Thrifty Adventures selected as guides for Jason Project
SPRUCE PINE – Local wilderness guide service Thrifty Adventures has been given a unique new opportunity to help at-risk children when it was selected earlier this month as one of the guides for Grandfather Mountain’s Jason Project hikes in the spring.
The Jason Project is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization providing challenging outdoor activities and excursions for at-risk children with a focus on those suffering from mental illness or drug addiction.
At Grandfather Mountain, The Jason Project is offering four unique and rugged hikes for interested children – one that serves as an introduction to the mountain, one that travels the Eastern trails, another that takes hikers to the Western trails and a final hike that winds through the Grandfather Trail and the mountain’s highest peaks.
The Jason Project provides each participant with hiking boots, backpacks and socks.
After completion, hikers receive a certificate and a special gift and are invited to be recognized at a graduation dinner.
Thrifty Adventures owners Scott and Christy Thrift, along with guide Bill Hoag, will help mentor, encourage and support the hikers while aiming to instill confidence, trust and respect while leading the series of challenging hikes.
Each hike is led by two or more qualified adult hikers. Scott and Hoag will lead the first hike in April.
Christy said the process of becoming a guide was smooth. Thrifty Adventures met with James and Cheryl Nipper, the project’s founders, this past December and after a lengthy interview process accepted the offer to serve as a guide.
“Their interview process is very involved,” Christy said. “They are a part of every piece of their project. They want to make certain the hiking guides they choose have both life experiences and hiking experiences.
“It’s impressive they want to be as involved with it as they can be. It makes sure the people leading their hikes are the ones that really want to lead the hikes.”
Christy said she grew up an at-risk child. Her father died when she was 7 years old, forcing her mother to raise her as a single parent. Because of this, she said she can relate to the hikers.
“My mom did the best she could,” Christy said. “I have a personal connection with what they’re doing and with how wilderness as therapy can heal. For me, it is extremely rewarding to get to be a part of such a project. It’s a full circle. It’s kind of weird how life is.”
James said the Thrifts and Hoag stood out as perfect candidates for the project during interviews.
“Thrifty Adventures has assembled a team of instructors and guides that are second-to-none in terms of experience, certifications and love of the outdoors,” he said. “We feel Scott and Christy understand the mission of our program.”