Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation
Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation

From Loved Ones & Friends

Letter from Adventures Cross Country

Dear Frank and Ellen,

I had the pleasure of working closely with Kate for most of this past summer. We grew close during staff training as we initially set our tents up right next to each other and began talking right away. Throughout that week I had the opportunity to talk and laugh with Kate on many occasions and we learned that we would be leading different sections of the same trip at the same time. We discussed and planned games and lessons for our students, packed up our gear and food together and then headed off with the other Colorado leaders in a van bound for Denver via Phoenix. That road trip was full of adventure and laughs. After picking up more vans in Phoenix, we headed off to Colorado, Ashley and Kate in one van, Eric and I in the other and a set of walkie-talkies to keep us entertained and connected. After one flat tire, a couple of fast food dinners and a lot of fun, we arrived in Denver. We spent the day grocery shopping for our trips, and getting excited to finally meet our kids. We all had a great time on our first trips and reconnected again on the 16th, after we had dropped a lot of tired and dirty but excited kids off at the airport. We spent the next few days together in Boulder visiting friends, going to see a concert at Redrocks and recounting stories of our kids and adventures from the first trip. Kate and Eric then headed off to begin their four corners trip and Ashley and I headed back to San Francisco, I to begin my job working full time in the Adventures Cross-Country office. When Kate came through San Francisco again for her trip debrief, she stayed with me and we laughed some more about our summers full of funny kids and amazing experiences.

Kate and I had been emailing a bit this year getting excited for the coming summer. I am at a loss as to what to say, but I wanted to share with you my love for her wonderful sense of humor and great attitude towards life. I was inspired by her drive to come our to California and work for ARCC and then head off for a totally new adventure in Oregon. She will remain in my thoughts for many years to come when I am outside, sleeping under the stars as she loved to do.

I have spent some time going through the leader and student evaluations and compiling a summary of their thoughts and comments about Kate. I will also include her journals from both trips and copies of the group’s journals recounting stories from each day. (Unfortunately, I have discovered that the Four Corners trip, that Kate lead, lost their journal, so I am only able to send the Colorado Trip journal.) She was an inspiring leader who made a difference in many lives last summer. I hope this helps you in some way.


Devon Morris and all of the staff at Adventures Cross-Country.

Kate’s first trip with Adventures Cross-Country was her Colorado trip which ran from Tuesday, July 2nd to Tuesday, July 16th. Her co-leader, Ashley Hart, had only positive things to say about his experience working with Kate. Along with his desire to lead another trip with Kate in the future, he commented that, "Kate is very caring and is always looking out for the group. She is incredibly organized and efficient. She is a great person and a delight to work with." He added: "Kate is a strong leader that accomplishes any goal she sets out to obtain. We complimented each other on styles that resulted in a positive effect on the group." I spoke with Ashley today and he would like to gather some pictures and thoughts from this summer to share with you. He has you and your family in his prayers.

This is what Kate’s Colorado students had to say about her.

Andrew (14, an 8th grader from Summit, NJ)

Andrew thought Kate’s strengths were her patience and organization.

Oliver (14, an 8th grader from New York)

Oliver thought very highly of Kate and said "she had a good sense of humor and she was easy to get along with and had a high patience level."

Jeff (15, a 9th grader from Belmont Hill, MA)

Jeff seemed very impressed with Kate’s leadership and said "Kate’s strengths were her responsibility, organizational skills, sense of humor and ability to get things done efficiently."

Jessica (14, a 9th grader from New Haven, CT)

Jessica seemed most impressed by Kate’s teaching skills and said she was "very organized, always on-time, very responsible and a good cook."

Andrew (15, a 9th grader from Nashville, TN)

Andrew liked Kate’s personality and commented that "she was very outgoing and asked me how I was doing throughout the trip. If she didn’t think we were on task then she helped us get back on (ex. cleaning up). She always encouraged us."

Eve (14, an 8th grader from Wooster, MA)

Eve thought Kate was enthusiastic and "very involved and caring towards everyone."

Andrea (14, a 9th grader from Long Grove, IL)

Andrea was impressed with Kate’s knowledge of the outdoors and her ability to teach that to the students.

Elizabeth (13, an 8th grader from Mill Valley, CA)

Lizzie was very impressed by Kate’s honesty with her, she sums it up well saying, "Kate was a really good listener. When I was homesick and needed someone to talk to, she was always ready to talk and have intelligent conversations. She was honest and firm yet friendly. I liked the fact that I always knew she was telling the truth and was never fake."

Abby (13, an 8th grader from Scarsdale, NY)

Abby was appreciative of Kate’s helpful nature and remembered one instance in particular "when I had trouble climbing on the rocks, she was very understanding and helped me out."

Stephen (14, an 8th grader from New York)

Stephen seemed to be very focused on skills in his evaluation and was particularly impressed with Kate’s punctuality, organization and ability to "get things done".

Allison (15, a 9th grader from Westfield, NJ)

Allie commented on Kate’s nurturing and caring nature, saying: "Kate was extremely organized and was always on the ball. She was also very protective of us in somewhat ‘dangerous’ times, for instance hiking."

Kelly (15, a 9th grader from Cleveland, OH)

Kelly was also very impressed with Kate’s knowledge of the outdoors and with her efficiency in keeping the group moving smoothly.

Kate’s Four Corners Trip ran from Monday, July 23rd to Monday, August 13th. She co-lead with Eric Myers and had a great group of 13 students. She seemed to enjoy this trip a bit more than the first one since she had some experience under her belt for the summer, and she connected with the kids really well.

Kate’s co-leader, Eric Myers, really enjoyed leading with Kate and wrote the following comments about her: "Kate has a great ability to see the big picture. Her organizational skills kept our crew running smoothly. She also did a great job opening up to our students and let people enjoy getting to know her fun side as well as her professional side." I spoke with Eric today and he reiterated his admiration for Kate and expressed his deepest condolences to you.

This is what Kate’s Four Corners students had to say about her. It seemed like the kids really appreciated Kate’s leadership abilities, her positive attitude and her sense of humor. Everyone seemed to acknowledge that without Kate, the trip wouldn’t have happened, she kept everyone organized and was responsible for the behind the scenes work that makes any Adventures Cross Country trip a successful one.

Trevor (14, a 9th grader from Gross Pt. Farms, MI)

Trevor noticed that Kate kept the trip running smoothly.

Alyssa (15, a 9th grader from New Orleans, LA)

Alyssa was most impressed with Kate’s enthusiasm throughout the trip and her patience with the students. She said that Kate was "a good leader and set good examples."

Erin (15, a 9th grader from Buffalo Grove, IL)

Erin felt that Kate was very approachable saying "all the girls were comfortable talking with her."

Sam (15, a 10th grader from Cheltenham, PA)

Sam seemed to think Kate was great all around but commented on her safety consciousness and on her strong hiking ability.

Kirby (15, a 9th grader from Highland Park, IL)

Kirby commented on Kate’s personality and teaching ability saying she "gave good advice and was always there to help."

Shaina (15, a 10th grader from Minneapolis, MN)

Shaina really noticed Kate’s perseverance noting that Kate "kept the group motivated even when she didn’t feel her best."

Beatriz (15, a 10th grader from San Leandro, CA)

Beatriz was very impressed by Kate’s openness and ability to make the girls feel comfortable about "girl things." Beatriz also enjoyed hearing Kate speak from her own experiences.

Brian (15, a 9th grader from Gross Pt. Farms, MI)

Brian noted Kate’s enthusiasm and her attitude towards safety, he also commented that she "would always have fun with the kids."

Michael (15, a 9th grader from Wilmette, IL)

Mike very eloquently wrote his thoughts about Kate: "She was really organized and always knew what was going on. She was a great person to talk to throughout the whole trip, not only was she a leader, but she was a friend."

Maddie (15, a 9th grader from Highland Park, IL)

Maddie was particularly impressed with Kate’s knowledge of the outdoors and her sense of humor. She said Kate’s strengths were "cheering people up and helping out in tough situations."

Chase (14, an 8th grader from Menlo Park, CA)

Chase noted Kate’s infectious positive attitude and he underlined her humor as one of her greatest strengths.

Arnold (15, a 9th grader from Edgemont, NY)

Arnold also thought very highly of Kate saying, "Kate is an understanding, intelligent and Humorous person."

Andy (15, a 9th grader from Wilmette, IL)

Andy was most impressed by Kate’s enthusiasm and teaching skills.

As you can see, Kate had an enormous impact on many young people’s lives. She was an inspiration and a wonderful teacher. Hopefully, thanks to Kate’s enthusiasm working with these kids, they will continue to take an active interest in exploring the outdoors with a more appreciative and educated eye. I feel so lucky to have had her as a part of my life, I learned a passion for life and the outdoors from her that I will carry with me always.

Executive Director

Adventures Cross Country

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