Dear CRG Community,
In an effort to increase awareness of systemic racism on many within our country, we have been working hard to implement a comprehensive list of actions to increase diversity in our sport and support the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals within our community. We want to share the progress we have already made; however, these efforts are only a part of our ongoing and evolving process towards making Central Rock Gym a safer and more diverse community for everyone.
Partnerships with community organizations: we are working with leaders in the BIPOC community to establish relationships with local non-profit organizations that serve underrepresented youth. We are providing long-term free access and climbing to several community partners around our chain.
Our commitment to diverse youth goes beyond free programming. We give free climbing gear to many of the youth in these programs who attend weekly, as they develop a strong affinity for climbing! The youth climbers who are interested will also receive free memberships at the end of their program so they can further access the sport. We offer full-ride scholarships to youth from these programs who find climbing particularly impactful in their lives and make sure they can be part of our advanced and competitive teams at no cost. While we are excited to have started our free access programs this past year, we know we will be able to impact many more youth as COVID regulations and community partner policies change. We believe that creating diversity in the long run starts with bold engagement with diverse youth now.
Staff training: we have hired external consultants to facilitate a required Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training program for our staff. Training modules from our facilitators include: Unconscious Bias Training, Intervention Training, Inclusive Leadership and Hiring Training, and working with BIPOC youth training. Our goal with the training is to make sure we are providing a safe space for our BIPOC community members and all diverse groups as they engage with our space and staff.
Diversity Fund: many of our members have expressed their desire to help increase diversity in our sport and maintain an environment where everyone feels welcome and safe. We have established an option for members to add a $5 donation to their monthly membership fees that will go towards supporting diversity initiatives. If you are interested in adding the $5 monthly donation to your membership, just let us know the next time you stop by your local CRG. All funds collected from this initiative are evenly distributed between:
- Brown Girls Climb: This organization is a Women of Color owned and operated company with the mission to promote and increase visibility of diversity in climbing by establishing a community of climbers of color, encouraging leadership opportunities for self-identified women climbers of color, and by creating inclusive opportunities to climb and explore for under represented communities. www.browngirlsclimb.com
- Melanin Base Camp: A media company that creates incredible weekly content geared towards highlighting Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous and Queer People of Color who love the outdoors. They have recently created a film on Sabrina Chapman, who is trying to send her first 5.14a.
- Waypoint Adventure: Their mission is to challenge youth and adults with disabilities to discover their purpose, talents and strengths through the transforming power of adventure. Waypoint holds regular climbing events for their clients at our Boston area gyms. They also host fundraisers and climb-a-thons out of our Watertown and Waltham gyms every year. Check them out at www.waypointadventure.org.
- Climbing for Change: This organization was founded by pro-climber Kai Lightner. They work to connect underserved communities with individuals and organizations that seek to increase minority participation in rock climbing and the outdoor adventure industry. From athletes to industry leaders or film makers, they aim to make our industry a more inclusive environment. Check them out at: www.climbing4change.org. C4C is now accepting applications for grants to help increase participation in rock climbing and outdoor adventure activities for BIPOC individuals. You can apply here: www.climbing4change.org/apply
- Diversify Outdoors: This organization is a coalition of social media influencers – bloggers, athletes, activists, and entrepreneurs – who share the goal of promoting diversity in outdoor spaces where BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other diverse identities have historically been marginalized and silenced. They are passionate about promoting equity and access to the outdoors for all – that includes being body positive and celebrating different skill levels and abilities. Check them out at: www.diversifyoutdoors.com.
Sliding Scale Membership: while we are committed to providing quality climbing access to the communities we serve, we recognize that for some our membership pricing can be a barrier to our sport. Each gym has up to 12 new memberships per month that it can offer at our sliding scale rates of $45-$55 a month. Click here to learn more.
Finally, we are working with Brown Girls Climb to offer meetups at various CRG locations. Please reach out to your local CRG or check their Facebook and Instagram accounts for more information on the meetups. Meetups are currently being offered in the Boston and Manhattan area regions.
There is a lot of work to be done, and we are committed and focused on making Central Rock Gym an inclusive space for everyone.