[dropcap style=’box’]S[/dropcap]ummit Adventure is based in Bass Lake, California, right outside of Yosemite National Park. With such an amazing course area in our backyard, many people are surprised to learn that we offer programs far away from our home base. One of our favorite course areas is in Southern California, where for the past few years we have been partnering with schools and churches to offer a course that combines rock climbing and rappelling in Joshua Tree National Park with service on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
This year we’ve already taken two schools to Joshua Tree: Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and Bridgemont High School. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, a high school in Ohio, flew to Southern California in January to experience our Joshua Tree Climbing and LA Service Course.
In Joshua Tree we took the students from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy rock climbing and rappelling, and we taught them how cook and live in the backcountry. We used the adventure experiences, many of which took the students out of their comfort zones, to facilitate discussions about their relationships with each other and God.
After a few days in Joshua Tree, we took the students to Los Angeles for an experience that pushed them in a much different way. We ventured out to the depths of Skid Row, where we spent time preparing and serving food at Midnight Mission and Union Rescue Mission. We also spent time exploring the city and helping our friends at World Impact Los Angeles, by organizing their non-profit thrift shop and painting a number of their housing units. Here’s a video from our custom course with Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy:
Bridgemont High School, from the Bay Area, decided to focus exclusively on the adventure component of the course, as their students had experience in urban environments but had not spent much time in the wilderness. At the beginning of their course, in late March, we started with some icebreakers to help everyone get comfortable.
After getting to know each other and their instructors better, Summit instructor Blair Campbell taught the students how to belay. At Summit, we call it “support school” because the students are learning to trust and support each other–lessons that translate far away from the rock wall. After finishing support school, the students took turns climbing and supporting each other. The experiences helped open the Bridgemont students up to talk about their faith and their relationships with each other.
Summit’s custom courses are designed to fit the needs of the particular school or church that we are partnering with. As you can see from our Joshua Tree courses this year, schools and churches have different needs and we try to organize our custom courses to meet those needs. We operate custom courses all year round at locations all around the country, and even internationally.
Photo Credit: Katherine Meinicke
Video Credit: Robbie Seldomridge