Top 10 Reasons to Pick Kristine and Ben Thompson
We are incredibly happy and humbled to potentially climb Kilimanjaro through this contest. When I asked Ben, 15, how he wanted to approach this contest, he quoted John Muir: “The mountains are calling and I must go.” With that in mind, here are the top 10 reasons to choose us:
- We’ve been groomed for this: Growing up, my father always took me out to appreciate the soil under our feet, the open skies above us, and the animals who left tracks around us. This is what I have wanted for my children. So far so good!
- We’re mountain climbers: Our family is hiking the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. With 30 under my belt and 25 under Ben’s, we’re loving every step along the way—even the muddy ones. My goal is 46 by age 46—two more years to go. At this rate, Ben will be one soon, too. We’re also hiking the fire tower mountains of New York State.
- We're students of the mountains: On a mountain—like in life—conditions change all the time. Hiking teaches us to move through all of them, find strength, and recognize what is in our control and what isn’t.
- We are inspired: The mountains have shown us to focus on the positive and not dwell on adversity. We choose to strap on our boots, take one step and then many more, and do our very best. The mountains give us hope.
- Ben’s ready: Ben’s already run multiple 5Ks and done a few triathlons. He portages in Canada’s Algonquin Park every year with the Boy Scouts Venture Crew program. He did the Adirondack Mountain Club’s high school trail maintenance program last year and is signed up again this summer—and he hopes to run a trail crew someday. He will also volunteer at a local rock climbing camp this summer.
- I’m ready: In the early weekday mornings, at night, and on the weekends, I’m in hiking boots, Nordic walking or trekking through the woods. During the workday, I walk a river trail around my office. Our family hikes and camps every summer.
- Ben’s poised to toot his horn: Ben makes things happen. He plays the tuba, double bass, and electric bass, and he’s in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (even played Carnegie Hall this year), his high school wind and jazz ensembles, an honors brass quintet at the Eastman School of Music, and two bands with friends. He’s also been on the high honor roll forever and was just honored as part of the top 10 percent of chemistry students in a six-county area.
- We're fun: We're fun to be around and easy going. We'll keep the mood light and spirits up. Maybe Ben will even pack a harmonica and bring some music to the climb (but only if people want that!).
- We’re grateful: Mountain air is like candy to us. The Kilimanjaro experience will tighten our connection to each other and to those we love, and will link us to new mountain-spirited friends. We're excited by the opportunity to climb, to climb with new friends, to meet the porters and people of Africa, and have the chance to go on safari.
- We’ll share: Besides just tasting good, the mountain air makes us feel alive. When we come back, we’ll give out that positive energy to everyone who crosses our paths.