Students Climb - Philly and Camden

It’s 3:30 on a Wednesday afternoon in 2008 and Go Vertical Climbing Gym in Philadelphia is echoing with the sounds of pure enjoyment, mental concentration, and physical exhaustion.  A group of 20 African American students from an all boys charter school in West Philadelphia move up and down the 30-50 foot walls, run from route to route, and cheer each other on from the bright blue mats. 

This is their fourth and final trip to Go Vertical.  All 20 boys initially completed a two day getting started course where they learned the basics of rock climbing in a gym: rope management, movement on the wall, communication.  In the spring, the group will participate in an entire day of outdoor climbing just north of Philadelphia at Ralph Stover State Park where they will practice and test their new skills on real rock.

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While teaching at the all boys’ school, I organized this group of students to climb at the local gym where I worked part-time.  I wanted my students to experience something they would never have otherwise considered.  I wanted them to be challenged and step out of their comfort zone.  I wanted them to learn to trust their own abilities and that of a team of people.  In those short four weeks, my students surpassed all expectations of their rock climbing skills and personal assumptions.

Reflecting back on this time almost 10 years later, I can’t help but think about the impact those few short days had on that group of young men.  For four days, my students took personal risks, built trusting relationships, and worked together towards a common goal of reaching the top of a wall.

What would be the larger impact on high-needs students in urban areas if they were able to climb more?  If they were able to develop character skills while doing so?  If they had someone – a mentor – to guide them through this process?  Why not give more students this opportunity? 

Students Climb was born.

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Mission Statement
Students Climb aspires to support students in their transition to high school and beyond through rock climbing, mentorship, and character development.

Who We Are & What We Do
Students Climb is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools in the Camden City and Philadelphia areas in order to provide high needs students access to mentoring and character education through the sport of rock climbing.  Outdoor activities such as rock climbing allow young people the opportunity to experience an activity they typically would never encounter.  Rock climbing creates the perfect scenario for young people to step out of their comfort zone, set personal goals, persevere through challenges, build confidence, and feel a sense of accomplishment when goals are met.  Specifically, high needs students in urban settings benefit immensely from access to outdoor activities, mentorship programs, and character development.

Students Climb will work in partnership with local schools in the Camden City and Philadelphia areas where groups of students in grades 5-8 and one faculty mentor will travel to a local climbing gym once a week for a 19-week period.  For two hours each visit, students will gain the knowledge and skills of basic climbing and rope management, goal setting, progress monitoring, nutrition and health, teamwork, leadership, and perseverance.  Culminating at the end of the 19 weeks, students will travel to an outdoor climbing location to test their newly acquired skills on real rock.

Donations

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  • Lawrence Corvi 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Erin Hoopes 
    • $50 
    • 40 mos
  • Greg Standeven 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Abeku Hayes 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
See all

Organizer

David Corvi 
Organizer
Philadelphia, PA
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