Andy, from our Highway 96 home, recently returned from his first Hammer Travel group trip—the destination, Jamaica! Andy is a cheerful fellow and happily recounted his experience. He was particularly excited that the trip actually took place: Back in early 2020, he had registered for a Hammer Travel trip to Cancun, but it was later cancelled due to COVID-19. Undeterred, Andy signed up right away when he heard about the Jamaica trip.
Andy was one of 11 travelers (along with three staff and volunteers) who enjoyed four warm tropical days in Jamaica in February (he was happy to miss the Minnesota snowstorm). What were some of Andy’s favorite parts about his Jamaican adventure? “I liked the food, but the spicy chicken was too spicy for me,” he says. “The waitresses were really nice.” Andy also enjoyed meeting new people on the trip and hanging out together. He liked walking in the ocean but kept to the shallows as he doesn’t swim. “I had a good time,” he says. “I wish we could have stayed longer.”
Lin Curran is Hammer & NER’s Chief of East Metro Operations and is friends with Andy. “He had been a little nervous about the trip,” Lin says, “however, he did go and came back saying he’d had a great time. He had overcome his fears.”
Over the years, Hammer Travel has provided trip experiences to over 1,500 travelers, about half of whom are part of the Hammer & NER family, extended. The all-inclusive vacations are open to adults (across the country) with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Trip expenses are private pay or supported by grants.) Hammer Travel trips are designed to help people with disabilities grow their self-confidence and independence, expand their social connections, and increase their awareness of the world around them.
“It’s so nice that the people we support are once again participating in life experiences like this,” Lin says.
Andy is already thinking about his next trip. “I would like to go on a cruise, or maybe to Wisconsin Dells. I hope there are other things to do than swim,” he says. Yes, Andy, there will be lots of other things to do. We wish you well on your next adventure wherever it may take you.
If you would like to learn more about Hammer Travel, please visit: Hammer Travel | Vacations for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities