NYC teens enjoy Cayman hospitality

 In News

04 September, 2007
Last month saw a group of New York City teenagers visit the Cayman Islands on vacation, an experience many of them never dreamed possible.
That became a reality thanks to the Department of Tourism, Cayman Airways, the Fresh Air Fund and the hospitality of the Cayman community, said a press release from the Department of Tourism.
‘Partnering with the Fresh Air Fund allowed Cayman Airways and the DoT to give 11 deserving teenagers the trip of a lifetime while at the same time showcasing the Cayman Islands and its attractions to potential visitors living in New York City,’ said Shomari Scott, Deputy Director of Tourism, International Marketing.
‘The Fresh Air Fund is a charity very dear to New Yorkers and its association with the Cayman Islands will create some positive PR for both the Fresh Air Fund and the destination. Notebooks were also provided to each member of the group for them to keep a journal of their experiences, excerpts of which will be printed in the New York Times.’
During their time on-island, the 11 teens experienced the very best the Cayman Islands has to offer, from great food to fun in the sun. Once settled in at their respective host families’ homes, the kids took to the beach with snorkelling lessons, kayaking and more. Next stop, the group got to explore Stingray City and spend a day with the Ambassadors of the Environment programme at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman before heading to Cayman Brac for a tour of the island, including the Parrot Reserve and the Cayman Brac Heritage Museum. Back on Grand Cayman, the group wrapped up the week with a visit to the QEII Botanic Park and a day at Boatswain’s Beach.
‘Everyone on-island came together beautifully to show these kids not only fresh Caribbean air, but an enriching good time and warm hospitality,’ said the release.
‘I really enjoyed the trip to the Cayman Islands and the host family I stayed with. I plan to keep in touch with them and maybe visit [them again]. I just wanted to say thank you and I really had a good time being ‘pampered’ with the special treatment the Fresh Air Fund got from Cayman,’ said Andre Douglas, age 16 and member of the FAF group.
While at Boatswain’s Beach, Cayman Traditional Arts organised some traditional activities for the group, including spinning gigs, frying fritters on a caboose, eating guineps and cassava heavy cake, thatching rope, blowing a conch shell, flying kites and playing with marbles and mancala. The group was also able to soak up a bit of history at Pedro St. James Historic Site through a multimedia presentation and tour of the great house.
‘The CTA activities at Boatswains Beach were a hit with the Fresh Air Fund kids,’ said Trina Christian, Director or Marketing for CTA and one of the host families. Also, from a co-ordinator of CTA activities point of view and a ‘host family’ perspective I just wanted to commend the kids for their behaviour, willingness to learn and become involved with our culture and to engage in being a part of our family for a week, it was an extremely pleasant experience.’
The trip was such an overwhelming success that the Department of Tourism looks forward to additional opportunities to showcase Cayman to New Yorkers via the 130-year-old Fresh Air Fund Organization – and with the new direct flight between JFK and Grand Cayman, the possibilities are more accessible than ever before, the release noted.
‘The kids had a fantastic time. I just met with Andre and he told me all the exciting things that he did. We want to thank DoT, the Cayman host families, Cayman Airways and everyone who made this experience possible,’ said Elizabeth Clardy, The Fresh Air Fund Director, Community Outreach & Support Services.
‘The trip would not have been possible without the host families and sponsors,’ continued Mr. Scott. ‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank the host families for their hospitality and hope that the experience was as rewarding for them as it was for the teenagers. Thanks also to the sponsors for their generosity of spirit and for making all the difference in the world to these children.’
Sponsors of the trip included the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Pampered Ponies, Hyatt Regency Beach Suites, Red Sail Sports, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, QEII Botanic Park, Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, Cayman Kayaks, Boatswain’s Beach, Pedro St. James, Webster’s Tours and Caribbean Production Services.

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