Kismet students begin to arrive on Sunday, June 26th, kicking off the first of six weeks of programming, welcoming nearly 60 students from around New England.  

As Krissy and I prepare for our first Kismet Summer season to begin next week, I find myself both nervous and excited for the adventure ahead. Nervous for all of our hard work and planning to come together in the form of a logistically smooth program, and of course excited to spend the summer climbing and connecting with such an incredible group of students. I am excited as well to share this experience with a community of House Staff, Interns, Volunteers, and Rock Guides who exemplify kindness and empathy to a person. If anything, the past 7 months have shown me the strength and bond of our greater Kismet community to unite in service of our students. The nerves begin to melt as I steep my trust in the dedication of our community and remind myself of our simple, central mission: to offer students friendship, family, and rock climbing.

It must be said that this program would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of the school Guidance Counselors and Educators that we work so closely with. It is not hyperbole to say that these people are heroes and daily surrogate guardians of our children. I am grateful for their passion and advocacy. Thank you to all educators on a similar mission!

Thank you for your continued support of Kismet Rock Foundation and we will see you at the crag!


One (or two) of my highlights from this past Winter and Spring was hanging out and climbing with some of our returning students at Salt Pump Climbing Co. in Scarborough, ME and Vertical Dreams in Manchester, NH. It was my first taste of the Kismet “magic” that I detect every time I hear a student or staff member speak about their experience of the program. Although I was meeting these students for the first time, there was no discomfort - no awkward ice-breaking games or introduction (keep in mind, these are teenagers!). In fact, I immediately felt as if I was spending time with family - distant yet beloved cousins or something - engaging in a favorite family activity. For a few hours we climbed, laughed, played games, and ate pizza. The magic, as I recognize it, occurs in the deep nourishment received from such a simple afternoon of human connection.


Pete Masterson is an accomplished climber and passionate board member who has been involved with Kismet since the beginning. He is someone who understands the “magic” of Kismet as well as anyone, spending time with the students on the rock and in the house, witnessing their process. Below he describes his journey with the program and the confidence student’s are able to find through it:  

Mike Jewell is a dear friend who infinitely increased my understanding of the fundamentals of guiding people over rock. My work with Kismet started as a guide at the cliff with the students, working closely with Mike at its inception. As an observer I was initially attracted to the purpose of Kismet through Mike’s eyes. Kismet was not intended to be a sphere of therapy for distraught individuals, as one might assume upon a casual overview. No, Kismet’s function is to teach disadvantaged youth technical rock climbing while offering them a family-like atmosphere to connect with peers across a spectrum of differing backgrounds. This is a fundamental aspect of our program and one that is not up for debate. It offers the youth who attend an opportunity to find their potential in a safe and supportive environment, while getting a glimpse into a life that many people take for granted, one that our students often have never experienced. My dedication to Kismet started with Mike Jewell but has evolved into a mission and a passion for the lives of the kids we affect through our program. Allowing youth to find their voices and their potential, some for the first time in their lives, is a powerful and provoking privilege that has been bestowed upon all of us who find ourselves drawn to Kismet Rock Foundation. Having been a part of it for the last two decades as a guide and a board member has been an honor.”  ~Pete Masterson

If you are interested in learning more or becoming further involved with Kismet Rock Foundation please reach out here

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Our mailing address is:
Kismet Rock Foundation
PO Box 1744
North Conway, NH 03860

Kismet Rock Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible.

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