Through an acquaintance who is volunteering at the VA, it was suggested the local Parks and Recreation Department would be an actionable place to start. Here in Columbus, Ohio, the city has a Recreation Therapy component to their programming. There is also a city position that is a liaison with the Veterans Administration. These folks are very helpful, effective and energetic.
To propose an outdoor climbing program, beginning in December, is likely a stretch, though. I have, for many years, followed the advice of one of my heroes, H.W. Tilman, “If you wait for good weather, you are not going to get anything done here.” I believe he was talking about the Patagonian mountains. I suspect he used the same philosophy in many other areas in his life. I think it’s very applicable here. And I’m not talking about climbing, either.
If we wait for all the complications to dissolve away from in front of us, nothing is going to happen.
If rock climbing is out of season, my proposal will shift to building an arctic kayak; a wood frame and fabric skin boat, constructed with simple tools and inexpensive materials. I have run several of these programs in a high school over the years. It is inside. The project is fascinating. The boat is a thing of beauty, that has been created by your own hands. It will get people showing up for months. All that, before we even put it in the water.
Such a project has pretty simple needs: a 25 x 15 foot space, some construction lumber, I happen to have collected enough ‘garage sale tools’ to do the job, a couple of spools of string, glue and fabric. No fiberglass, dangerous power tools, or noisy machines. I’m sure, in a half dozen phone calls, we can find a space.
The rock climbing proposal I made to our city Parks and Rec, as an ‘experimental’ activity, to find a few ‘volunteers’ to try it out seems like a pretty workable method. I included a resume. That ship, however, grounded out with the onset of winter. I have proposed to do much of the program on our outdoor climbing wall.
Outside of the organized programming, I have met a veteran who can pull together a few buddies. I think we will try and just brave the weather and chuckle over, ‘What kind of idiot would think this is a good idea?’
If you have the will, but not the experience, start. You can find a skilled person to facilitate the program. If you have the skill, but are intimidated by another element to bring your vision to fruition, start. You can and will find who you need to fill the gap. Surely, you are bound to look back on the mistakes and oversights of your efforts, but, you will be avoiding the gravest error…
Thinking someone else is better suited for the job.
I’m not quite ready yet, next month should open up.
We have to remember, these Veterans were standing in for us. The beating they got was for us. I will give you a money back guarantee that you will walk away from time with Vets a fuller person. These are magnificent people. They are dealing with some cold, dark memories, however. Some community around them is needed. Don’t wait for them to seek you out. Invite them in.
But whatever you do, don’t wait for good weather.