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HI Chicago Group Stories Archive

What Our Visiting Groups are Doing in Chicago!

Amnesty International Shares HI Vision for Global Understanding — June 2003
Amnesty International held their fourth human rights training program at HI-Chicago since the hostel’s opening in 2000. High school teachers, college students and others from the Midwest region gathered to discuss key issues for the organization, which works to promote freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. AI shares Hostelling International’s mission to promote awareness and understanding of other individuals throughout the world.

Church Group Tests Cooking Skills — June 2003
Twenty youth from Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Missouri came to Chicago to serve, even including hostel guests in their generous acts. In addition to their service work during the day, the group used the hostel’s large kitchen to prepare a meal and invite other guests to join them. The group took advantage of a number of other group services provided by the hostel, including assistance with itinerary planning, use of meeting space, and the opportunity to order CTA transportation passes.

Seventh Graders Experience Diversity and Culture — May 2003
Students from Potter’s House in Grand Rapids, Michigan enjoyed their annual trip to Chicago in late May. The school serves low-income minority families representing a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. During their time at Hostelling International, the group interacted with other hostellers and utilized the hostel’s spacious meeting and common rooms to gather together as a group.

CCI Springboards Eastern European Students Into Jobs — May 2003
The Center for Cultural Interexchange (CCI) returned to Hostelling International for the 16th time since the hostel opened in 2000. Nearly 100 students from Eastern European countries arrived to Chicago in an effort to find summer jobs with the assistance of CCI. Staying at Hostelling International allows the students to stay in a convenient downtown location while completing an orientation to the program and life in the United States. CCI is the most frequent group to book at the hostel, reserving up to 400 beds at a time on occasion.

Canadian Choir Group Tours the States — April 2003
Choir members at United Memmonite Educational Institute in Leamington, Ontario picked Chicago as one destination point during their 2003 tour. In addition to musical performances, the choir explored many of the city’s most popular museums and attractions with City Pass. The pass saves visitors nearly $40 in admission prices to the Hancock Observatory, The Art Institute, The Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. The group also took advantage of Hostelling International’s offer to arrange for 1,2,3, and 5-day CTA passes for groups.

National Youth Poetry Festival Celebrates 6th Year — April 2003
Over 200 young artists converged in Chicago to participate in the 6th Annual National Youth Poetry Festival, Brave New Voices, which was based at Hostelling International. The Festival is designed to create a forum and community among youth with a focus on literature and the spoken word. The event involved youth open mics, adult readings featuring professional poets and performs, panel discussions and workshops occurring throughout the hostel.

Pursuing Missions in an Urban Environment — March 2003
Youth from First United Methodist Church in Troy, OH made missions their focus for their mid-week trip to Chicago. The group spent their time helping a local church, assisting a community-based benevolence association, and serving at the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). The GCGD is one of Hostelling International’s partner organizations for groups interested in doing service work in the city.

Notre Dame Architecture Students Participate in Studio — March 2003
Students from the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame participated in an urban design studio based at the hostel for a 3 day weekend in April. The studio was led by owners of a local architecture and urban design firm and utilized the hostel’s meeting space for the group’s presentations, teaching and drawing sessions.

Better than Biology Lab — February 2003
Junior and senior biology students from John Marshall High School in Rochester, MN came to Chicago on a science-themed trip. The group visited the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum during the day and enjoyed a local dinner theater for their evening entertainment. The theater, called Tommy Gun’s garage, transports guests to the 1920’s era in an audience interactive “Speakeasy” and entertains them with singing and dancing by famous gangster characters of the day. Each attraction the group visited was within walking distance of the hostel’s perfect downtown location.

Michigan Group Explores Surgical Science Museum — February 2003
Seniors from a health occupations class in Berkley, MI made a return trip to the hostel, braving Chicago’s cold February weather for some outdoor activities during their time in the city. The group went ice skating at Millennium Park and visited Navy Pier during their free time. For the educational aspect of the trip, the class went to the International Museum of Surgical Science. In addition to the major museums that most visitors are aware of, Chicago offers numerous lesser-known museums like this one that are worth discovering and exploring.

Cross Country Tour Concentrates on Racial Discrimination — January 2003
Chicago was one destination for a “Prejudice Across America” study tour that focused on race relations throughout the country. Students from Whitworth College began their adventure in Spokane, WA and traveled to major US cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans, Memphis and Washington DC. While in Chicago, the group toured Pilsen, listened to a speaker at the Southeast Asia Center in Uptown, and visited the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum. The entire tour lasted 15 days.

University High School Seniors Choose Chicago for Annual Trip — January 2003
The question was not what UHS seniors did but what they did not do during their annual class trip. The 60 students and chaperones started out their weekend together at Second City, a popular comedy troupe which boasts the launch of several Saturday Night Live stars, and dinner out on the town. The remainder of the weekend was spent in several smaller groups, each choosing different activities ranging from museum visits, ice skating, shopping, going to Chinatown, stopping by Lincoln Park Zoo, and visiting Hull House. The group stayed at Hostelling International-New York during their class trip last year.

Christmastime Culture — December 2002
Girl Scouts from the Sybaquay Council in Elgin, IL took a holiday trip in early December, exposing the girls to the magic of the Christmas season in Chicago. One of the highlights for the group was going to the world famous Joffrey Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker. The performance, which has become a Chicago tradition for many through the years, always takes place at the beautiful Auditorium Theater located less than one block from the hostel. December brings a variety of opportunities for Chicago visitors, including the Michigan Avenue and State Street stores, the German outdoor mart Chriskindlemarket, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “Welcome Yule” performance, and Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier.

From Ghana to Chicago: Friends Reunite — December 2002
Volunteers for Ghana Peace Corps reunited in Chicago to ring in the new year together. Nearly 30 individuals made the trip, spending their time chatting, reminiscing, and exploring the Windy City. The group took advantage of the special opportunities that hostelling offers by going on pub crawl led by two of HI-Chicago’s volunteers. On New Year’s Eve everybody celebrated in-house, renting a meeting room for food, games, and fellowship into the early morning hours.

A Little More than Tying Knots and Making Campfires — November 2002
Boy Scouts enjoy more than the “great outdoors” experience alone, as 30 of them proved by spending a weekend overnighting at the hostel and exploring urban Chicago. The group caught some college football on TV following their arrival and then ventured into the downtown area for a tour of UBS Tower, lunch at Giordano’s Pizza, and a visit to Sears Tower. That evening the group took advantage of the hostel’s kitchen and lobby area by cooking dinner and watching a movie. On Sunday the scouts did a self-guided tour of the Loop with resources created by HI staff.

New Traditions — November 2002
International students from MISA (Minnesota International Student Association) are making their own holiday traditions by traveling from Minneapolis to Hostelling International-Chicago each Thanksgiving. The students explored museums by day and night clubs by night. They ate their Turkey Day meal at Ann Sathers, a popular Swedish restaurant famous for their tasty cinnamon rolls. The group has been traveling to Chicago for their Thanksgiving break for the past ten years and began staying at Hostelling International following its grand opening in the fall of 2000.

German Exchange Group Makes Final Stop in Chicago — November 2002
High schoolers from Stuttgart, Germany said “guten tag” to Chicago in early November, making the most of their 3 days in the Windy City. The students were on their way out of the country after their time in LaCrosse, Wisconsin on an exchange program. During their time here, they enjoyed the night view from the Hancock, experienced the breeze from Lake Michigan at Navy Pier, and ate at Hard Rock CafĂ© in the River North area. HI Volunteer Director also escorted them to a dance performance at the Cultural Center on their second night in town.

Follow the Leaders — November 2002
Hostelling International is more than a place to sleep overnight, as students from College of Lake County discovered at their leadership conference last weekend. The 50 attendees made the most of the hostel’s meeting rooms, kitchen and dining hall, student lounge, and in-house restaurants during their time here. The group’s stay was made possible through the scholarship program offered by Hostelling International.

Goblins, Chopsticks, and Helping Hands — October 2002
Youth and chaperones from a small town in Indiana had no trouble finding their way to some big city experiences last weekend. On their first evening here, the group from Chapel Pike Wesleyan Church went on the Haunted “L” Tour, which features spooky tales and songs of Chicago’s sprit filled-history as the El circles around the Loop. The next day the students volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a food distribution center working to feed the hungry in Cook County. This was followed by a visit to Chinatown for a tour and dinner on well-known Wentworth Avenue. HI staff enjoyed the opportunity to help this group plan activities during their time at the hostel.

Renowned Artist Attracts Group from Cleveland — October 2002
Over 40 students from Cleveland Institute of Art piled into a bus early Friday morning, ready for the 6 hour trip to Chicago. The group stayed at the hostel while in town for the SOFA (Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art) Chicago event at Navy Pier. A major feature at the event is the popular work of Dale Chihuly, whose work has been featured at Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, drawing thousands of visitors to view the unique glass art sculptures throughout the park. Another group from CIA will be visiting the hostel again in November.

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The J. Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel
24 East Congress Parkway
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: 1-312-360-0300
Fax: 1-312-360-0313