Due to the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, today, with great sadness, we are cancelling the 2020 Youth Sport and Speed National Championships, Collegiate National Championships, and Paraclimbing National Championships. While most states have begun to ease restrictions, it is clear that hosting these National Championship events, even with significant modifications, is simply not feasible given the current status of the pandemic and varying travel and safety guidelines across the country. A decision regarding the 2020 Open Sport and Speed Championships remains pending, with that event, if held, to take place no earlier than August 14, 2020.
Although this time away from training and competition is frustrating, we are proud to report on our plans for a time when we can climb together again. The following are some of the many ways we are keeping all of you in our thoughts:
- Member Survey and Youth Events: Thank you to the nearly 2,000 members who submitted responses to our survey, the overwhelming majority of whom are parents of our youth competitors. These responses included thoughtful and insightful feedback. Based on the results, we understand that many of you were hesitant to attend a National Championship, but were strongly in favor of regionally based events, even if there were no possibility of advancement. Regional events would allow our youth competitors to reclaim the joy of competition climbing this year. We are committed to working on this idea and are in communication with our gym partners and Regional Coordinators to make this a reality where local and regional regulations allow, most likely in mid-August, and without advancement or national team selection. Please watch for updates.
- Celebrating: We are exploring ways to celebrate milestones despite our distance. This is a particularly difficult time for our Youth athletes in their final year of Youth eligibility, and for our Collegiate athletes in their final year of Collegiate eligibility. Please watch for updates. For now, we send our congratulations to our athletes celebrating graduations from high school and college. You have made us all proud, and we wish you all the best of health, happiness, and continued personal growth, preferably including a lifetime of “sends.”
- The National and International Sports Community: We are participating actively as a member of the Olympic community, with the USOPC and the national governing bodies of sports. We are communicating regularly and supportively with the IFSC. Together, we are all learning about developing best practices for sports in general in the era of COVID-19, and those tools are helping us to analyze what makes our sport unique in these efforts. We are continuing our planning for the Olympic Games, now postponed to 2021, and the resumption of other international competitions. This includes our efforts to continue improving the multidisciplinary support system for our elite athletes.
- Finances: To operate, USA Climbing relies on membership dues, event fees, fundraising, and sponsorship. Like many of you, we have tightened our belts to get through this shock to the economy. Most non-essential expenses have been put on hold for the remainder of the fiscal year. We applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the Small Business Administration, with the intent to keep all current USA Climbing staff members employed and focused on the growth and development of our great sport. To date, we have been successful in receiving PPP funding. We have also established a USA Climbing Foundation whose goal will be to raise private funds to help us support our athletes in their efforts to realize their competitive dreams.
What you can do to help:
- If you are able, please continue to support us through your membership. If, in these are trying times, you find yourself compelled to seek a refund of your membership dues, particularly if you did not have the opportunity to utilize your membership in any competition or to obtain any member discounts or other benefits during the 2019-2020 season, please reach out to Sharlee Holland at Sharlee@usaclimbing.org.
- If you are able, please add a “supporting membership” or “Circle of Gold” membership to help position us for the future. Here.
- Answer our call for volunteers: Here.
- Support our gym partners and sponsors: Here.
- Share practical ideas for protocols for return to training and return to events on the USA Climbing Forum
- If outdoor climbing is more accessible in your vicinity than indoor climbing, please visit the web site of The Access Fund for helpful educational resources for health, safety, and stewardship.
Please look for more announcements in the coming weeks, and please continue to follow us on social media where we are featuring Instagram takeovers and home training ideas. We wish you, your families, teammates, and friends good health. We look forward to climbing as a community again as soon as possible.
Marc Norman Patti Rube
Chief Executive Officer President, Board of Directors