Monday, June 30, 2014

How about a Treehouse Dating Service app?

       
           I honestly think I should start a Treehouse dating service. Remember Sue, the single mom who recently visited Fern Forest with her son Cole? Before they unpacked their knapsacks in the Treehouse, Sue and Cole had climbed Camels Hump, one of Vermont’s highest mountains.
Last week single dad Greg biked to Fern Forest with his son Kelly and daughter Chloe—a steep seven miles uphill, bikes loaded with two nights worth of overnight gear. The day before, they had biked fifteen miles from Vergennes to stay at an inn in Bristol.
            Cole and Kelly are both nine, and Chloe is eleven. Both Greg and Sue like to be fit, and they like to challenge their children to match their enthusiasm for outdoor adventure. Their kids met the challenge and passed with flying colors.
            It seemed a perfect match—except that Sue is in Boston and Greg lives in Toronto.
            But on Monday the focus was on Greg and his two amazing children. Chloe acts and sings in school musicals, and Kelly has an engineer’s mind. In the Treehouse Kelly found a wooden cube that separates into a long strand of attached pieces that can be twisted and turned. Our guests usually can take the cube apart but never can get it back into cube shape.
H once sat in the Treehouse for two hours trying to reassemble the cube. Kelly, however, got it together in minutes. In fact, he taught H the trick to solving the puzzle. Before he left, Kelly twisted the cube back into place in less than a minute. I’ve never been able to get the devilish thing back together.
These are unquestionably bright young folks. Next year every student in their Toronto school will have a tablet for their schoolwork. I’ve been thinking about developing some educational apps and asked Chloe and Kelly for ideas. On the spot Kelly suggested a spelling bee app that keeps track and graphs correct answers. He said the app would have pronunciation of each word and could be used to compete with other students online.
Chloe came up with a sort of “Good Reads for Kids” idea that includes a GPS for finding the book of choice at the closest book store.
While they brainstormed and did troubleshooting with concepts, my brain was reeling. It struck me how lucky these youngsters are—Cole too—to have opportunities for outdoor activities with a parent and the maturity to interact with adults—even strangers like H and me.
We weren’t strangers long, though. As they settled into the Treehouse, we felt the warmth and friendship of these young people even from high up in the maples.
By the way, I sent a message to Airbnb about expanding their service to include romantic match-ups. They thought it was an interesting idea and will bring it up at a staff meeting. As for Greg and Sue? Well, you just never know.

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