Photo by Hailey Sadler
By: Greg Doyle
Greg Doyle serves as One Summit's Senior Manager of Communications & Development.
If you’ve been following our work at One Summit, you’ve likely heard of our Profiles in Resilience series, which for the past year and a half has been featuring inspiring stories from our community of warriors. What many don’t know, is that we’ve also been highlighting proven resources covering topics such as trauma, post-traumatic growth, loss and the power of storytelling. To date, all these resources have been in the format of a book. And while books are an undeniably helpful tool, we recognize that what classifies as a “resource” is both (1) much broader and (2) personal in nature. So we’re expanding focus.
The dictionary defines a resource as “a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed” (Dictionary.com). At One Summit, our most crucial “resource” is our community of volunteer Navy SEAL mentors and Team Leaders, who are responsible for facilitating our experiential learning curriculum and building long-lasting relationships with the pediatric cancer patients, siblings and families that participate in each Climb for Courage.
Our programs would not exist without them. But our mentors also serve as a much-needed extension to our team of two. Their passion, commitment and steadfast support has enabled us to strategically expand our impact while staying mission-focused on what truly matters: building resilience and spurring growth in pediatric cancer patients and their families.
If we zoom out a bit beyond our mentors, other “resources” quickly come into focus – specifically three like-minded partners who’ve been quietly offering their brand, products and employees to One Summit with no expectation of recognition or return on investment (ROI). We hope that by highlighting their unique contributions to our mission, other individuals, nonprofits and communities will be inspired to lean on like-minded partners of their own and reflect on how they themselves can be a “resource,” in ways both big and small.
Central Rock Gym, Vertical Hold and Black Diamond Equipment have been generous, long-term partners of One Summit. They share an understanding for the nature of our work, as well as a deep desire to deploy their assets in serving our community of warriors – regardless of the cost. And while they each play different roles, the successful execution of each Climb for Courage is predicated on their support.
When Adam La Reau founded One Summit in 2013, he knew the organization’s success would be largely dependent on the initial buy-in it received from a handful of Boston-area influencers. As he mentioned in his Profile in Resilience blog, one of these early influencers was Lisa Scherber, Director of Patient and Family Programs at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She, along with the Child Life team at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children, began sharing the opportunity with families in the clinic.
But identifying families and SEALs to participate in the very first Climb for Courage in March 2014 was only one side of the equation. Adam needed a venue. In stepped Central Rock Gym, who offered to provide a private area at their Watertown location to One Summit at no-cost.
Their support hasn’t wavered since. It’s grown.
Upon learning that Central Rock was opening a Manhattan location in 2019, One Summit – at the time in need of a new venue for their NYC program – reached out to see if there was any opportunity to expand its partnership. Their answer? A resounding yes.
To date, Central Rock has hosted eight Climbs for Courage and two Climb Higher follow-up events, enabling over 100 little warriors to build courage, confidence and strength alongside their SEAL mentor.
When it comes to Climb for Courage, San Diego, Vertical Hold has played a similar role since One Summit’s first program in the market in 2017. From donating the entire gym for the day, setting up kid-friendly climbing routes, engaging their employees as volunteers and sending each participant home with a 25-visit punch card to come back and climb again, they continue to selflessly leverage all the resources at their disposal on our behalf.
“It is our favorite day of the year. The smiling faces of the brave One Summit climbers are the greatest rewards. We are humbled to know that our contribution has had a significant impact.” – Alana Duyao, Director of Culture & Community, Vertical Hold
Rock walls are only useful if you have the equipment required to summit them.
If anyone knows this, its Black Diamond – who has “since 1957…been dedicated to designing and constructing the world's best climbing, skiing & mountain gear” (Black Diamond Equipment). For decades, the world’s most elite athletes have relied on the brand’s products in some of the most challenging situations.
After learning about our mission, Black Diamond saw an opportunity to play a similar role in the lives of our little warriors – who are facing challenging situations of their own, albeit in a slightly different arena. For the past two years, the brand has been providing each child that participates in Climb for Courage with a brand new Momentum harness. And not just to use for that one day. But to take with them as they move forward and participate in future One Summit programs. The brand has generously donated over 170 harnesses in total.
Coming soon: the first One Summit warrior to become a professional climber.
One Summit would like to thank Central Rock Gym, Vertical Hold and Black Diamond Equipment for their ongoing investment in our mission and community of patients, siblings, families and mentors. They are, and have been, “resources” in the truest sense of the word.
Have a Resource in Resilience you would like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.