As a company, we have a culture of constantly seeking growth and development. This means getting out of our comfort zones and pushing ourselves to overcome obstacles and try new things. Climbing, caving, and rescue are at our core and as we pursue these passions, we fail a lot. In climbing we fall, only to get back up again. In caving, we get stuck or can’t find a way through. In rope rescue, we try again and again to steadily improve and get better. With all of these activities, it’s persevering through the difficulty and the failures that ultimately teaches us about ourselves and what we are capable of and allows us to see beyond the obstacle and achieve our potential.
The Oxford dictionary defines progression as
“Developing or moving gradually to a more advanced state.”
What it doesn’t say is that fueling progression isn’t easy.
The last 17 months living and working through the Covid-19 pandemic have been no different. Just when we think we are over the hump, another wave arrives, forcing lockdowns and closures of the areas where we work. Just as in climbing and caving, we could give up and just say,
“This is too hard for me, I don’t have the tools, or I’m not ready.”
While this period has been the most difficult we have ever dealt with as an organization, it has also given us time for reflection and an opportunity to look deep into our core to find inspiration and opportunities for progression. I could not be more proud of our team and the effort they have put into the past 17 months. They have made tremendous sacrifices personally yet persevered and helped us continue to progress as individuals and an organization, leading to new programs and experiences that will help us continue to Fuel Our Progression. I invite you to read about some of the exciting adventures we have been experiencing.
We just completed our first ever season of Progression Adventure Camps for local youth in Chiang Mai. Each of 4 weeks of camps introduced youth to various outdoor adventure skills and built a mini adventure community. This included an exciting new tyrolean traverse program at our climbing site in Lampang. Read more about the summer camp experience from the team.
Taw, Witsanu, Bo, EQ and Add spent more than two months in Bangkok working with our friend and partner Urban Playground as well as Kraisak Boonthip from Climb Central to upgrade their facility with the installation of an entirely new climbing wall section. The wall is certain to add to the rapidly growing collection of climbing walls in Bangkok increasing opportunities for aspiring climbers.
Our Progression Caving team has been working closely with the Department of National Parks to upgrade and extend cave surveys at a number of caves throughout Northern Thailand. These expeditions have produced new surveys and even undiscovered passage as we continue to work toward building access for climbing, caving and outdoor recreation throughout Thailand.
Team members Mario, Bo, Tiffy and Fai facilitated a transformational personal progression program in partnership with Blue Dot Partnerships, introducing students from Michigan University to rural Thai culture and adventure. We continued with additional training for local rescue organizations certifying a new group as Rope Rescue Operators with Rescue3.
This was far and away the most difficult season of programming we have ever facilitated. With Covid-19 regulations and the dynamic situation changing daily, we found ourselves scrambling to meet with officials, implement safety protocols, and get permission and access to run our programs so we could continue to support our local partners while maintaining safety and delivering an outstanding experience for our adventure participants. We were able to come together as a community and celebrate the effort and commitment each member of our team gave and reminded each other of the importance of connection in this difficult time. During our end of season festivities, we also celebrated the contributions of our family member Chris LeBlanc. Chris has given our team and community 3 and a half years of dedicated and hard work helping us to grow and deliver our programs while also helping to steward our experiences throughout Covid-19. While we are sad to see Chris go, we are excited for him and his next adventure and we know he will continue to pursue new and challenging experiences. Read more about his experience here.
It’s not clear what the coming months have in store, but if we have learned anything from the past few months, it is to stick to our core and focus on what we can do, not what is not possible. In the uncertainty, there is always something that stands out and lights the way and with a little bit of effort we can get back up again, find that undiscovered passage or create a new experience that impacts our community in a positive way. This is what it is all about for us and how we continue to Fuel Our Progression.
We look forward to continuing the journey with you in the months ahead.
Fuel Your Progression!