Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club in north St. Louis. With the success of that wall, the organization stepped up its efforts to seek out donations and partners to build more. Over the next several years, 1Climb told its story, and many companies have come on board with a shared goal: to get 100,000 kids climbing. Back at the grand opening in Denver, I caught the attention of Kevin Spak, outdoor education coordinator at the club. Spak is an energetic young man who enjoys talking about the club almost as much as he loves the kids that come here. He gave me a rundown of what clubs like his offer: Each Denver club sees around 200 kids a day, from the ages of 6 to 18. They provide services ranging from STEM programs, arts and crafts, sports, health and wellness, leadership training, and now a climbing wall - all for the price of $2 a year per child. Spak mentioned how the wall would be a centerpiece in many new programs that not only benefit this club, but all 20 clubs in the Denver area, which are able to visit and take advantage of the amenity. Having the wall allows the club to appeal to more kids, offering an option to those who may not enjoy team sports. The wall in Denver is quite sizable, standing at nearly 20 feet tall and 24 feet wide, taking up a corner of the club's small gym. 1Climb has partnered with Eldorado Climbing Walls to design a unique wall for each facility. Watching the kids climb was the highlight of the day; some kids were meticulous as they climbed, looking for the next colored hold that would get them up the wall. But most simply jumped from hold to hold, not caring if it was the right color. They called to friends on the ground and next to them. Kids have no fear, and it showed as they climbed and fell, got back up, and did it all again. The one lone adult on the wall, Kevin Jorgeson, had been hanging out with the kids all day. Watching him climb, I'm not sure who was enjoying it more. For this grand opening, the club ran more than 100 kids through the process. Thanks to many partnerships in the climbing and outdoor community, 1Climb has commitments to install four walls in 2020. With the continued support and dedication of the people and companies involved, I'm sure 1Climb will meet and exceed its goal of getting 100,000 kids climbing - all from its headquarters here in the Gateway City.
Kids climbing at the J. Churchill Owen Boys & Girls Club in Denver.
terrain July/August 2020
& into her backyard.
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