Veterans at Sportrock: Climbing with Team RWB
Updated: Sep 1, 2022
Sportrock is proud to host a community of veteran climbers each week. The organization that puts together veteran climbing events is called Team RWB. From their website, their mission is “to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.” Now that is something Sportrock can get behind! We got a chance to talk to Alan from the DC Team RWB chapter. Here’s what he had to say:
“Team RWB is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect veterans to their community through physical and social activity. Rock climbing with Sportrock allows Team RWB ‘Eagles’ to meet our three core components of enrichment— health, people, and purpose. We have teamed up with Sportrock to meet twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays), but we often meet in smaller groups throughout the week. It is not just a fitness event for our members, but a way for them to connect with a genuine and supportive community. This opportunity allows our members to engage beyond the physical aspect and create a sense of belonging.
Here are some Eagle comments on some of the benefits from climbing:
"It's a great way to meet people of all backgrounds who share a love of climbing and everyone motivates each other to climb better every time! We all come from all levels of fitness and climbing is a great way to work out and socialize at the same time. We're here to help someone forget their bad day by working problems on the wall."
The following is a story of how rock climbing changed someone’s life:
Walls had never climbed in his life, despite his perfectly appropriate name. This didn’t stop him from attending an RWB meetup at Sportrock. A fellow Eagle, Drake, approached him at the gym and said, ‘Let’s get you up one of these walls.’ After that meeting, they went out to REI together so Walls could buy all his own gear. He began to climb so much that he eventually went on to start another climbing chapter for Team RWB on the eastern shore where he was living at the time. The more he climbed with both groups, the more he desired the mountains. So, naturally, he moved to Colorado. From there he started an adaptive climbing chapter with Paradox Sports and continues to share his love for climbing with all those around him. Through that one activity with Team RWB, climbing that one wall, one man’s life was enriched and took on a new purpose.
This story demonstrates how, for our Eagles, Team RWB isn’t only about the activities we do but building meaningful and lasting relationships. It is the people who play the biggest role. The leadership is all volunteer and while we have our official nights that the group meets to climb, every relationship extends outside the Sportrock gym. There are always plans for other outings, whether it be a happy hour, a camping trip, finding trail runs, planning hikes, volunteering to serve food at a homeless shelter, or cleaning the memorials along the mall.
If you want to know more, feel free to approach any Eagle wearing a red shirt on a Monday or Wednesday night and ask to join in a climb! OR check out our local chapter here.”