The Climbing Connection is a woman-owned business that uses rock climbing as a medium for to define and challenge limiting beliefs.
Who are we?
The Climbing Connection is one of few women-owned rock climbing
organizations. Michelle Lloyd, the founder, has been climbing 15+ years and holds numerous certifications in the outdoor world as a guide and instructor. She also has extensive experience in the mental health world as a licensed social worker.
Michelle has straddled the line of the outdoor and mental health worlds for a number of years. This past year, she took the leap to bring the two together by creating the Climbing Connection. She needs your help to take this dream to the next level.
What's the problem?
When we think of understand our social/emotional health, western talk therapy often comes to mind. While this approach is very valuable, it primarily promotes living in the mind and understanding things like trauma and social/emotional wellness through talking and reasoning. Unfortunately, this misses the fact that our social/emotional selves are often sensation-based rather than formed in words and logic.
There are some outdoor adventure agencies that encourage the development of life skills through adventure outings, however these are often costly and rely heavily on the experience of "getting to the top" of a climb.
There is a gap in access to thoughtful curriculum that uses activities like rock climbing to deepen our understanding of ourselves. Some schools and organizations are adopting practices like meditation and yoga during their school days which is a wonderful alternative to the same goal.
Rock Climbing offers an alternative avenue that speaks to many youth's interest in "risk-taking", having the decision making responsibility, solving physical and mental challenges, and working with a community to make progress.
While other curriculums that offer rock climbing as a component do a beautiful job addressing one aspect of getting to know the self: emotional identification, processing internal experiences, learning grounding skills by being outdoors, developing skills like confidence by trying something scary and hard few programs approach these skills with the understanding that they are interconnected.
How are we solving the problem?
The door for many people into rock climbing is the local rock gym or a guided outdoor experience. Many schools and organizations are interested in the sport's expanding popularity and are looking for opportunities to try it out.
There are a growing number of indoor rock climbing gyms and experiential education organizations that offer rock climbing courses/programs as part of their menu. The Climbing Connection's intention is to create curriculums that both these organizations and the general public can access and participate in. Our programs and curriculums stand out because they are built on 4 principals that we have seen help set the stage for participants to feel comfortable getting to know some possibly uncomfortable feelings.
How does our approach solve a need?
We've found that approaching programming based on the principles of: Community, Individual, Risk, and Integration creates a safe, curious space for individuals to access their inner selves. With climbing as a foundation, they are able to transpose the goal setting, strategizing, and accomplishment of their desires from climbing into their lives.
Who is this for?
Our hope is to work primarily with teens and young adults, though this approach
is beneficial for all ages. We are currently taking a stand at the college level and need your support to start to offer this type of programing in other areas where hard emotional experiences often goes unseen and/or unaddressed. To start, these spaces are our public schools, the foster care system, mental health system, recovery communities, juvenile detention system, and communities that are not living with the same power and privilege as others.
Let's talk money: How much and what for?
We're hoping to raise enough money for The Climbing Connection to operate as a LLC company that has the ability to safely provide top-of-the-line programming and equipment to participants. We are also hoping to start a small scholarship fund that will allow The Climbing Connection to provide workshops to organizations that may not otherwise think to use climbing as a way to do social/emotional work or have the socioeconomic means to seek out this type of programming.
We are intending to raise $15,000. This number provides a full set of outdoor rock climbing gear, insurance, legal feels, consulting fees, and a small scholarship fund. It looks big at first glance, but if we all work together can be approached in very reasonable ways. For example:
- 16 people contributing $51 which will cover the cost of 4 climbing ropes.
- 12 people contributing $150 which will cover the cost of equipment for 12 people (harness, helmet, belay device).
- 30 people contributing $75 which will cover the cost of insurance fees.
- 20 people contributing $22 which will cover the cost of trademarking.
If a monetary contribution doesn't feel like the best option, we would be equally grateful for you to pass this link along to 3 friends you think may be interested in what we are going.
One of Rock Climbing's unique attributes is how supportive and welcoming the community can be. We ares thankful kids and young adults we have the opportunity to work with have a huge community, with you in it, rooting for their success.