Ben and Kristine Thompson and their "We Climb for Kids" Project

Their Story:

We are Ben and Kristine Thompson, a mother and son who love to hike and climb mountains. In early 2015, we plan to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with Pack, Paddle, Ski. We want to go with owner Rick French and PPS because we intend to further their mission of spreading hope and happiness throughout the world.

We will climb for the kids and families who have been helped in some way by Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, a place that has touched our hearts due to the spirit of a sweet little girl we will never forget. We will also climb to establish an education fund for the twin daughters of a beloved porter, Raziki, who will climb with us.

We will climb for four reasons:
  • To help kids who need our help
  • To encourage people to do big things
  • To show how the outdoors can connect families
  • To instill hope in the next generation coming up in this world.
We Need Your Help
We are incredibly grateful to Rick and PPS for supporting us and establishing a fund to help us cover our climbing and travel fees. There is no way we can climb without PPS' support and through sponsorship. Like many people out there, we've been hit hard by economic conditions. My husband is an engineer who has worked all over the country for about eight years in contract jobs. Finding local, permanent, non-contract jobs for him has been quite difficult. We appreciate this opportunity and will give ourselves to PPS in whatever ways we can. We joined its 200 Club and we will volunteer for PPS service days to help alleviate some of the costs. We will also seek sponsors for our climb. In addition, we will pursue a variety of events over the next year to raise money for and awareness of our causes.

Our Family
Our family includes Ben, 16; his brother, Ian, 13; Rich; and me. We have always loved hiking, camping, paddling, and just being outdoors together. We relish the feeling of adventure and we value what hiking has taught us. When we are on the top of a mountain, we realize just how small we are in this world. Our biggest adventures so far have been hiking the Adirondacks' 46 highest peaks. Ben and I plan to finish this summer (weather and conditions permitting!). Ian and Rich are following close behind and will finish when the time is right.

A Little More on Us
Ben is a committed young man. He's an accomplished musician and plays tuba in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He also plays bass guitar and acoustic bass in his high school jazz band, and tuba in the high school wind ensemble. In addition, he's a member of the National Honor Society. He is dedicated to the outdoors, too. Every year, he volunteers with the Adirondack Mountain Club's teen trail maintenance program. He is also a member of the Boy Scouts' Venture Crew program, a group that participates in regular adventure outings such as an annual portage in Canada's Algonquin Park.

As for me, I work at the University of Rochester, where I am a writer in its communications office. When I'm not there, I'm with my family. My best moments are when I am with them, and if we can be together outside, those moments are even richer.

The Comeback Kids
Last year, Ben spotted a contest in Backpacker magazine to win a trip for two in its family climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro. The contest was sponsored by the magazine, Whittaker Mountaineering, Eddie Bauer, and Rainier Mountaineering. We entered the contest and had a great time each step of the way to get to the top 15 and then the top three. Out of 900 entrants, we finished in the very top but another great team ended up winning.

What we learned from that experience is what we've learned from the mountains: never give up, dream big, and know that we can always do more than we think we can. This experience inspired Ben and me to do something really big, and this climb in 2015 is the result. We hope you will consider supporting us!

Learn More
Our website: Please visit there for more information and to learn how to donate to our Golisano cause. For those interested in supporting Raziki's girls, learn more here.

To Make a Contribution to Climbing Costs:

Donations are not tax deductible.

or please make checks payable to Pack Paddle Ski. Be sure to indicate "Thompson Scholarship" in the memo line!

Mailing address:
Pack Paddle Ski
6237 South Lima Road
South Lima, NY 14487-9787

Baylie's Support:

"I have known Kris since she was pregnant with Ben. And throughout all these years I have witnessed Kris' incredible self-motivation and resiliency as she has undertaken many climbs, and has made her way through life's obstacles and opportunities. Kris has always been a goal-setter and is the rare individual who actually meets her goals. She is such a positive force in my life, and I know that as she works toward her climb at Kilimanjaro with her son she will not only reach the top of the mountain, but will make a huge impact on the people she touches along the way." -Baylie Olin