It was her third attempt to make her way up the cliff face and she was once again confronted with the crux of the climb. The plentiful cracks and huge holds that characterize the lower 30’ of the route had vanished and a seemingly blank bulge of granite was looming above. From below we could sense the frustration and disappointment radiating from her. As she was lowered down on the rope amid the encouragement of those around her you could tell she was defeated… again. The heartbreaking statement of “I don’t think I can make it” hung in the air.
I had only met Allison an hour before and it was my initial impression that seemed to be proving itself true. Things might not come easy for her. As she rested near the base of the cliff she watched her friends effortlessly climb the same route that had proved too much for her.
After lunch, the group returned to climbing with renewed energy and excitement. I watched as Allison tried a few different routes up the cliff face with one of our volunteer leaders teaching Allison a different way to use the awkwardly placed handholds. With this newly learned technique Allison was off the ground and quickly made steady progress to the top! With a huge grin, she looked down and asked if she could climb it again. And then again. I’m not sure how many times Allison ended up climbing that route successfully but I do know it was quite a few.
One of the things I love about YFC is that it strategically places caring adults in the lives of young people like Allison. Kids that daily face the challenges of life and have the words “I don’t think I can make it” resonating inside their heads. These YFC staff members and volunteers are teaching more than just new techniques during a day of rock climbing. They are sharing the life changing message of Jesus Christ. A message that says there is Hope in the midst’s of our troubles.
*Names have been changed