By Jason Bove and Jason Spencer. Header photo by Saki Cake.
As climbers know, there is much more to climbing than just getting yourself to the top of a route. Whether you are pushing or pulling, or doing it right or wrong, you are still using your body to exert the energy required to do so. Yes, climbing is a physical workout, but there is a mental and emotional aspect to all of this, as well. We at Sacramento Pipeworks are delighted to share these experiences with others, and are excited when the outcomes are as positive as you will read in the following story.
Opportunity Adventure supports underserved youth in developing social and life skills through interaction with nature as a strategy for improving connection to the environment, themselves, and others.
Pipeworks is pleased to host Green Light Get Outside (GLGO) as they share the wonder of climbing through the Opportunity Adventure (OA) program. OA supports underserved youth in developing social and life skills through interaction with nature as a strategy for improving connection to the environment, themselves, and others. Throughout the school year, GLGO also facilitates workshop-based outdoor education experiences and wilderness adventures. These opportunities are designed to connect students with nature, and give each individual the experience of working within a group to explore the natural world, complete projects, build self-confidence, practice team building, reinforce healthy communication, and utilize problem-solving skills they are learning in the classroom. Rock climbing is an excellent activity to support the cultivation of all this…and more!
Introducing the students to indoor rock climbing opportunities at Pipeworks provides the necessary structure to support confidence-building as they work through difficult challenges. The resulting camaraderie will be of key importance for future backpacking trips and other outdoor adventures. It also gives the kids the opportunity to dig deep and overcome fear as they experience something completely new! In just a few sessions, we can already see how climbing is changing mindsets correlated with breaking cycles of dysfunction in their lives. It has been an amazing experience to watch them learn to support each other and cheer each other on. Many started climbing to only a few feet before fear set in, followed by completing routes that they originally thought were impossible. They have learned the benefits of perseverance firsthand, and how supporting one another is more beneficial than tearing each other down.
In just a few sessions, we can already see how climbing is changing mindsets correlated with breaking cycles of dysfunction in their lives.
GLGO is committed to focusing on so much more than just the technical aspects of climbing, such as exposure to social skills and new challenges the participants likely would never have had the opportunity to experience. This is perhaps the most valuable part of this partnership with Pipeworks. For many of these kids, climbing is some of the only physical activity they experience on a regular basis. Soon, they are wondering about climbing outdoors and what else they might be capable of.
GLGO, a project of the Inquiring Systems Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit sponsors projects working in regenerative and sustainability realms to create change at the systems level. They work with Yolo and Sacramento County to help make schools more human-focused and heart-centered. If you are interested in supporting Green Light Get Outside and our efforts, please feel free to ask for more details about volunteer opportunities.