USA Climbing Transformation Grants are to programs that endeavor to make the transformative power of climbing accessible and inclusive in the United States in furtherance of the mission of USA Climbing. For the 2022 inaugural grant year, there were 27 applicant programs. Applications were reviewed by a Review Committee that consisted of the Chairs of the USA Climbing Committees. Each application sought a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $20,000. The Review Committee recommended, and the USA Climbing CEO and USA Climbing Board of Directors approved, the following five programs as being eligible for TGP grants. Grants will be made possible by the generous support of donors through the USA Climbing Foundation. Future grant cycles will be announced when available.
Arizona High School Climbing Association:
The Arizona High School Climbing Association runs the Community Climbing Foundation (CCF) which provides climbing experiences to in-need and at-risk youth through partnerships with scholastic and other youth services providers such as group homes, drug treatment providers, and nonprofits that serve low-income communities. The CCF experiences are subsidized or completely paid for by CCF with support from the Arizona High School Climbing Association (HSCA), fundraising and partnerships.
The HSCA serves a general student population for high school sponsored climbing clubs. The HSCA focuses on providing every teenager in Arizona the opportunity to find rock climbing and access it with a lower than market rate climbing gym membership, recreational level coaching, and interscholastic events. The focus of the program is to allow as many students as possible to find a life-long hobby that will keep them active. The HSCA operates the Southern Arizona Climbing League offering a competitive experience through high school club participation, with the intention of expanding to other parts of Arizona.
Additional information can be found here.
Kismet Rock Foundation:
Based out of North Conway, NH, Kismet Rock Foundation provides a four-year progressive outdoor climbing curriculum with long-term goals for low income and at-risk students from New England. Students spend one week each summer, for four consecutive summers, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire learning technical climbing skills in an emotionally supportive and caring environment. The children served come from ethnically, culturally, and geographically diverse backgrounds and are limited in material and social capital, many of them from stressful home situations and/or trauma. Kismet’s four-year model allows for life-long bonds to grow and peer relationships to deepen.
The Kismet program provides scholarships for all of its students, providing access to the outdoors, extracurricular education, a week of rock-climbing instruction in the mountains, as well as one gym day during their participation week each year. Students are accepted into groups of 8 or 9, where they remain for four years. In their week of participation, first-year students learn basic climbing techniques to become familiar with site safety, to improve their ability to communicate, and to learn respect for the environment and other climbers. They begin with top-roping and eventually take part in multi-pitch days. Returning students learn more technical components of rock-climbing.
The Memphis Rox SoulSenders Program provides the South Memphis community with the only climbing teams available to youth in that local community and the only pay-what-you-can-afford program in the region. Outside of school, many youths in the South Memphis neighborhood are exposed to crime and food insecurity, exacerbated by a lack of familial income. The SoulSenders climbing teams operate on the same pay-what-you-can-model that drives the Memphis Rox climbing gym. SoulSenders believes that climbing is an apt metaphor for overcoming life’s obstacles.
The SoulSenders Youth Climbing Program is broken into three teams, a Starter Team (ages 5 – 7), a Club Team for youth of all ages and abilities to hone their skills, and a Competitive Team designed to develop competition-ready climbers and athletes. The Program tracks measurable impact in school academics and behaviors, socio-emotional development, and physical fitness goals and performance.
More information about the Memphis Rox climbing teams and the SoulSenders program can be found here.
ParaCliffHangers (PCH) is a non-profit whose mission is to make climbing physically, financially, and emotionally accessible to people with all types of disabilities at all levels of experience. A TGP grant would assist PCH in funding PCH’s Competitive Climber Program. PCH does not function as an exclusive team but as a community and means of obtaining resources for all paraclimbers. PCH was founded in late 2019 in New York City and expanded to California in 2021. In 2022, PCH is expanding to New Jersey and Maryland. To best represent the mission and voice of paraclimbers, each chapter is run and organized by climbers with disabilities.
As PCH sees it, the history of climbing is the history of paraclimbing. It is a story of humans adapting to the elements, using a mechanical system in order to conquer nature’s greatest obstacles in a pursuit of challenge and triumph. Additionally, climbing tells the story of injury and disability. The climbing community is painfully aware that disability can impact anyone at any moment.
She Can Scholarship:
The She Can Scholarship is a tuition assistance program to help support and give access to girls in competition climbing through the Bend Endurance Academy, a non-profit established in Oregon in 2009 that advocates for affordability and accessibility of sports through climbing, mountain biking, and nordic ski programs.
The program includes after-school Climbing programing as well as Development, Youth, and Climbing Competition teams. Scholarships and tuition assistance are provided to families in need of financial help in affording programs usually accessed by families of higher income levels.
More information about the Bend Endurance Academy and the She Can Scholarship can be found here.