Sky is the limit for “brave kids” – The Daily Evergreen


A local organization organizes a climbing event for people with disabilities

FRANKIE BEER

A participant in the CKC event climbs the climbing wall at the WSU Student Recreation Center on Sunday, September 26.

Courageous Kids Climbing hosted a rock climbing event at WSU on Sunday for community members with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Founder Jeff Riechmann said he created CKC to provide children and volunteers with an experience they will never forget.

The organization offers free climbing experiences for people with disabilities of all ages. Riechmann said it’s rewarding to create an inclusive environment where children overcome their fear of heights and build their confidence.

“Have a little boy with Down’s syndrome come up to me as I load up supplies and give me a kiss on both cheeks as a thank you?” That’s where the payoff is, ”said Riechmann.

Before founding CKC, Riechmann worked as a firefighter guide and safety consultant for companies. He said his interest in rock climbing probably stems from all the time he’s spent on large ladders.

Since Riechmann founded CKC in 2014, the organization has hosted over 90 events in the Pacific Northwest with over 975 participants to date.

“To the best of our knowledge, I’m the only guy doing this in the country,” Riechmann said.

CKC has two more events in the area this weekend. Saturday, CKC will take the visually impaired children to visit Idaho State Police in Lewiston, Idaho, to meet with officers and touch police equipment. Children with special needs can also join CKC on Sundays in Lewiston to ice skate at the LC Ice Arena.

Interested parties can register to participate in either event by sending an email [email protected]. A full list of upcoming events is available at CKC’s Facebook page.

At the majority of CKC events, local first responders help children learn to climb. In large cities, firefighters should participate in CKC events, as they gain first-hand experience working with children with special needs, Riechmann said.

It also gives children a chance to interact and become more comfortable with first responders.

Colfax Fire Chief Michael Chapman said he always ran into children at events and it was gratifying to remember his name.

“I hope they don’t just think of the success of the climb, but also the interactions with the firefighters as a positive experience,” Chapman said.

Aurora Brinkman, WSU Psychology Graduate Student, volunteered at Sunday’s event as an insurer. She said she has worked with people with disabilities in the past and would like to continue doing so after graduation.

Since Pullman is a rural area, there aren’t many opportunities to support organizations like CKC, Brinkman said.

“I just love to see that any activity can be adapted and that anyone can do it,” Brinkman said. “It’s just about finding the best way to support that person. “

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