Ultimate Family Adventurers: The O'Neill Family | My Family Travels
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In the spring and summer of 2007, the Hyatt Hotel and Resorts company decided to challenge their family clientele to the “ultimate adventure challenge” — a two week once-in-a-lifetime competition for five lucky families, set against the backdrop of three Hyatt Resorts properties in Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii.

Each of the families completed their two-week vacation challenge at three great family resorts: The Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa (1300 Tuyuna Trail Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico 87004); the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa (1571 Poipu Road Koloa, Hawaii 96756) and the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino (111 Country Club Drive Incline Village, Nevada, USA 89451).

Once there, the contest allowed for each family’s adventures in local culture, new cuisine and a variety of outdoor activities to be recorded with video cameras. Hyatt took this “documentary” footage, assembled it, and posted it online as episodic Webisodes. FTF was interested in learning a little bit about each family, where they’re from and how they felt about tackling such an active family vacation in a new environment. Through Hyatt representatives, FTF interviewed the Sonnad Family of Washington; the O’Neill Family of Idaho; the Li Family of Miami, Florida; and the Moore family of Tampa, Florida.

In these interviews, each family shares their experiences, concerns and challenges, with an eye to helping other family travelers learn more about active adventure vacations with kids. In addition to these interviews, FTF readers can view the five finalist videos on www.hyattadventurechallenge.com.

Meet the O’Neills

The O’Neill Family of Boise, Idaho is proud to be active in their local community, and mom Kathy founded and remains involved in the YMCA’s “Kids Helping Kids” program. This has not dampened their enthusiasm to see the world, though; the O’Neills dream of going to any African country and Cambodia to volunteer with “Free the Children.” Meanwhile, their travel together has included many outdoor adventures, such as crab catching in the San Juan Islands and hiking excursions at Gospel Hump.

Thanks to Hyatt’s Ultimate Adventure Challenge, Kathy and husband Derick, plus Drake (age 9) and Maison (age 11), had the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors at three Hyatt resorts. Here are their thoughts:

Q. What did you learn as individuals, or as a family, from this experience?

A. We learned many things about our family and our ability to communicate and act as a team working together for the same purpose / goal. We realized we all had the same goal and therefore, it was easy to all be on the same page.

It was a real challenge being way from our 4-year-old son, Paul. We tried to talk with him daily and sent him postcards while getting special gifts for him at each stop and knowing that we need to win so he could participate in future trips to Hyatt’s. It reaffirmed how fortunate we are to be a family and have each other to rely on and count on for support and love. at.

Q. Going to such great family destinations must have been an incredible experience. What were the highlights?

A. A few of the highlights were July 6th — it was our 16th wedding anniversary. The day started with a hot air balloon ride as a family and finished with a family dinner. It was a special opportunity to expose our kids to our relationship leading up to our marriage, and now.

Meeting people from all walks of life was another highlight. We created some relationships and met people we would never have met in Boise. We wanted to capture these moments so we all talked about images and memories we wanted to remember.

Our favorite moment during the Adventure Challenge was sitting together during the final night celebration and reflecting with each other on how much can be done, seen and experienced in such a short period of time and the great experience we all had. Namely friendships, relationships, culture, cuisine, architecture, laughter, management, professionalism, emotions and growth.

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This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.