September marks 8 months of life in La Misión and the end of our first Aleph summer season. Reflecting on the past several weeks brings a flood of joy-filled memories shared with youth and new friends in our community. We are stoked and so incredibly grateful for the supporters and partners who have come alongside to help make these moments possible.
One of the highlights has been running weekly youth rock climbing sessions. The climbing area is located just above town, within walking distance for many young people in the community. Its north-facing walls offer over 40 established routes of various challenge levels and plenty of shade during warm summer months. It’s been so fun introducing kids to their local crag and facilitating their first climbs! Trust, teamwork and challenge are just a few of the basic elements that make up the climbing experience.
Nahum Omar is 15. He’s grown up in the valley and lives with his mom and younger sisters. From his front door he can look up and watch climbers (who mostly come from Tijuana and Rosarito) playing on the cliff face. Nahum came out for our first climbing session at the beginning of July and as of now has attended 6 sessions. One of those days the program was already full, but Nahum said, ‘I would still like to come even if I can’t climb.’ He has learned how to belay and now helps teach the other kids how to put on their harnesses and tie-in to the rope. After less than two months of climbing he is finishing 5.10 routes on top rope, and whenever we see him he usually has new questions about routes, gear or which climbing film he should watch next.
We don’t expect every kid to fall in love with climbing or surfing. We are more interested in building relationships and discovering God’s love together outdoors away from screen time, negative influences, and the worries of home. We celebrate effort over achievement. But when a young person discovers a passion for climbing rocks or surfing waves, we get excited about that too!
Another summer highlight has been continuing to run weekend surf sessions with the foster youth from Casa Hogar Ciudad de Refugio. In August we were stoked to host a solid group of guys from Christian Surfers San Diego who drove down for the weekend to volunteer their time instructing. (The kids were having so much fun, the hardest part of the day was getting them to stop surfing so we could eat lunch!) We look forward to working together with CS Rosarito to continue offering these sessions twice a month through the fall.
A final highlight to share was an end of summer kayak excursion we recently helped facilitate for 18 kids from the Zona youth group. We teamed up with Mariano, a local kayak guide who works in the area to promote conservation and sustainable recreation in the La Misión estuary. For most of the youth who came it was their first time ever kayaking and many are already asking when we can go again.
Piloting programs this summer has given us a small glimpse of both the need and possible impact outdoor mentoring programs can have for youth in our area. Our other main focuses this year will continue to be learning Spanish, adjusting to life in Mexico and building connections in the community.
In closing we want to give a huge shoutout to some other rad organizations who have encouraged us and helped out with gear donations: Climbers for Christ, Christian Surfers, Degree 33 Surfboards, Whitlock Surf Experience, Mountains without Borders, Mesa Rim & Outdoor Outreach. Along with everyone who has given to support Aleph Baja—we appreciate all of you so much, and we truly could not do this without you!
We are now 70% toward our goal this year of raising $2,000 from a consistent monthly support base. Please visit our support page if you would like to get involved (even $25 a month goes a long way!)
Dustin & Jess
4 thoughts on “Coast to Crag”
You are making such a difference in the lives of these kids! Keep up the good work!
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Thanks Dawn! Happy we get to play a small part in the work God is doing in this community
How about a “Shave the Stache” drive to get the remaining 30% commitments?
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Nice! I would consider it … the problem is (believe it or not) some folks seem to be getting attached to the stache. We might have to run it as a “SHAVE it or SAVE it” campaign & let folks vote with donations on what they want to see. I’ll pitch it to the PR manager (a.k.a Jess) to see what she thinks 😂