Last Saturday was another wonderful event with the International Rescue Committee at Vertical World! This was our third time climbing with the IRC — the first time was exactly one year ago at The Seattle Bouldering Project, and the second time was outdoors at Exit 38 in October. It’s always such a pleasure climbing with these stoked kids, and it’s been really cool watching some familiar faces open up and progress along with new faces experiencing the magic of climbing for their first times!
We started the day off checking in the crew and getting them all geared up in their climbing shoes. Some of the kids from the outdoor trip were extra psyched to get on the ropes again. Their stoke was contagious and we were all giddy to climb!
After some fun icebreakers and getting to know each other we split into groups and headed out to boulder and top rope. The kids demonstrated some serious skill and were running laps non-stop!
Some of the kids were uncertain and scared; however, after a few tries they were hooked! Everyone was encouraging each other and praising one another for pushing themselves to the top.
Some kids were more psyched on ropes while others were more drawn to the more casual and social allure of bouldering. Regardless of what they wanted to do our volunteers were ready to hang and support.
The kids who joined us outdoors were really excited. This was their first time being indoors on ropes which was an interesting experience for them. Some kids said the gym routes were easier because the holds were more obvious and bigger (and probably because it was dry!). One of the IRC staff told us about a group of kids she picked up prior to the event, and how they were eagerly waiting for her at the door because they were so excited. It’s so special to know some of the kiddos are really into it!
The energy was great and everything went quite smooth. Volunteers grabbed their shoes and chalk and joined the kids in the fun.
After sending thousands of feet worth of routes we all gathered to share reflections on the experience and dig into some well deserved pizza (and hummus for halal eaters), mmm…
It was another incredible event with so much joy. IRC staff talked about how awesome it was to see some of the kids open up through the experience. Some of the regular volunteers and youth were able to make some deeper connections, and everyone shared some memorable experiences together. Please check out IRC for their amazing work with these kids and refugee families in Seattle.
Special thanks to our volunteers and sponsors for making these events so special!