Climb and Conquer Society Canada
Since the start of 2011, the Climb and Conquer Society has been facilitating climbing for youth in Vancouver who might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so.
The group has allowed 300-some youth to climb at one of Vancouver’s five gyms by providing passes, memberships, youth programs, camps, and equipment.
The Climb and Conquer Society gets referrals for youth age four to 18 from school counsellors, social workers and other youth agencies like: Big Brothers, Big Sisters, KidStart, Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents, and Family Services of Greater Vancouver.
The smiling face behind all of this empowering community work is Joseph Wong. He saw the potential and started the charity while volunteering at KidStart and the Vancouver Rock Climbing Group.
“I was visualizing an opportunity to bring climbing to families who couldn’t afford it and use climbing to empower youth mentally and physically to rise above their disadvantage backgrounds. So I went ahead, tried, and it worked out,” says Joseph.
The charity continues to grow. Last year, they took 32 youth to experience climbing outside for the first time: three trips to Squamish, led by Klemen Mali and Will Stanhope (ACMG guides who generously donated their service).
“It is a joy explosion to see the big group of youth learning how to belay, making new friends, enjoying the outdoor and sharing lots of laughter,” says Joseph.
Climb and Conquer Society is run by volunteers, who introduce the youth to climbing, and largely funded by community donations. The organization also hosts Rampage and the Christmas Climb-a-thon to raise awareness and supplement community donations.
This year, the charity will again take youth climbing outside, and they are also arranging camping trips and helping with trail maintenance.
Joseph points to the volunteers and community organizations who make the charity possible.
“This project took off first and foremost with the immense financial support from local climbing gyms: Cliffhanger, Hive, Climb Base5, Richmond Oval and Coastal Climbing,” says Joe, also noting the help of Colin Maish (Manager at Cliffhanger Richmond), Jesse Robertson and Kyle Wu (two passionate volunteers).
“It’s really true about climbing where each of us conquers our own self, fear and other barriers. When we introduce climbing to others, they get to enjoy the same incredible feelings. So cool that is.”
–Drew Copeland is a climber and writer based in Squamish.