Last week, I had the neat opportunity to bring some staff and kids from our non-profit organization to Hollywood Boulders (HB). Our organization, Door of Hope, works with families that are overcoming homelessness. We equip them with housing through our three locations, provide them with numerous resources, and ensure that their transition to stable housing is as smooth as possible. For the kids, we have an after school program that provides academic help, life skills lessons, and intentional structuring (and fun) to help piece together their lives. Our focus and mission is to equip families to lead better lives. Door of Hope does this by combating past trauma, loss, and chaos with a place where children can experience care, new memories, and stability. We are constantly looking for field trip ideas, but I had no idea that a field trip at HB could come to fruition.
On a whim, I spoke to Kevin (cool front desk staff) and Nash (the manager) about possibly bringing the kids on a field trip to Hollywood Boulders after the grand opening. Nash said something along the lines of: “Absolutely. Shoot me an email.”
The entire process was fluid, involving a series of emails, HB staff being flexible (I had to change the time - last minute - on Nash and Charlee, our instructor), and great collaboration. When planning for this trip, hyping the kids up for bouldering proved to be a challenge. “What’s that?” “No ropes? No way.” “We’ll fall and die.” Etc. etc. Justifiably so, bouldering is not high on the list of priorities when the kids’ parents are hard at work, saving money and looking for long-term housing.
Much to their surprise, the kids entered Hollywood Boulders and immediately ran to tackle mismatched problems, completely forgetting their fears and the fact that they did not know “how to fall”.
Charlee was our designated HB staff, and we absolutely lucked out. She started the field trip by gathering us into a powwow. We all shared our names and our favorite animals, in true camp fashion. Then, she patiently went over safety and demonstrations. Charlee went above and beyond to remember everyone’s names, to watch over them protectively, and to humor them with high spirits and laughs along the way.
The kids learned some valuable lessons from this event. In addition to learning about a new experience and bouldering, this trip taught them to go for things they never thought they could do. They were forced to go out of their comfort zones, and they had to learn to overcome certain fears.
Some of our kids had a real knack for bouldering. The others eventually were off killing it on the treadmills and ellipticals (if only we adults had that much enthusiasm about exercising).
As one can imagine, the kids were silly, turning the massive facility into their bonafide big-kid jungle gym. What meant the most, though, is that Hollywood Boulders and its staff gave our kids a fun, safe space for them to do just that: be kids. For that, we cannot express the amount of gratitude we have for the staff at HB. We look forward to future events, and our staff has already expressed their longing to return! Thank you, Hollywood Boulders!
P.S. The kids went home, and Avery had all the other kids do push-ups and other workouts. “We have to get stronger if we want to be better climbers!” is her mantra, and her newfound dream is to climb Mount Everest. That is all you, Charlee and HB.