Not your average 'Joe': volunteer rock climber unites climbing community for kids
Who is Joe Wong? If you've ever been to Cliffhanger Vancouver on a weeknight there is a good chance that you know Joe Wong, one of the founding members of the Vancouver Rock Climbing Group (VRCG). While the VRCG has been immensely successful, Joe wanted to form a new group that would help disadvantaged teenagers harness the power of sport and climbing to affect positive change in their lives. Joe’s passion for getting people out and on the wall is unparalleled, and on October 7th he was at Cliffhanger Richmond for the inaugural session of his new venture: Climb and Conquer.
Joe’s goals have always been to network climbers, to introduce climbing to everyone, and to get climbers to affect positive change within the community. In the past the VCRG has organized several fundraising events for various charities. Based on the success of these events, such as Joe’s Climbers Unite for Japan fundraiser, Joe wanted to start something more long-term that would be specifically geared towards kids.
According to Joe, sports have always helped him make good decisions and have always been a major part of his healthy physical and mental lifestyle. Generally speaking, people who play sports or engage in regular physical activity are less likely to smoke, use drugs, or have poor eating and sleeping habits. Joe says this is because they are too busy having fun! Unfortunately, many children and teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t have access to climbing because of the cost of gym passes and equipment rentals and lack of climbing mentors, among other reasons. After five months of planning, Climb and Conquer has emerged as a low cost climbing program to help kids face the various challenges in their lives.
All of the participants in Climb and Conquer’s first event were from the Kidstart mentoring program. Kidstart is a mentoring program through PLEA Community Services that helps young people grow, thrive and connect with the community through friendship. 8 kids, along with their mentors took part in the climb. Most of the kids had never climbed before and some of them felt a bit nervous before they got on the wall. The feelings of trepidation passed quickly and everyone was having fun after 15 minutes of climbing.
Climb and Conquer will be an ongoing event on the last Friday of the month at Cliffhanger Richmond. This is just the beginning; Joe’s goal is to develop it into a more frequent event. None of this would be possible without the help and support from everyone at Cliffhanger Richmond, Colin Maish, Jeff Kydd, and all the staff; Kidstart mentoring program, and all the amazing volunteer leaders from the VRCG.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Kidstart program and how to become a volunteer check out www.kidstart.ca or phone 375-KIDS
Information about Climb and Conquer can be found by emailing Joe Wong directly at email@example.com
“Climbing is ridiculously fun and a big adventure for people of all levels. Most importantly, it's a SHARED adventure, where people support and celebrate each other's success and progress. Many people have selflessly supported me at climbing. This spirit of community greatly motivates me to share the adventure of climbing with everybody and of course climb as much as I possibly can.” – Joe Wong
Way to go Joe!!!