Recently, PG Belmont hosted InnVision Shelter Network for a day of climbing, bouldering and all around fun! InnVision Shelter Network (IVSN) is dedicated to helping homeless families and individuals across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula return to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. They provide safe, clean, and modern shelter, as well as nutritious food, counseling services, childcare and after-school activities, job and housing search assistance, and additional supportive services. We were excited to be able to give back to our community by sharing our passion for climbing with them!
My name is Rabiya Wasi and I work as a children’s services coordinator for InnVision Shelter Network at the Opportunity Center in Palo Alto, CA. InnVision Shelter Network provides a children’s summer camp, Summer Adventures, during the months of June, July and August. This day-camp offers children a wide variety of field trips and experiences, both educational and fun. Since we do not want any child to feel excluded due to economic barriers, there is no fee for the camp. Therefore, we rely on a lot of organizations to help us make our summer the best it can be.
For Summer Adventures 2013, I wanted to do something different and slightly challenging with the kids. Most of the kids I work with are naturally athletic and daring (based on plenty of antics I’ve seen at the park.) I thought of rock climbing while looking for athletic activities for the kids and realized we had to do this. Seriously, when was the last time the average person rock climbed? That’s where Planet Granite came to the rescue. Their assistant manager, Jeremy Spitz, responded to my call for help in planning a trip to Planet Granite in Belmont. He supported us by providing us belay lessons and setting up a date for the kids to come in and climb.
What was so cool about the belay lessons was that first of all, it taught my volunteers and I a new skill. In the monotony of summer camp, this was a nice break we all needed. It also taught us how to work together as a group and helped us develop more camaraderie. I’m sure it was scary for some of our volunteers too. I mean, those walls are high! Our kids were excited to go to Planet Granite as it was somewhere they have never gone before. After wearing the harness and helmets the first thing I heard from one of the campers was “this is so cool!” The kids were not shy about climbing the walls and I was surprised they did so well! We did have a few that became unsure of themselves mid-climbing however, with a little more time and encouragement, they were able to overcome their fears and conquer the wall! This was beautiful to see. One of coolest moments was when the kids were allowed to swing through the air and safely land on the mats. If I didn’t know any better I’d think they were little Tarzans going through the jungle!
The staff from “point a” to “point b” were amazing! Whether it was working with me, or giving us belay lessons and working with the kids on our field trip, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I look forward to bringing back our group for our summer camp next year. Thank you so much, Planet Granite Belmont, for such an unforgettable experience.