when I was in mourning and became suicidal, climbing went from a social hobby to my lifestyle. it gave me a reason to get out of bed, to eat food, and get outside each day, quite literally.
if climbing can do that, then just imagine what it can do for a child. a child who believes that they are inadequate because numbers just don't add up right, a child who has a hard time putting sentences together and doesn't have an abundance of friends, a child who may go home with no one to tuck them in at night or help them with their homework. no matter their situation, imagine if you, yourself could provide an activity that helped such a kid understand problem solving, placed them in a community filled with support, and gave them something to look forward to after school?
Getting kids climbing seriously has so many benefits:
Increases strength, endurance, and flexinility
Encourages problem solving, planning and execution of ideas
Boosts self-esteem and builds confidence
Improves eye/hand/foot coordination
Develops communication and social skills
my own passion for getting kids climbing is a little more complicated; dealing with the loss of a child, the father bailing at the first opportunity and disappearing for a year, in that time I was broken. I had climbing as my social go-to, a place where I could workout to stay fit, but I didn't care about the grades or if I was learning anything new. but when climbing suddenly became all that I had, I was no longer pulling on rock to get to the top, I was hanging on for dear life.
I went from spending a couple hours sitting around and talking while juggernauting my way up some low grade plastic to plugging in my headphones, walking in to the gym with intention, and studying all that I could from movement to meditation. I had it in my head that I was going to do my first free, and I didn't care if I fell and died, everyone would think it was my sudden obsession with climbing and no one would question my mental awareness. because if I'm being perfectly honest, I consider this one of my suicide attempts, I was hoping to die, I considered the possibility more and more every day that I trained...and every day it made me want to climb more.
so when the time came, I got to the top, and when I realized I sent the whole thing, I sat looking over the mountain that God had moved for the view and all the crying I had been suppressing found it's way out. I realized then I should stop praying for the death I believed I deserved, because I was gone, and I committed myself to live the life I would have wanted to teach my own child. climbing did that for me, after the fact, I can't even begin to grasp what it can do for a kid who has that connection to grow with.
climbing saved my life, and now I want to save the world. purchasing a pair of shoes may not change everyone's world, but it could change someone's. SoIll founder Daniel Chancellor, creator of TOMs, Blake Mykoskie, and Professional Climber Kevin Jorgeson are on a mission to bring climbing and life changing opportunities to 100,000 kids in the Boys and Girls Club...follow the link below to be a part of something bigger, and change the world today.