Truckee teens scare up money for trip |

Truckee teens scare up money for trip

In an effort to raise money for their upcoming trip to South Africa, three Truckee teens have turned an ordinary Gateway residence into a maze of supernatural sights.

Josh Williams, Josh Toft and Ali Kirby are hoping to raise $6,000 in support of their planned cultural exchange trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, with the haunted house they are constructing in the Gateway neighborhood.

With the help of almost 30 friends and volunteers, the three students have transformed Williams’ front and back yards into a ghoulish scene complete with a pirate ship, torture chamber, cemetery and more.

Since the haunted house is located in a residential area, the organizers are unable to charge admission. However, they are hoping to scare up enough donations to support their trip.

The three students will travel to Johannesburg in January along with former Prosser Creek Charter School teacher Ed Johnson and chaperone Theresa Kirby. The trip had been planned as a part of the students’ senior projects at Prosser Creek before the school was closed this year.

“We all felt like the opportunity was just too strong to not continue on with the plan,” said Pamela Williams, Josh’s mother and one of the organizers of the haunted house.

Josh Williams agreed. “It should just be a good experience to actually leave the country,” he said, adding that he hopes to check out the local art community, music scene, surf spots and the international school in Johannesburg.

Toft is going on the trip in the hopes of setting up some sort of a cultural exchange program between the Johannesburg international school and either Truckee High or Forest Charter School. He has been busy contacting local and international Rotarians for ideas and guidance on establishing the cultural exchange, and he sees this trip as an opportunity to expand his own cultural awareness.

“I’ve never been out of the country before and I’m really excited about that,” Toft said. “Once I’ve made one step out of the country I’ll be ready to try other trips.”

While in Johannesburg, the three teens will stay with one of their old classmates at Prosser Creek Charter School, Matt Ambrogis, whose family recently moved to South Africa.

Ed Johnson shared the teens’ eagerness to see a new continent with the aid of people who actually live there — allowing the students to get a more authentic look at the local culture than is available to most tourists.

“Doing a trip with these kids will be a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “Getting to spend time with them in a non-academic environment will be cool.”

Anyone interested in helping support the teens’ trip to South Africa can make a donation by sending a check to Senior Trip Fund, P.O. Box 10812, Truckee, CA, 96162. Checks should be made to Pamela Williams with Senior Trip Fund in the memo. Or donations can be made at the haunted house at 10115 Vista Avenue on Saturday, Oct. 25, or Friday, Oct. 31.

There will be a not-so-scary version of the haunted house from 3:30-5:30 p.m., with scary tours from 6-9 p.m. Hot drinks and snacks will be available out front, with all proceeds going to help support the South Africa trip.

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