ND Enjoys Summer Travels

Notre Dame had an eventful summer.   Mrs. Layton, Mrs. Tomaszewski, Mrs. Worley, and Mr. Hinton, with students from ND, took a trip to Peru; Ms. Strohmeyer hosted this year’s Annual Joan Strohmeyer Mission Trip in Tuba City, Arizona, along with Mrs. Schaefer, Mr. Boeller, Mr. Landewe, Mr. Rowland, and Mr. Kuper; Ms. Siebert spent her summer in Spain; and Mrs. Timpe and Mr. Keusenkothen, along with students, attended Steubenville.

Mrs. Layton’s group had the opportunity to take 16 students, along with a few parents, on a trip to Peru. The group visited Lima, Cuzco, Uros Islands, and Machu Picchu: one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The trip itself wasn’t a walk in the park. According to Layton, “It was rugged.We did stay in hotels for the majority of the trip, but that didn’t mean it was easy.”  At 14,000 feet, experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness wasn’t uncommon. “It was strenuous due to altitude sickness, but it was still awesome,” Layton said.

The group hiked for the majority of the trip. “Lots of hiking at the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu. We had to have a guide, and we only had two hours to stay as the site was closely monitored– they didn’t want a lot of people staying for too long,” Layton said. Alongside the exhausting symptoms of altitude sickness and the strenuous hiking, there was a lot of culture shock.

One thing to know was that it seldom rains in Peru; however, when the group visited, they did experience some misting. “The first day in Cuzco, our guide, Rod, said, ‘This is the first time it rained since I was eleven.’ And he was talking about the mist!” Layton said.

The food in Peru was exotic compared to the meals the average American is used to. “The food was amazing,” Layton said. “This may be a little controversial, but we tried alpaca steaks and kebabs, and the Inca specialty: guinea pig… It was all delicious,” Layton said.

Ms. Strohmeyer led the Annual Joan Strohmeyer Mission Trip to Tuba City, Arizona. According to Strohmeyer, the origin of the mission trip was in 1996 when she was working at St. Vincent’s Grade School in Cape Girardeau.

“My mom and dad went on vacation with this priest who had a pastor friend from Tuba City, and they suggested  I should bring my youth group so they can experience this awesome place,” Strohmeyer said. The Annual Joan Strohmeyer Mission Trip, named after her late mother, was founded.

Tuba City, Arizona is a small town in Coconino County on the Navajo land. According to Strohmeyer, this year’s group had the opportunity to see some dinosaur tracks and the Grand Canyon, which was only half an hour away.

Mission trips are often a place where community comes together through service and prayer. “You feel like you’re really doing something—and that’s a great feeling!” Strohmeyer said.

It’s also an opportunity to get close with people participants might not have had the chance to be close with. “Every year, we have students coming with us for the first time during their junior or senior year, and they often say they regret not going on all four years,” said Strohmeyer.

Dulac, Louisiana will be the location of next summer’s trip. Sign-ups will be available during an informational meeting announced sometime this year.

Ms. Siebert travelled to Spain to work as an au pair to teach kids English. According to Siebert, this was her first time traveling out of the country. “I went to San Sebastian, Spain, which is a tourist destination. There are three different beaches and, in the time I was there, multiple celebrities visited the area, including Woody Allen, who is currently shooting his newest film,” Siebert said.

Siebert stayed in Spain for a little over a month and lived with the Rodriguez family.  Experiencing Spain this way was better because she lived like the locals and fully experienced the Spanish culture through the Rodriguezes.

“My sole purpose for being there was to help the kids with their English, while also caring for them during the day,” Siebert said. She taught the three kids through different activities that included reading books in English, watching videos in English, and practicing their English-speaking skills constantly.

Siebert also met a friend of the family who was German and also an au pair. “We had her over for a dinner party one night. Between the family, the German au pair, and myself, there were four different languages being spoken at one table,” Siebert said.

Siebert’s stay in Spain was an eye-opening experience and sparked her desire to continue learning more Spanish once she returned home. “I can truly see the value in speaking multiple languages and being able to communicate with others,” Siebert said.

Steubenville is a three-day high-energy youth Catholic conference held all over North America. The conference is filled with great music, wonderful presenters, and a few thousand Catholic teens. Mrs. Timpe had the opportunity to be a group leader for this year’s Steubenville in Springfield, Missouri.

A lot of students from ND annually attend the conference, but Timpe recommends more go. “Teens get to encounter Jesus personally, in Word and Sacrament. The focus is on choosing Christianity as a joyful decision. When you get 5,000 teens in a room that is already brimming with energy, then add Jesus, the effects are amazing,” Timpe said.

The conference is geared to mainly youth and is specifically developed for high school students, but there are adults and college students who attend to act as chaperones or small group leaders. “There are conferences put on for college students, for example ‘Seek’, and three different adult Steubenville encounters,” Timpe said.

Timpe’s job as a group leader was to keep everyone in check for their safety. “Once I got there, my job was to get us where we needed to be, and keep track of everyone,” Timpe said.

“My favorite thing was watching so many teens living out their faith. Every time I leave, I have a renewed faith in the future of the church,” Timpe said. This was Timpe’s 9th year attending the Steubenville conference as a group leader. According to her, she would have gone as a student if she had known it existed. “I think it would have been an incredible boost to my faith before going off to college,” Timpe said.

by Jona Vercide, Staff Writer for the ND student newspaper The Hi-Lites