July 8, 2013


Dear Stephen,

I don’t know where to start.  Africa was amazing.  When I first contacted you about helping me take a public school group of students, parents and teachers to South Africa, many told me it couldn’t be done.  Looking back, it probably couldn’t have happened if I hadn’t met you and if you hadn’t work so closely with me from the beginning.

The trip changed people’s lives.  They are not the same people.  I am not the same.  How can you be the same person after experiencing South Africa so close up?  I have so many things to thank you for.

Thank you for your patience with me.  You were always calm when I was not.  I emailed you constantly and you always responded so quickly.  You offered to talk to school board members, administration and parents alike, any time for any reason.  This trip was not a standard tourist trip.  It was a class where students were going to be completing research.  We had to put it together from scratch.  Your guidance was priceless and is one of the main reasons the entire experience was so successful!  When I requested a change in the amount of days for the trip, you did it.  When I requested a change in flight itinerary, you did it.  When I told you I wanted open vehicles for the safari, you guided me to a closed motor coach for traveling to and from Kruger National Park (so we wouldn’t freeze….good idea!) and had the open vehicles waiting for us

When I wanted to add on another student at the last moment, you made it happen so he could have the same flight itinerary as the rest of us.  When I had questions about safety, you found the answers.  You booked lodging for us as needed but when better lodging became available, you jumped at it for us without my even asking and then informed me of the opportunity and held it for us.  You even arranged a stop for us to buy plug adaptors for our technology once we arrived in Africa

When our flight was delayed, you called me to make sure we arrived safely and took care of rearranging our pick up from the airport without my intervention and help. You were always watching out for us!

You have connections and experience throughout South Africa that reflect your life experience there.  I can’t imagine ever taking a group back without your guidance and support.

This trip flowed so smoothly because of you. Thank you so much for an experience of a lifetime.


Sandra Willmore

New Albany Plain Local Schools

District Environmental Education and STEM Advisor K-12