Helping the greyhounds


Amy Minard, seen here with greyhound Cole, made 100 blankets for the dogs at Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption in Swanzey as part of her internship project.

For most high school students, ice climbing and white water rafting probably aren’t typical weekend activities.

But thanks to a new community group led by Marlow-based outdoor education organization Kroka Expeditions, high school students throughout the Monadnock Region will have the opportunity to try these activities and more on monthly guided outings.

The new Kroka Community Outing Group is open to all interested high school-aged students, including teens who are homeschooled. According to Tricia Bennett, Kroka’s school programs coordinator, the initiative was spurred by Gabe Andrus of Walpole, a Fall Mountain Regional High School student who was looking for ways to get the school more involved in Kroka’s programs.

After sitting down with Principal Richard Towne, they came up with the idea to offer one outing per month throughout the spring semester, including hiking in the White Mountains, rock climbing and canoeing.

“It originally started just as an idea and partnership with Fall Mountain, and then we thought it would be a great idea to open it up to other local high schools,” Bennett said.

Gabe has been promoting the club at Fall Mountain, she said, while Kroka has been reaching out to other area high schools to get students involved. Six students have signed up for the group so far.

But there’s no cap on how many area high schoolers can participate. She noted that the program is a good way for students to be exposed to Kroka and learn about the other opportunities the organization offers.

“Really we want as many students that are interested, because we’re just so excited about getting students from the area excited about going outside and getting involved in different activities with other high school students,” Bennett said.

To attend all the planned outings — which kicked off this weekend with an ice-climbing trip — tuition ranges from $120 to $300, depending on the student’s household income. For students who want to attend just one or two outings, Kroka offers prorated tuition, and additional scholarships and financial aid are also available, Bennett noted.

The goal is to create a space for students to try outdoor adventure activities, she said.

“Just having the opportunity and access to go on these trips where otherwise you might need a lot of equipment or need somebody that knows what they’re doing to take you climbing or white water rafting,” Bennett said. “It’s just a really affordable, accessible program for them to get introduced to something like this for the first time.”

More information, including how to register for the club, is available at

Amy Minard, 17, a student at Making Community Connections (MC2) charter school in Keene, recently donated 100 blankets to Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption in Swanzey. Minard has been working as an intern at the organization since last spring.

For her final internship project, Minard decided to collect blankets for the dogs’ kennels by setting up donation boxes throughout Keene. She then cut and sewed the blankets to the precise size of the enclosures to save resources.

“I thought having dog-sized blankets would save time, water and energy when washing, drying and folding the blankets. It was a ‘green’ project,” Amy said. “Also, the dogs like to fluff their blankets up in their kennels or on their dog beds; it is easier for them to do this with a dog-sized blanket than a full-sized blanket.”

She began collecting the blankets in September and completed the project in January, she said. She noted that it wasn’t difficult to find donations — along with the donation boxes, she asked guests at her birthday party to bring blankets instead of gifts. She ended up with quite a few leftover comforters and afghans, she said, which she plans to donate to other organizations.

Amy said her favorite part of being a Fast Friends intern has been “being with the dogs, caring for them, giving them love, seeing them get adopted.” She noted that she even adopted her own greyhound/whippet mix from Fast Friends during the course of her internship.

“Like me, he came from China, is awesome and is now a part of our family,” she said.

What’s going on in your school? Education reporter Meg McIntyre can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or Follow her on Twitter