Being a non-profit in the Presidio has many perks–the ocean views are spectacular, lunchtime means walks along quiet trails, and getting to work with a network of wonderful companies and nonprofits in a national park is unique. One such company is Planet Granite, just down the hill from Outward Bound California’s Bay Area office.
Planet Granite San Francisco is part of a home-grown chain of climbing and fitness gyms and they have opened the doors to their premier indoor climbing routes for Outward Bound California. When rain becomes a safety hazard for our one-day rock climbing programs, Planet Granite allows our staff to instruct the program at their gym. They’ve been a fun event venue, a community leader, and their founder, Micky Lloyd, has been a strong supporter of Outward Bound California even after his term as a board member ended in 2013. Because of our like missions, their welcoming staff, and our common love of challenge, our connection is a natural fit.
Outward Bound California’s Bay Area Program Manager and long-time recreational climber, Jason Schmidt explains, “Rock climbing is one of the modes Outward Bound California uses to deliver our mission. The activity is a challenging experience physically, mentally and emotionally and by working through those challenges with our students we hope to transform them. The same transformations are possible in the gym.”
During our preparation for our annual rappelling fundraiser in March, the City Skyline Challenge, our fundraising rappellers will have the opportunity to get comfortable on the ropes at Planet Granite. Their friendly staff will teach those who don’t already know the safety rules and knots–then they will climb and rappel! The event is more than just a fun evening at the gym–the skills they learn in a harness are the same skills students will learn on course. Once they get to know what it feels like to climb and rappel, they will be better prepared to rappel down 230 feet on the side the Hyatt Regency in 2016.
On top of the invitation to bring our school groups during rained-out days and as a fun venue to prepare our rappelling fundraisers, many of our staff utilize the gym’s varied climbing routes and comprehensive fitness and yoga classes to build their skills and muscles. Many of OBCA’s instructors are also recreational climbers, both indoors and on real rocks.
Along with many of our staff members, Jason frequents Planet Granite to help keep some of the muscles used for climbing in shape. Jason explains why climbing is often a mental challenge as much as a physical one:
“One thing I’ve learned at the gym is that the only way to make something that seems really hard or nearly impossible attainable is to try it. Often I force myself to try climbs that look hard, or of a style that isn’t my strong suit just to get the mental break through, often being more successful than I imagined. Other times I get completely shut down, but its top roping, which is a safe space. This can translate into how you approach tasks at work or in life that seem daunting.”
Thank you Planet Granite for pushing our students and staff out of their comfort zone and supporting our life changing work so any student, regardless of income level, can take an OBCA course.
Find out what the City Skyline Challenge 2016 is all about.