I sometimes think about how selfish climbing is. An addiction that is taking up too much of my time. The weddings and other events I have missed while on expedition...the time and resources I have used to 'feed the rat' over the years...
Then I think about what it has done for me...learning of an eyeopening new lifestyle based on simplicity and functioning at the actual geographic fringes...lessons in math and science as I learned rope systems and climbing techniques...taking on physical challenges that my mind thought impossible but, after practice, muscle memory thought differently of...learning to calculate risk and judge the rationality of fearful situations...then I think about some examples of climbers who have taken their success gained through climbing to business or other realms with incredible results.
And it brings me back to feeling that climbing really does far more good than bad for a person.
Being involved with Kismet Rock Foundation is one way that I have been able to take this selfish activity that has given so much to me and pass it on to others*. This organization has a simple but very strong mission: to offer an education in climbing to children who otherwise wouldn't have access to it. None of the noise about enhancing self esteem or empowerment or keeping kids out of trouble (arguably these are some of the outcomes though), it is just about providing extraordinary opportunities for 'good' kids who are missing just that in their lives. Kismet kids (who are from NH, ME, and MA) start the program at age thirteen (remember 7th grade?) and return for one week per summer for four years to finish the curriculum. They primarily learn rock climbing and also learn first aid. Tons more info on the program here.
Now I will get to my real point: Kismet Rock Foundation is offering a double matching opportunity for first time donors right now. That means that for every dollar donated by a first time donor, two additional dollars will be contributed by friends of the organization. Opportunities like this don't happen very often.
If you value what climbing (or learning any extracurricular activity for that matter) has given to you, please consider supporting Kismet. Any amount truly does make a difference for a small organization like this.
If you want, we can even keep the whole climbing-is-selfish theme going here, and instead of just giving selflessly, take me up on my offer to give you a long belay on your project next time I see you in exchange for participating.
“[Going to Kismet] keeps me out of trouble. It strengthens my body. It helps me stop my bad habits.” –Josh
“The view from the mountains was clear and beautiful. When I was on top of the mountain I was very nervous. I cried. You gave me the opportunity to experience a sport that I probably would never have tried in my lifetime…I will never forget it.” -Kendra
"Thank you all for having me. Thank you for keeping me safe and sound. Thanks for teaching me to rock climb and to be respectful to others." -Brian
*In the interest of full disclosure, Kismet is a client of mine so I do get something back from giving to them, and, in a sense, from any of you giving to them. Ironic? Certainly. Contrived? Perhaps. This was a hard post for me to write for that reason only.