Children have visited Smugglers' through Make-A-Wish from Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. While most visits have involved the wish to see snow and enjoy snow play, some children and their families have gone to Smugglers' during the summer to simply spend time together and have fun at the resort's mountainside location.
Visiting children and their families enjoy a full Smugglers' vacation, including condominium lodging, plentiful activities, and in the winter, ski and snowboard rental equipment and instruction, daily lift tickets, and use of the resort's amenities. Families especially enjoy the thrill of snow tubing. During the summertime, favorites with families include the children's programs, family games and activities, and the pools and waterslides at the resort.
Beyond the resort amenities, the resort vendors and staff are committed to make each wish as special as can be. Vendors contribute to wishes depending on each family's interests, providing food or fun experiences like sleigh rides or zip line tours. Staff members donate items such as holiday tree ornaments, handmade toys, delicious treats, cards, and Vermont mementos to the visiting families. The wish children are even included in the traditions of the resort. Those who stayed during the holidays have participated in the candle-lighting ceremony on Christmas Eve, and one wish child rode the first chair on the new Mogul Mouse Magic Lift as the guest of honor in 1994.
Smugglers' Notch Resort owner Bill Stritzler describes the resort's longtime experience granting wishes by saying, "It has been very gratifying for us at Smugglers' to work with the folks at Make-A-Wish of Vermont over the years to support the visits of young wish recipients and their families. Their goal on vacation is the same one held by all our guests: to relax, have fun, and enjoy time together. We consider ourselves privileged to provide the setting for their special moments." CLOSE
Each Winter for the past five years, students in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades at Cambridge Elementary have been given the opportunity to experience Smugglers' terrain three days during the winter season. They can choose to learn to ski, snowboard, cross-country ski or snowshoe. A 5th grade teacher who has seen students grow and blossom as they learn new skills, camaraderie, and confidence, says that about half of the 4th graders entering the program have never before participated in these activities. She credits the 100% participation level in those grades to the fact that the cost is wholly underwritten by Rotary and Height of Land fundraising activities. Smugglers' discounts the cost of participation and rental equipment for program.
On a typical 4th grade trip day, 60 9- and 10-year olds board the bus and head up to the mountain. Teachers and Rotary volunteers come along to help with equipment and encouragement. All the children choose their own activity, and can change from one to another sport during the season. They are given 2 hours of lessons and time to practice what they learn. Children with special needs are given one-on-one coaching through Smuggs Special Needs Adaptive Program (SNAP). As the students progress to 5th and 6th grades, they can attain many levels of proficiency. CLOSE