A note from our founder - Black lives matter
To everyone hurting: we see you, and hear you, and love you. I’ve been struggling to find the words to speak. I want to do something beyond an Instagram post without substance or action. I want to try and use this platform in the best way that I know how. Myself, our small staff, ambassadors, and athletes have been heavily affected by these recent tragedies. I realize this isn’t about us. There has been so much pain and heartache for so many for so long. Sometimes it’s easy to not recognize issues until they affect you directly. This is something we can all work on and we all need to open our eyes to.
Now, more than ever, the issues of race, discrimination, and accessibility for the black community are requiring action worldwide, in our personal worlds, and spheres of influence, specifically - our outdoor community. I grew up as a white kid in the suburbs. I camped and I climbed and I didn’t realize that not everyone had the same opportunities and experiences that I was able to have. As an adult, and as a brand founder, I have realized that life is not all about me and my goal is to help other people first. Years ago I realized that many brands in the outdoor space focus heavily on environment issues. Protecting the environment is very important and many of these brands have the power and the resources to make a massive and helpful difference in those spaces, much more so than I could. I had an epiphany that we would one day be able to make a larger scale impact on the environment, but first and foremost, my heart told me to focus on people. I will continue to help with our sustainability programs for packaging, materials, and distribution of product, but I’ve always known that we could find a way to help people. I looked for years for a way to give back. I was affected and inspired by other brands that give to causes, but I also saw many brands create a give back that was nothing more than a branding exercise for profit, and I absolutely refused to do something that wouldn’t make a real difference. I do not have all the answers and I realize that what we are trying to do can not solely fix so much deep rooted pain, for so many, for so long. However, I want to try and help the best way I know how. In 2017, I helped start a non-profit called 1Climb. As a group, we wanted to help people and break down walls of accessibility for less privileged communities to find climbing as soon as possible - with the hope of more people eventually having better accessibility to climbing and the great outdoors. Through 1Climb, we believe a space has been created that will grant accessibility to a sport, and a positive, safe, environment that may not have previously been available to them, while giving those already enjoying that environment the privilege of being able to engage directly with youth in the communities where some of their favorite gyms are located.
We decided to put climbing walls directly where the kids already spend their time, instead of waiting for kids to find climbing. The idea is simple. We are bringing the sport of climbing to kids by installing walls at Boys and Girls climbs around the country. There are 5 walls already built and there are 9 others in the planning and construction process. This is the most important thing we are working on in the space that we know well. It’s what I know how to do and this is how I know to make a small difference. I’m encouraging everyone else to find a way in your space to help as well. Find your way to make a difference. I realize there are many other ways to get involved and that you may find a much better way. I encourage you to do so. I do not have all the answers but I refuse to stay silent.