Volunteering ROCKS!

This past weekend was JAM PACKED for this little introvert. Luckily, Friday night was really chill. Stayed home and made (more) sweet potato cookies, as well as a sweet potato/chicken/black bean/enchilada sauce casserole. Am I during orange yet??

Saturday during the day I was able to charge my social batteries. Sat in the yard with the dog and my kindle, enjoying the almost 80 degree February afternoon. Gorgeous.
Saturday night we drove down to the South End Inner Peaks climbing center. They were holding a fundraiser for the Carolina Climbers Coalition called Elevate_NC Photography Exhibition and Fundraiser, with sponsor Black Diamond. It was really neat with a ton of poster sized pictures of people rock climbing for sale, a silent auction, and several vendor booths. Catalyst Sports – Charlotte had an informational booth set up as well, and we wanted to support them.

My husband and I have been volunteering with the Catalyst Sports Charlotte chapter for going on a year. It’s a once a month “clinic” that allows children and adults with disabilities to experience rock climbing in a safe, controlled environment. The Regional Director, Dee, is an AMAZING woman who may or may not be part humming bird, and travels from Western Carolina multiple times a month to Charlotte to organize the events.

I started climbing with Nick about a year after I started practicing yoga regularly. He worked at a climbing gym in college, and was on their competition team. When we first met he tried to get me into it, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t feel enough at the time. After spending some time with yoga, and gaining some confidence and a lot of strength, I decided I’d give it a go. It was a rough start, but I’ll honestly say I enjoy it now.

A year after I started climbing, and about a year ago is when Dee was really amping up the monthly clinics, and looking for volunteers. Nick was already in the loop from volunteering the prior Fall, and asked/begged/dragged me to volunteer. Again, I had that feeling of not being enough. I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t know enough, I’m not social enough, ALL THE ISSUES. So, I went, on the verge of social anxiety tears, and had an AMAZING time.

The other volunteers were all very nice, but I just stood back and listened. I figured, if they need my help with something basic, they’ll ask. Then the participants started to show up and OH MY GOODNESS … absolutely the warmest, and friendliest group of people I’ve ever met. They always come in with huge smiles, and great attitudes. And, as cheesy as it is, it really allows me to check my own anxieties at the door.

I can honestly say I look forward to every monthly clinic. It fills me with so much joy to be able to be a part of the participants seeing what they’re capable of. And now the Charlotte chapter is starting an adult climbing team, and I’m participating with that every other week. I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned with these amazing people.
Below are pictures of two of the young women that are on the Climbing Team, and the group from yesterday’s monthly clinic.

photo by fotobossiphotography



I can’t wait to update you in a few months with the progress of the Climbing Team, and maybe with a little bit of my own progress!

Till next time!
~K. Bendy


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