, the best support comes in the form of word-of-mouth.  When I hear others telling their friends and family about Thrill of the Hunt, I really get excited and it helps to recharge my battery.  Not to mention, those who have participated in one of my scavenger hunts are excited about them.  It’s even better when the scavenger hunt is still being talked about long after the event.  I love to hear that!  That’s exactly what I want, others to enjoy themselves and just plain have a great time!

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Jenny Singer with Thrill of the Hunt at Steelerfest in Latrobe, PA. 8/2/13

Believe it or not, just because I am a Latrobe based business, I also help the areas I attend in many different ways.  With our public scavenger hunts, I try and incorporate the small local businesses, adding them as part of the scavenger hunt, driving traffic directly to their doorstep.  I also train Thrill Leaders to work my scavenger hunts, providing experience and employment in those particular areas.

Now don’t get me wrong, if a company has poor quality or horrible service then they are on their own as far as I’m concerned.  If you take those negative aspects and add in no selection or terrible hours, then they need to reconsider their business and either make adjustments or part ways.  Just because they are local, doesn’t mean I, as a customer have to be treated as an after thought.  Nope!

So what is the point of this?  Simply patronize local businesses and home grown companies.  Take the few extra minutes to think like a business owner with respect to recycling or saving them costs or offering them constructive feedback.  It could mean saving you money in the long run or having a local business that will go above and beyond for you, which might come in handy one day.  There are many ways to show appreciation, even by writing a blog entry, reading it and passing it along!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Farming & Planting,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts,Video Games & Games and have No Comments

Lessons From a Cell Phone

Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.  ~Steven Spielberg

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Me as Iron Man in Toys R Us. Kyle snapped my picture on my phone. We sent it to Aunt Nikki! 1/11/2014

Kyle’s had a cell phone for a little over a year now.  It’s nothing fancy, no smartphone but it works to send and receive calls and text messages, perfect for a twelve-year old.

However, Kyle loves my iPhone!  He has for as long as I’ve had one, and he’s been itching to get his hands on one too.  Right before I got the iPhone 5, Kyle looked at me with wide eyes suggesting that I should give him my old one and I get the new one.  Great thinking kid, but NO!  At the time Kyle was eleven.  To be honest I thought about it, putting the extra cost aside, which was a big factor considering I knew how much data time Kyle would use; and putting aside the security I would need to put on the phone similar to his iPod to try and remove inappropriate content from reaching Kyle’s eyes and permanently taking up space in his mind; I was stopped at the idea of Kyle getting everything he wants and having too much.

Yes, the later really weighed in on me.  It’s not that I don’t want Kyle to have everything and every opportunity in the world, because I do and yet I don’t.  I want him to appreciate what he has and work toward better, like life should be.  It shouldn’t just be a hand out, especially for no reason.  That’s a huge lesson in itself that even adults have a hard time accepting.  I want Kyle to be better, to be a better person.

Aunt Heather Piper as Iron Man Kyle texting Aunt Nikki 1-11-2014

Kyle texting his Aunt Nikki 1/11/2014

At the time of my phone purchase, it wasn’t his birthday or a special occasion and Kyle hasn’t impressed me with all his volunteer work (meaning none, except being an alter boy at church) nor has he gone out of his way to be an exceptional child.  Not that he’s a bad kid, absolutely not!  He’s a great kid, but again I want him to learn these lessons now to be an even better adult.  Nope, all reasons for my decision not to give him his own iPhone.

Granted, I know other children, probably younger than Kyle have smartphones.  Great!  That’s none of my business nor do I care.  I’m sure the parents have their reasons, like I have mine and I’m happy for the child.  However, in my particular case, it was not going to happen, at least not yet.  Did Kyle did mention about his friends who have iPhones?   You bet that stinker did, and he tried to sell me on the idea that he already knows how to work one.  Yes, it’s true not the reasoning, as I tried to explain.  Honestly, that single comment about his friends brought a smile to my face, not because I’m a cynical person, which sometimes I am, but because it helped and continues to help me teach Kyle.

What are these lessons?  Simply humility, Kyle doesn’t have to have the best and flaunt it (not that he really does); patience, good things come to those who wait; appreciation, so he never takes what he has for granted, which he does like most kids, so I feel this is a much needed lesson; adaptability, learning to use what you have at ground level, if you can do that you can work with anything; minimalism, I didn’t want to clutter Kyle with too many electronics, even though it’s too late.  The list goes on and on.  I want to give Kyle an opportunity to live life and enjoy it for what it is, not through the eyes of electronics.  I don’t want him to be the person who is only focusing on his or her smartphone that they don’t pay attention to their children crying for their attention or the world around them and truly missing life, or the man who literally walked into a bear while texting.  (Yes it was caught on camera somewhere.  A bear was running a muck in a neighborhood and they needed to tranquilize it and the guy was so focused on texting he ran into it then quickly ran away.)

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Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group 1st meeting of the year. They participated in a Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunt Meet & Greet. 9/2013

Please don’t mistake my opinions and dissertation for a hatred toward mobile devices, because it’s not.  I love my phone and I use it probably too often.  I also love being able to call or text Kyle and reach him whenever, except when it’s not charged or when he’s playing video games.  However, if he wants something he will call and call and call and text and text and text till he reaches me.

Then, there are those cases when the phone gets Kyle in trouble.  Yes, this one is really not Kyle’s fault.  This one comes straight from Kyle’s mold, his Aunt Nikki.  A few weeks ago, trusty old Aunt Nikki decided to call Kyle in the middle of the day, thinking he was home from school due to the snow.  Guess what?  He wasn’t, he was sitting in the middle of class when his phone rang.  I asked Kyle why he didn’t have it turned off and he confessed, “I thought I did, I must have sat on it and it turned on.”  I totally believe the kid because nothings worse to him than getting in serious trouble with authority figures, especially being sent to the principal’s office.  He did the dreaded walk down the hall into the unknown trouble, giving that kid the worst anxiety.  Kyle said, “We were just about done with class when the phone rang and I knew it was Aunt Nikki!”

Kyle's youth group meeting text Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle’s youth group meeting text message to me.. cracked me up! 2014

What did Aunt Nikki have to say?  She laughed and called me to tell me she got Kyle in trouble.  It’s true, I did giggle along with her, knowing how devastated Kyle was over the situation and knowing he doesn’t like to break rules and get in trouble, but it was all in good fun.  Nicole said the next time this happens, Kyle gets detention.  Boy that will just kill him!  Sorry bud, but that was funny!

Now for a positive note regarding Kyle’s cell phone.  Keep in mind most of my pictures and video of me and Kyle, as well as records of his daily life are streamed from my phone keeping friends and family updated on the package.  Good thing!  There are also so many, many more great reasons for Kyle to have a cell phone, especially in his particular case.  I won’t get into all that but I would like to share a funny story that had me cracking up!

About a month ago, Kyle had a youth group meeting at Sacred Heart School for the Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia’s Youth Group.  They asked the parents and guardians to be there because they were discussing major events that involved all parties.  As they were throwing around ideas and discussing them, they were asking for volunteers to spearhead specific items.  I did volunteer to for a specific job.  After it was discussed and agreed upon, I heard my phone beep with a text message.  Knowing it could be anyone for Thrill of the Hunt, my clients or my family, I looked down to see one Mr. Kyle Piper’s name across the screen.  Sitting across the room from me was that little critter smiling while holding onto his phone.  The text read, “That means u.”

While the meeting was going on, I busted out laughing and looked right at Kyle.  He gave me an ornery look with this cute little mischievous grin.  I was smiling from ear to ear, now not paying attention to the meeting and getting sucked into his silliness.  Naturally, I began to text him back.  It was seriously so much fun and worth the distraction.  It was our own inside joke that humored both of us equally.  Love that little man!  Sometimes his communication skills scare me and sometimes he has the best personality and is so quick witted.

I guess with everything there is good and bad, all depending on the user and the intent.  Everything in moderation, taking away extremes helps to create a full and balanced life.  Like it or not, cells phones are here to stay.

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

Communication Skills Need Some Work

Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.  ~Jim Rohn

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Brenda Shaffer, Michael Fecik & me speaking at the 3rd Annual – Customer Centricity: Serving Clients & Employees Panel at Seton Hill University for Dr. Giunta.  Q & A Session!  11/12/13

Talking to Kyle yesterday on the phone, made me realize something, the kid has no verbal communication skills, at least not on the phone.  I know this is no revelation, but worth noting and addressing.   After all he is my pre-teen and has to learn to proper communication.

Face-to-face, Kyle is not a shy person, not in the slightest.  He has no qualms asking for assistance in stores or asking anyone, for anything to get what he wants at any time.

When family members or any adult figure speaks directly to him, asking about school or Christmas or some general topic of conversation, he usually just spouts out, ‘Good’ or something very brief, to the point and simple, with maybe a head nod.  I get that, he’s a kid and really doesn’t want to be participating in the conversation where he has no vested interest.  For when he does have a stake to the claim, he can rule the words to make himself and his purpose known.  So I never would peg Kyle as needing direction when speaking on the phone.  But it’s true!

Keep in mind we are too used to Kyle, and take him for who he is, which every child should be accepted!  But what I’m talking about, is coaching and assisting him throughout his journey of life, making him a better person for whatever his future endeavors might be.   Plus, let’s not forget sometimes his cryptic sentences drive me crazy!  This kid is twelve years old and his communication skills need to grow and mature with him.

Now back to the matter at hand, yesterday’s conversation.  I called him to see what he was doing, if he practiced his piano, how school was, you know the standard run of the mill questions.  Kyle initially said “Hi”.  Good we are off to a great start.  We might need to work on his influction and ease of his voice, but nevertheless, good.  Then after starting my conversation, trying to prompt some response from him, Kyle just said, “Ya, can you get me Saturday?”  As if he could care less about the questions and dismissed me, completely!  Immediately I retorted, “That’s great buddy, but how about ‘Hi Aunt Heather school was good.  I still have to practice my piano.  So I was thinking, would you mind picking me up on Saturday?'” As I reiterated a ‘normal’ conversation back to him he just made an ‘ok’ noise and was pretty dismissive as usual.

Then I said, “Kyle you are going to have to work on your verbal communication skills.  No more it’s all about you and what you want.  You need to participate in a nice conversation, Not one where I have to solve a riddle to understand it.”  Then, all I heard was “Ok” with a little chuckle.  He’s a smart kid, he knows what I’m talking about.

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Yours truly, speaking at the 3rd Annual Customer Centricity: Serving Clients & Employees Panel for Seton Hill University. Talking about The Piper Corporation & Thrill of the Hunt. 11/12/13

I don’t get it, I really don’t?  Is it generational?  Is it his personality?  Is it just with my family?  Is it maturity?  Whatever it is, I don’t give a flying fig.  He is going to learn to correct his poor communication skills.  Kyle cannot think he can walk around speaking to people with only his agenda on his mind and a cryptic one at best.  Nope, not no my watch!

Seriously, he wasn’t always like that.  Or was he?  All I remember is this little two year old, who was just learning to speak (after getting his ears checked and the problems temporarily fixed) sitting in the backseat of my car, talking into his Finding Nemo toy phone.  He loved that thing.  I got it for him because he expressed an interest in phones, usually he had his eye on mine.  So I told him he could have one of his own that had lights and made noises.

One day we were driving and he was talking.  I mean carrying on a conversation.  I said, “Hey buddy who are you talking to?”  He said, talking into the phone as a real person was on the other end, “Hang on, Aunt Heather is talking to me.”  What?  Then he replied, “I’m talking to Aunt Nitti, what you want?”  Too cute!  All I could do was feel embarrassed I interrupted him and said, “O, sorry buddy, tell her I said hi and to call me later.”  That little munchkin turned back into the phone and said, “Ok, I’m back, Aiya said ‘Hi’ and to call her later.”  Then, to really play out the conversation how it would be in real life, he turned to me and said, “Aunt Nitti said, Ok”.  I was dying!  My heart melted!  That’s one of those moments when you wish the entire world was watching and enjoying it with you.  At least my family.

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Me speaking at Seton Hill University for 3rd Annual Customer Centricity: Serving Clients & Employees Panel. Starting off with The Piper Corporation & Thrill of the Hunt! 11/12/13a

He continued on this “conversation” for a while, pausing every now-and-again to answer a question and to ask a question like, “When are you coming home?” or “What presents do you have for me?”.  Once he was tattling on me and said, “Ya Aunt Nitti, Aiya drives like a race car driver.”  What?  Even in his imagination world he tattled on me!  At the end of his conversations,  I always heard him say, “Ok, I’ll talk to you later, bye.”  before closing this bright blue plastic flip phone and putting the antenna down.   Too much!

Now I know the kid knows how to carry on a normal conversation, at least an imaginary one.  That’s a start!  So why doesn’t he?  Is is because he’s being lazy?  Or is too used to us and knows no matter what, we love him and will do anything for him so he cuts to the chase?  I can respect that, for I am too impatient with responses and I like to get to the point when I’m in a hurry.  Now that I’ve admitted my behavior, is Kyle like me?  Is he picking up my candor?  Yikes!  I better watch it!

However, the difference between my communication skills and his, besides years of experience is the quality.  I know how to carry on a conversation, I know how to give pleasantries, I know how to be “normal”, kind of.  I’m not that convinced with him, not just yet.  Until then, I think Mr. Kyle is going to get a lesson on phone etiquette until it sticks to his brain and falls out his mouth and becomes secondary to his communication skills.  After all, parents, or in my case Auntie has to be the life coaches for these children.  Kids don’t know what is not taught.  So I’ll take the time and usually the headache that accompanies these lessons, to teach him as best as I know how.  Not that Kyle has to be like me, not in the slightest, I want him to develop his own style, but there needs to be a foundation for him to build on.  Here we go!

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

One Month Flew By – Time Does Fly

But meanwhile time flies; it flies never to be regained.  ~Virgil
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Kyle & Nicole exchanging gifts at Christmas 12/24/10

Everyone finds themselves saying this at least a few times in their life, ‘Where did the time go?’  These fast few weeks, actually past month has been a whirlwind.  Just to recap, mostly for my own sanity, there was hunting in New York, then I was on set for a couple of days for a new television series shot in Pittsburgh, then Thanksgiving came and went, then hunting season for two weeks locally, then my parents Wedding Anniversary, then the Discovering Portage Scavenger Hunt, and Christmas tree shopping with the family.  Those are just the highlights.  I’m sure I’ll elaborate on each of these as I find the time in my schedule, but I wanted to get my thoughts organized to what seriously has been going on.

This past weekend alone was busy, busy, busy.  I guess this time of year most people find that the case.  Administering to the Discovering Portage Scavenger Hunt, in Portage, Pennsylvania took up a better part of my Saturday.  Of course the days leading up in preparation for an event, is also equally time consuming.  The Portage Winterfest commissioned Thrill of the Hunt to develop and administer to the Discovering Portage Scavenger Hunt for their Winterfest.  Great idea!
Discovering Portage Scavenger Hunt Thrill of the Hunt Aunt Heather Piper
The weatherman was forecasting a huge blizzard, which really wasn’t the case, but the snow did randomly fall.  Seriously, it was so pretty!  Portage is about sixty some miles from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, about an hour and half to get there, opposite direction of Pittsburgh.  Not a huge commute, but a little bit of a challenge with snowy roads.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have no issues driving in the snow, at all.  But as common sense dictates, I am not invincible on the white covered roads and I needed to adjust my speed to reflect the weather, so it became a little more of a road trip.
As we were driving along, I couldn’t help but reflect on my sister’s Penn State University years.  Picking her up, bringing her back and visiting Nicole at Penn State forced us to drive past Portage with every trip.  So this little coal mining town was not foreign to me, but a familiar sign along the roadway.
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Finishing up the SpyRing Scavenger Hunt in Latrobe, Pa! Proceeds were donated to rebuild Playland! — Lain Marie Fisher, Rachel Berger-Gregg, Sarah Rosenbaum & Aaron Fish at Legion-Keener Park. 9/22/12

It was great having MaRissa accompany me on this job.  However, it was bittersweet not having my little helper right beside me.  Where was Kyle?  He had to work the soup kitchen in Latrobe for the Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia Youth Group, and it was the last day of hunting in Pennsylvania.  Making the most of the opportunity when Kyle can’t assist me, I like to bring on new blood.  It helps me to train others and prepares me for future expansion of Thrill of the Hunt.  I’m not saying anyone that has worked for me will make Thrill of the Hunt their career choice, or maybe they will, but it does give them working experience and extra moola.  Plus it gives me an extra body and assistance.  Win, win for everyone.

When I finally rolled into town, Kyle was putting the finishing touches on with respect to the Christmas decorations at my parent’s house.  He did a great job, even lighting the candles so I had the full ambiance when I walked in the door!  It’s nice walking into a home that is decorated in the spirit of Christmas, with the fireplace on, snow covering the ground outside and still falling and my little man truly enjoying himself.  Perfect home feeling!
Shortly after settling in, we went to Saturday mass at Holy Family.  Why going out of our norm?  We chose that church because they offer an early Saturday mass.  The evening was promised to Kyle and a night in the movie theater.
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Elliott, MaRissa & Chris participating in the Thrill of the Hunt, Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for the Seton Hill University Homecoming weekend. Great job! 9/21/13

That was the moment Kyle was waiting for, literally for months, The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug.  I must say I was in complete agreement with Kyle.  I too have been waiting to see this movie with much anticipation.  We both loved The Hobbit the book and the first movie and couldn’t wait for part deux.
Usually I take Kyle to the Carmike Cinema behind Westmoreland Mall off of Route 30, however I wasn’t too keen on driving up the highway with the roads in question.  They were a mix of snow, rain and slush, teetering on brink of freezing into sheets of ice.  So we went locally to the Latrobe 30 Theatre & Cafe.  To us, we didn’t care either way, we both wanted to continue the adventure of The Hobbit.  I just wanted to do it safely with my precious cargo.
Was it worth it?  Heck yes! I’m sure I’ll talk about it later, but Kyle and I had a great time watching that movie.  Now we can’t wait for the third and final Hobbit series, scheduled for release in December of 2014.  A year from now!
On Sunday, my family went to get a Christmas tree.  Yes, we’ve never had a fake Christmas tree and will never own one.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh pine in the house.  It’s presence alone brings nature indoors and really feels good on the soul.  Plus it’s a nice continued tradition of picking out the focal point of the living-room for the Christmas season.
Later on that day, Kyle had Christmas play practice for his youth group.  Apparently, Kyle is running the lights.  While he was doing that I was getting a jump on my next scavenger hunt, Heart & Soul Scavenger Hunt.  This one if for a work Christmas party in Annapolis Maryland.  Yes, it’s outdoors!  And yes, it’s for a company that manages and administers to kidney care.  No, I didn’t call it Heart & Soul on purpose.  The title was to reflect the caring nature of these workers and the great job they do and the joy they bring to others who are sick.  I can’t wait to administer to this scavenger hunt on Tuesday!
Lots happening, lots going on, lots to look forward too.
posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts,Travels and have No Comments

Doggie in Disguise? Scavenger Hunt?

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  ~Roger Caras

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Winner of best Costume! Way to go Molly! Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt in Latrobe, Pa. 10/19/13

It’s funny, this is my first year not planning for Kyle’s Halloween costume.  I guess once you hit twelve years old and are in the seventh grade, kiss trick-or-treating goodbye, as well as all the candy.  I’ve always looked forward to this time of year with Kyle, but my little man is maturing.  Well, as much as a Piper can.

What fills this void?  A Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt of course.  Yes, Thrill of the Hunt hosted the first ever Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  What exactly does this mean?  No, the dogs were not expected to find items but they did dress up in disguise, walked alongside their owners and joined in on an adventure throughout the city of Latrobe.

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Zoey as Batman at the Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt in Latrobe, Pa. 10/19/13

This event was a laid back and easy going scavenger hunt, an activity for dogs, their owners and the whole family to enjoy.  After all, The Piper Corporation does encourage family fun and togetherness, building and reinforcing the bonds of the family. The participants were given clues and riddles to find out which store in downtown Latrobe they needed to stop by.  As I’ve always said, part of my scavenger hunt strategy is to encourage foot traffic directly to specific participating local stores and shops to reinforce branding and to give them an advertising opportunity.  I want to help local merchants and the communities alike.

Once the Thrill Seekers (those who participate in a Thrill of the Hunt scavenger hunt) arrived at a correct location, the participants collected dog toys and treats with each stop.  This particular scavenger hunt contained a total of seven missions and online challenges, an increase from past scavenger hunts.  I might just add a few more stops to next year’s Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt, extending the fun even more!  Everyone was also asked to conduct online challenges that included taking pictures and video of them with their dog at specific locations, making the event more thought provoking and interactive.

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Angie & her family joining the Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt in Latrobe, Pa. 10/19/13

What makes this scavenger hunt so much fun and just plain hilarious?  The dog costumes!  Yes, the dogs were dressed in their Halloween best!  When everyone finished finding their clues we gathered at the finish line, which happened to be the Family Video parking lot.  There, our non-bias outsider, John was present to judge the costumes, picking a winner.

Congratulations Molly, Super-girl won!

I will admit, that was the best part of the scavenger hunt!  Some of the costumes totally cracked me up!  There was a turtle, batman and joker, a witch and Elvis, among other very creative costumes.  In fact, one family told me since their daughter was too old for trick-or-treaing, they thought they would dress up the family dogs and take them out. Perfect idea!

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Elvis even made his appearance at the Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt in Latrobe, Pa. 10/19/13

Prior to planning the event, I worked with Darlene Smucker from the B & D Activity Center in Latrobe.  She owns a huge indoor dog facility that she brings in vets, hosts competitions and dog training sessions, among other 4-legged activities.  Perfect start location.  Both parties, B & D Activity Center and Family Video graciously let us use their space for the morning.  I also worked with Nick from the City of Latrobe to coordinate this scavenger hunt on the day of Latrobe’s Autumn Fest.

Everything certainly came together nicely.  God even blessed us with a nice brisk sunny day, perfect for walking around in the fall air, among the multicolored foliage of Latrobe.

Since the completion of the scavenger hunt, the Action for Animals Humane Society in Latrobe contacted me about maybe joining efforts to create one big event to benefit both parties.  I think that would be a great idea!  I’m totally game!  My friend Tree actually suggested the same thing earlier this year, but it looks like it might happen for the next annual Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt.

I’ve been working on Thrill of the Hunt full time for nearly six months now.  And as I’ve been developing and administering to these hosted scavenger hunt events, I thought how I could give back, making my scavenger hunts even more community friendly?  Eventually, when our popularity and participation increases, I will have the resources to donate a portion of the proceeds back to local charities, with respect to the themed scavenger hunt.  Another goal I would be happy to fulfill.

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Our participants had a lot of fun at the Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt in Latrobe, Pa. Can’t wait till next year! 10/19/13

My buddy, Kyle joined in administering to Saturday’s Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt.  Even Aunt Nikki made her appearance with Avery (a.k.a. Acron) wearing her angel wings, just as the judging was to begin.

I really truly can’t wait for next year!  It’ll be even better!

On a side note, I want to give my friend Holly a big shout out!  She not only walked around with me passing out flyers for the Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunt but she also was my biggest cheerleader with her fellow dog friends, spreading the word on our event and building the excitement!  If she ever wants to quit nursing, she has a job with me in marketing and event planning.  Thanks Holsters!

Check out all the pictures on the Thrill of the Hunt Gallery Page, the Facebook Page, the Pinterest Page, as well as the videos on the Youtube Channel.  Please support our local start-up company and Like US and Follow Us!  Remember, everyone needs to … Experience the Game!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Add Thrill of the Hunt to the Latrobe List

The road to success is always under construction. ~Arnold Palmer

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Nick & Kyle hanging with Brutus at Legion Keener Park in Latrobe Pa. 2013

Being a Latrobe native doesn’t just mean that I have a specific location I can point to on the map and declare, ‘I’m from here!’  Nope!  Stating this fact holds a lot more, the history, the traditions, those who have paved the way for others and also the pride of the people and surrounding areas.

Many can claim the same about their area, but we, Latrobeans are truly a special breed. I’m not saying my broad stroke, ideal perception is consistent across the board one hundred percent true for everyone, but from my observations and where my heart stands, it is.

Latrobe is one of those typical small towns. You know the kind, most everyone knows each other and in my case because I’m a Piper, somehow I’m related to everyone. Latrobe is also large enough to give a little elbow room when desired. Originally it was a borough and then made into a city. Latrobe was named after Benjamin Latrobe. It’s true, it’s not suppose to be pronounced with a long “a” sound. However, if you are from Latrobe, you use the incorrect pronunciation, that’s our badge of honor and proof that we are true Latrobeans.  Yes I know, we also have the typical Western Pennsylvania slang, and distinct accent criticized by all, but there is so much more.

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Me & Kyle at the Banana Split Festival at our Thrill of the Hunt booth in Latrobe, Pa. 8/24/13

What else makes Wildcat Country truly special? Well, lets start with the accomplishments surfacing from this area and the people. Even though it’s not official because it was never really proven, Latrobe is home to the first professional football game ever played. At least, that’s how I always understood it. Incidentally, Latrobe is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp, held at Saint Vincent College every year. Latrobe, mirroring our neighbor Pittsburgh has very much the same die hard type of personality. “Pittsburghers” are known world wide for their dedication to the city, especially the Steelers. I mean, we have Steelernation! Latrobe projects the same pride and love of the city, for both Pittsburgh and Latrobe.

Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Scavenger-Hunt-Banana-Split-Latrobe-Pa-2013 Aunt Heather Piper

Me & what I thought was a Guerrilla Girl (nope). Banana Split Festival in Latrobe Pa. at the Thrill of the Hunt booth. 8/24/13

Saint Vincent College, Latrobe’s very own, unbeknownst to many has a history that impacted many around the world for different reasons. Long before the college was the Steelers training home base, Saint Vincent Church was the first Benedictine monastery in the United States, founded by Boniface Wimmer, a monk from Bavaria Germany. The monks not only started the Catholic tradition and built a beautiful church that turned into the college, but they also held the recipe for Rolling Rock Beer, home grown form the fields of good old Latrobe Pennsylvania.

Growing up around the Rolling Rock Brewery, I never realized how famous the beer really was, until one trip changed all that. During one of my senior high band field trips, we went to New York City. A small town Latrobe girl in the big apple. Naturally, we did all the touristy things, but on our final day, we participated in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. On a side note, up until that point, that was the most I’ve ever walked in one trip, ever! My feet and legs were so sore from marching miles on the New York streets I thought I would collapse. Anyway, as we marched along, and the crowds took note of our banner, ‘Greater Latrobe Marching Band’, they began to yell. It wasn’t making fun, or ridiculing us in any way, it was praise and excitement! They were yelling, “Latrobe! #33 Rolling Rock!” I’m not talking a small group of drunken individuals. I’m talking pretty much the entire city of New York! We were famous! Living in my own corner of the world being oblivious to outsiders, I had no idea that anyone knew who we were! Let alone loved us! People, cheered for our group of Latrobe natives and truly loved recognizing us. It was great! It was at that moment, I didn’t take it for granted that I was a Latrobean, a Wildcat!

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Nick & Kyle making a friend (Brutus) at Legion Keener Park in Latrobe, Pa. 2013

Beer is not only our claim to fame and neither are our black and yellow footfall fans. Latrobe has birthed some inspiring people. One being Mr. Fred Rogers who graduated from Latrobe High School. Actually, my grandpap Chester went to school with him and I believe Mr. Rogers was the class president. Graduating from the freshly built Latrobe Senior High School, my mom and brother and sister all walked down the same halls and graduated from the same alma mater. Mr. Rogers lived not far from my parents house in Edgewater. Some may not know or remember the TV personality, but he had a show for children on PBS, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001). One of his sweaters is actually on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. He had many more accomplishments, but he was made famous from his show and calming personality.

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Ice-Cream Joe, Valley Dairy (My first job) in celebration of the Banana Split Festival in Latrobe, Pa. 8/24/13

A friend of Mr. Rogers, and matching or perhaps exceeding in popularity would be our very own golf professional, Arnold Palmer. Yep the inducted World Golf Hall of Fame Latrobean was born and breed in the area. He too doesn’t live far from my parents house, right down the road from the Greater Latrobe High School. Every once in a while, I would see him pulling out of his driveway and I heard he still flies his plane in and out of the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe. Personally, I’ve never met the man, but I’ve known many who have and have commented on what a great guy he is. He was not only known in the golf world but to presidents too. I remember when Mr. Palmer’s wife, Winny (Winifred) passed away, former president George Herbert Walker Bush came to town to pay his respects.

More recently, Latrobe made their mark again with proving they are the home of the original banana split. Yes, invented by Latrobean David Strickler came the banana split. He didn’t just stop there, he also created the banana split boat to hold the ice-cream dessert.

This past weekend was the Banana Split Festival in Latrobe. Great time by all! I represented Thrill of the Hunt as part of the local vendors. We had a perfect sunny day and I loved running into old friends and meeting some new ones. Everyone was very encouraging and supportive about our start-up company. It was inspiring!

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The New Playland in Legion Keener Park, Latrobe Pa. 2013

Latrobe has produced greatness, yet remains humble and true to our roots. I love this city and what it stands for. Thrill of the Hunt is home grown in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and I hope my company will continue to bring the pride back to Latrobe like many before me.

There is a lot more to Latrobe and I just touched on a few. Everyone should take some time and visit this lovely area, nestled in at the base of the Laurel Highlands. And those who have since moved away, should stop back. It’s a great place to live and do business. I am proud to be a Latrobean through and through. Even Kyle has taken on the title of Latrobe native, well after all he was born and partially raised here. He considers himself a Wildcat and I agree, he is!

 

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

WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt & a Puppy In a Day

Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.  ~Hermann Hesse

WannaBe-80s-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event in Shadyside. Great time! 8/17/13

This past Saturday proved to hold an exciting day!  My sister was on her way home with a new bundle of puppy.  The very same day, my company, Thrill of the Hunt, was holding another scavenger hunt event in Shadyside, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, called the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt.  Not to mention a big day wouldn’t be complete without a little attitude and whining from Kyle.

Let’s start in the early afternoon with the arrival of Avery Piper.  This 20 pound cute playful puppy really turned the house inside out.  Scooby, being a grumpy old man was not too pleased to have the rambunctious visitor.  He was growling and nipping and just plain being a bully.  Pretty much everything we expected out of Scooby.  Seven on the other hand was curious and almost excited to have a new friend.  Maybe he remembered how hard it was to be the new doggie on the block.  Seven had to deal with Scooby solo and maybe Seven just wanted to be a mentor, a friend to Avery.

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Nicole hanging with Avery! Don’t let her cute looks fool you! She’s a stinker! 8/17/13

Then let’s discuss, Storm, my cat.  She is a year old and is not very friendly with other people, strange places and certainly not puppies.  She was clearly the one who was the most upset.  She sat up in her perch (This is a tree house type of structure I built for her.  It stands about six feet tall and is equipped with multilevel sitting areas and carpeting.  It’s a place for her to escape the dogs.) and puffed up till she resembled a soft fluffy ball of cat.  She was hissing, and growling, and spitting and swatting her razor sharp claws (I can attest to that!) at the completely ignorant puppy.  Did I mention, as far as we know, Avery has never seen a cat before?  So this was a real treat for her.  Her Avery, not her Storm.

Avery, a.k.a. Acorn (yes I already gave her another name to instigate my sister!) was just so happy to be hanging with all of us and truly didn’t understand the disdain of Storm and Scooby.  She was jumping on the furniture and wanting to play like it was a big party.  Even though I did soak up the playful energy projected from this short haired, pig tailed eared, clumsy, teething youngster, I was still concerned for the stress levels of my Storm.

WannaBe-80-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -5 Aunt Heather Piper

My perfect little Thrill of the Hunt assistant! He is a great businessman & he worked at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event. 8/17/13

While all this was going on, Kyle and I needed to get ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside.  It started at 3:30 pm, which means we needed to be there between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm to set up, sell any last minute tickets and hand out brochures to continue to get our name out there.  Not to mention it takes at least an hour from Latrobe to get to Pittsburgh, depending on the traffic.

Kyle and I had the car packed and everything ready.  I am not a procrastinator, I figure why give myself added stress that I can control, when there is always something unforeseen or uncontrollable that inevitably pops up.  That’s enough excitement for me, so that’s why Kyle and I packed the car and ran through our checklist the night prior.  We also went through the same list one last time before heading out, to cross our T’s and dot our i’s.

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Pap & Avery taking a nap together! 8/17/13

God has really blessed us in our new adventure.  I mean it.  Recently, Thrill of the Hunt has been commissioned to develop and administer the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University, the Pittsburgh Marathon is having Thrill of the Hunt build a scavenger hunt for the race expo, Exploring Inspiration Scavenger Hunt and for their 10k, 5k, Pet Walk in North Park this October, Witches Brew Scavenger Hunt.  Did I mention thus far, for all of our scavenger hunt events we’ve had perfect weather?  Yes!  I know the weather will never cooperate one hundred percent, but to start out and get acclimated to our scavenger hunt events, it certainly does help.

WannaBe-80s-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -19 Aunt Heather Piper

I’m ready to get the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt on the way! We had a perfect day! 8/17/13

The WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt went off without a hitch!  It’s funny, Kyle was being such a kid during the day, wanted everyone to play his card game and wanted to sit on his iPod and play games and not practice his piano or read his Lord of the Rings The Two Towers book, yet when he was in the car with me and most certainly when we got to Shadyside to set up, Kyle changed his tune quickly, without being asked.  Kyle didn’t complain one bit, he went right to work helping to set up and he even started reaching out the pedestrians supplying them with brochures.  He was supporting Thrill of the Hunt in best possible manner.  When he met with people, he shook their hands confidently and truly was the perfect assistant!  I don’t know if Kyle likes the work, enjoys being part of the company or is just innately aware I would kick his butt if he misbehaved.  But he was a great business partner and the perfect assistant!

Kyle & Aunt Heather Piper TextingEither way, as like most times hanging with Kyle, we had a great time!  I try to be very approachable and friendly to potential clients when I’m representing Thrill of the Hunt.  I stand by my station ready to answer inquisitive looks and comments as those unknown to Thrill of the Hunt walk by.  Yes, I stand for the hours it takes to complete the scavenger hunts, unlike Kyle.  One of his weaknesses.  To keep his body from complete shock, I had him stand with me in little spurts before he would retreat to his bench to sit and relax.  I’m fine with that, for now!

Kyle cracked me up!  During the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt, the participants not only had to figure out the riddles, but they had online challenges to execute as well.  I also had to review the online activity to see if anyone was stumped or questioning a specific clue.  Yes, so while I was greeting “passerbyers”, I was also following the online activity.  During all this, Kyle was texting my sister to see the status of the mad house back home.  Then, to throw me off my concentration, Kyle began to send me funny text messages, like asking if my legs were tired and calling me a Bad Girl (inside joke within our family due to the labeling on the butt of my sisters underwear).  Kyle was cracking me up!

Side story.  The last time I was down at my sisters, we were commissioned to develop and administer to the Discover Scavenger Hunt for a five year old birthday party.  That Friday night, after I got in, I came around the corner to ask Nicole something, while she was in the kitchen and what did my eyes read?  Yep, Bad Girl written across her underwear as she stood at the sink.  Immediately, I lost it!  I could barely say, “Bad Girl” when Nicole instantly busted out laughing, while running to the bathroom.  She was laughing so hard she had to pee!  Now I couldn’t just let something like that only be shared between the two of us, so I told my family.  Mom, died laughing!  Even dad got a chuckle out of it.  But Kyle thought it was the funniest thing he’s ever heard.  Since then, everyone once in a while we just say, “Bad Girl!”.  It cracks us all up!  Especially Kyle, who loves being in on the inside joke.

WannaBe-80-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -4 Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle promoting Thrill of the Hunt & getting ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside, Pittsburgh Pa. 8/17/13

Well, the feedback from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt participants were very positive.  I didn’t have a huge turnout, but enough to make the event fun.  It seems like I can’t give the tickets away for my scavenge hunt events lately, at least at present day.  Although I have a feeling, that comment will be just unbelievable and silly in the future.  Especially, when it catches on that these themed scavenger hunts are challenging, interactive and just plain fun!  Not to mention, my scavenger hunts also help to support and promote small communities and local merchants.  Win, win for everyone!

When we got back to the house, it was still standing and everyone learned to calm down a bit.  Kyle was back to being my fun little man again, especially after I was praising him for his help and behavior.  We celebrated with Primanti Brothers sandwiches and we rented The Burbs.  Perfect evening to a crazy day!

Please vote for Thrill of the Hunt!  We have a chance to win a commercial during the Superbowl!  We need all the votes!  Everyone can vote daily, so keep them coming!!

VOTE HERE!  Thrill of the Hunt

 

Check out the pictures / videos from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt from our Gallery page, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube!

Follow the Hunt!

                   

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

The Journey Begins

Elrond: So that is your purpose? To enter the Mountain?
Thorin Oakenshield: What of it?
Elrond: There are some who would not deem it wise.  ~J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit 

The-Hobbit-An Unexpected Journey Aunt Heather PiperIronically, I just stared reading The Hobbit.  Kyle read that book and has since proceeded in the subsequent books and is now currently reading The Lord of the Rings the Two Towers.  I got Kyle that series for Christmas I believe.  Partially because he was interested in the books, certainly a big fan of the movies, and secondly because I always wanted to read them myself.  Win.  Win.  Kyle loves it when I read books he’s already read or visa versa.  He loves discussing the stories, the characters, the events.  As do I, but I really enjoy hearing the story come to life through his eyes and straight from his imagination.

On a side note, Kyle has really come a long way with reading.  With his love of books, not only is he escaping into his own adventures, but the activity has certainly reinforced his schooling.  Reading class goes without saying, but also spelling and I believe social studies.  Looking back, all the trying to get Kyle to read and the arguments were well worth it!  I’m glad I never backed down and just accepted the situation as it was, of course with the help of my parents and my sister.  Not to mention the draw of movies helped assist me in my quest.

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Kyle reading Hunger Games at the IHOP. He wanted breakfast for dinner before piano lessons 2012

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey was made into a movie and was released December 14, 2012.  That I know for certain, because that weekend happened to follow my birthday.  Kyle said he wanted to take me to the movies in celebration.  Let’s get real, he really wanted to see the movie, much like myself, birthday or not and it was an excuse.  I’m fine with that!  Great reason!

On a side side note, Kyle is finally trusting my judgement in books and taking my books suggestions seriously.  Without questioning me, he will take any book and open the pages, knowing I would never steer him wrong. Love him!  As I’ve always told him, we are team!  Enough with the pats on my back, on with the journey.

Yes reading a book, especially a highly acclaimed children’s novel written in the 1930’s can certainly be an adventure.  Most books are to me, and I love every page.  But this journey is different, this is real life, a real leap of faith.  My life is moving in a new direction, an unexpected journey if you will, and I am extremely excited to partake.

It really hit me this past weekend and certainly all week.  Last Friday, was my last day at the office, last day of employment.  What now? Being there nearly eight years,  I walked out those doors, never looked back and was set on a new course of action.  The destination?  Virginia, to meet up with my sister.  Yes, all without a job.  So why head to Virginia?  You see, we sold one of our Thrill of the Hunt birthday scavenger hunt packages to the Falchetta family, who also happen to be my sister’s friend.  I was there to administer to the birthday party, as part of the purchased package.

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I guess Storm wants to read the Mortal Instrument Books & the Infernal Devices Books by Cassandra Clare. My favorite is the City of Fallen Angels & Clockwork Princess

The family bought the Thrill of the Hunt Discover Scavenger Hunt for their daughter Isabella’s fifth birthday.  This package was designed specifically for children of five years and up.  Suitable!

It was a perfect day!  Chilly and windy but certainly sunny and pleasant.  The party was a hit, with the children and parents alike.  It was sincerely my pleasure to join in on the fun and share in the celebration.  I look forward to many more Thrill of the Hunt scavenger hunt events.

Ok enough of my Thrill of the Hunt plugs.  Seriously, God has always taken care of me and led me in the right direction (or helped when I made bad choices).  I know He will continue to take care of me and lead me in the right direction, on my new memorable journey.  I guess everyone has a different journey, I see it on the news every night.

I found this blog with very insightful comparisons between The Hobbit and Entrepreneurship.  Enjoy… 9 Quotes From ‘The Hobbit’ That Social Entrepreneurs Can Relate To

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Travels and have No Comments

Scavenger Hunts – It’s the Thrill of the Hunt!

If you didn’t smell so appallingly luscious, he might not have bothered. But when I defended you… well, that made it a lot worse. He’s not used to being thwarted, no matter how insignificant the object. He thinks of himself as a hunter and nothing else. His existence is consumed with tracking, and a challenge is all he asks of life. Suddenly we’ve presented him with a beautiful challenge — a large clan of strong fighters all bent on protecting the one vulnerable element. You wouldn’t believe how euphoric he is now. It’s his favorite game, and we’ve just made it his most exciting game ever.  ~Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 19, p.397

Twilight-cover Aunt Heather PiperAbout a year ago, right before Breaking Dawn part 1 was to be released in theaters, I thought it might be fun to participate in a Twilight themed scavenger hunt.  I did what most of us do,  I headed straight for Google to get my answer, without success.  I found there were no such scavenger hunts offered.  Really?  At least there wasn’t anything around my area.  Then I thought, ‘Wouldn’t that be so much fun to have a Twilight themed scavenger hunt for fans?’  So, what do I do when I have a great idea?  I called my sister of course.  Dumping all my thoughts into words, I told Nicole about my idea.  She heard me out, and LOVED it!

Needless to say, my mind started to work into overdrive and do what I do best, plan.  I had so many great ideas for this scavenger hunt, I couldn’t contain myself, I was jumping out of my skin with excitement.  Ok so first things first, I wanted to do this the right.  Where do I start?  Copyright privileges!  Now, that’s not such an easy task.  It’s not like the movies are sitting around waiting on my phone call.  Searching high and low for a contact became a big challenge.  Eventually, I found an old online trail and followed it to success.  Kind of.  Believe it or not, I was able to get in touch with Summit Entertainment who owned the rights to the movies, the soundtrack and the photography.  Yes, I finally got a hold of someone internally in the copyright department!  We played phone tag and spoke on the phone a few nights, as well as corresponded through email.  Unfortunately, they did not give me permission to proceed using any of their copyrighted items.  Not that I blame them really.  Seriously, it’s not like I had any credentials or solid numbers to back up my abstract plans, it was just that, an idea.  And here I was talking to a major motion picture, a franchise worth billions of dollars, about my silly little concept with a bunch of unknown variables.  I will say they were very responsive and super nice!  And frankly, I’m surprised they entertained my free thinking dreams as long as they did.  I was crushed, but not ready to give up.

Next, I decided to contact the publisher, since I knew they owned the rights to the books and the covers.  It took me some time of reaching out to different publishers and several different companies, but finally I struck it rich, in the figurative sense.  I was able to get a hold of the right person, Stephanie Meyer’s agent.  Yep, I reached the top of the chain, second in line to Stephanie Myers herself.  I was so excited just to be conversing with this behind the scenes celebrity and sharing my ideas, again I thought I was going to explode with excitement.  We went back and forth via emails, playing phone tag, and voicemail tag, for a few weeks.  She loved my ideas, at least that’s what she claimed, even the details I shared with her about the scavenger hunt (which I will not divulge at this time, until I am able to execute my Twilight themed scavenger hunt).  Naturally, Nicole and I were declined copyright permission.  Again rightfully so, I really can’t blame Summit and the publisher; here we are two strange people with an idea, no business model, no concrete numbers, or solid plan of action and then asking a major franchise for copyright privileges.  Still it was a neat experience to go through.

*Please note with all of my correspondence between Summit Entertainment and the publishers, I chose to omit names out of respect.

Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunt logo - Aunt Heather Piper

Some may say, I was crazy but I still knew in my heart this was a fun idea and I could make it successful, I still do.  Personally I still really appreciate both parties for entertaining my request and taking the time out of their busy do to do so.  Getting a hold of Summit Entertainment and the publishers, was not an easy task, let me tell you.  Not that it should be, because if it were, then everyone under the sun would be bothering them.  God was on my side and guided me in the right direction through my entire investigation.  Please take my broad stroke statements and be aware, trying to get contact information for the decision makers of these major companies, when I had nothing to go off of, took persistence and a blessing from above.

Thanks to my sister, the idea of scavenger hunts was not a dead dog.  Nicole called me one evening and said, “You know what I think we should do?  I think we should start a company, which focuses on scavenger hunts.  We could do ones for businesses that are team builders or leadership scavenger hunts.” I never really thought about that angel, I stopped short on my idea of Twilight and never looked past it.  So, me being in marketing, I started to scope the potential competition.  I discovered no one was doing themed scavenger hunts, at least not on a large consistent scale.  Now this, I can work with and take somewhere.  Conversing with Nicole over the phone, we discussed the ideas of themed scavenger hunts, ones focusing on movies, books, singers, history events, pop culture etc.  Nicole loved the direction and so Thrill of the Hunt was born.

Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunt - Aunt Heather Piper

In order to get started we decided to hold a SpyRing themed scavenger hunt, which will be taking place this weekend at Legion Keener Park in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  Click her for all the details.  Thrill of the Hunt was created not only to be educational and provide fun themed scavenger hunts for adults and children of all ages, but it was established on the foundation of community involvement and participation.  I want these events to not only hit major cities, but small towns as well.  At the SpyRing scavenger hunt, a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to help rebuild Playland.

Read a few articles below for more on the devastation of Playland.

This play area was really the best outdoor facility I’ve ever seen for children.  It was in a great location under trees at Legion Keener Park, entertaining kids of all ages.  It was really a project that involved the entire community.  I want to see it shine again and I want children to have the opportunity to have a safe place to play.

I usually don’t promote much on my blog, but I will give myself a little call out this time.  Please help support Thrill of the Hunt (Facebook / Twitter) and SpyRing (Facebook / Twitter), follow each company on Facebook and Twitter.  We are small town girls who want to set our dreams in motion through reinforcement of education for children and through the development of fun outlets such as a scavenger hunts, fun for the entire family.  Look for new scavenger hunt events near you or tell me where you want us to show up.  Thrill of the Hunt is a subsidiary of The Piper Corporation.

 

Latrobe TV Aunt Heather Piper
posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments
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