Kismet Announces New Executive Director and Program Manager to Lead Kismet Into Its 23rd Year

North Conway, NH, December 2021 - The trustees of the Kismet Rock Foundation are pleased to announce the appointment of new Executive Director Krissy Fraser and new Program Manager Ara Morton to lead Kismet in its continuing mission of nourishing the physical, intellectual, and emotional development of underserved rural and urban children in New England.

Fraser joins the organization following ten years working in marketing, development, and event management for the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory, and prior to that working in the outdoor industry. Her strength and depth of experience in development and communications will be instrumental in elevating the fundraising efforts of Kismet to ensure its sustainability moving forward.

“Living in the Mount Washington Valley for nearly 20 years, I have always admired the work of Kismet and am thrilled to be a part of this special organization,” said Fraser, “The goal to help kids that are less privileged, but have hopes and dreams as we all do, is remarkable, and I am honored to be involved.”

Morton comes with a wealth of knowledge in technical climbing as well as the critical aspects of developing youth programs and leadership curricula. Most recently, he has been the Head Coach at Salt Pump Gym in Portland ME, and is transitioning from a two-year term on the Kismet Board to the Program Manager role. His understanding and knowledge of the mission, combined with his passion for climbing and teaching, make him ideal for the role. 

“The Program Manager role is the heart of the connection to our students, and having worked with Ara in recent years, it is so exciting to know he will be leading this essential element of the Kismet program,” said Board Treasurer Donna McCluskey, who has been involved with Kismet since its founding.

“Kismet is now heading into its 23rd year providing an important program to underserved children, and we look forward to continuing to impact many lives," said Board Chair Dana Etra. "Dedicated efforts over the past few transitional years have afforded us the opportunity to thoughtfully fill these critical roles. When we met Krissy – and were already aware of Ara’s strengths and passion – we immediately realized they would be the perfect team, and are thrilled with what they individually and collectively bring to Kismet.”

Kismet, like many nonprofit organizations, faced challenging times due to the pandemic. The devoted community and talented staff enabled Kismet to adapt to elevated costs that support the summer programs. Kismet will build back to six weeks of programming for the 2022 summer and to eight weeks in 2023. Over the winter months, three new groups of students will be selected from schools in Carroll and Coos counties in NH, Manchester NH, Portland and Fryeburg ME, and Boston MA. Each group of eight students will be provided a four-year scholarship to participate each summer in a week-long program of daily technical rock climbing instruction with certified guides while living in an inclusive family-like environment. Students return with the same group over the course of the four years. The bonding and learning experience provided by the home, combined with the physical challenge of rock climbing in some of New England’s premier rock-climbing locations, provides a formative life experience for the students.
To learn more and support Kismet Rock Foundation visit kismetrockfoundation.org.

About Kismet Rock Foundation:

Founded in 2000 by Mike Jewell, Kismet Rock Foundation nourishes the physical, intellectual, and emotional development of underserved rural and urban children throughout New England before they enter their formative teen years. Our success in redirecting the path and supporting the potential of children is accomplished by providing a comprehensive education in technical rock climbing within the context of a stable and loving family-like atmosphere.