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Sender One vs. 2020: A Look Back

Sender One vs. 2020: A Look Back

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Well, we’ve made it to the end of 2020 and maybe we can all agree that this year was not what we had in mind. It’s bizarre to reflect on what this year has been for Sender One. We could not have made it through this year without the strength and support of the climbing community, Sender One members, and our incredible staff. We won’t go into major detail as we look back on 2020 because let’s face it, who really needs to relive every moment this year has provided? Instead, we’re taking this moment to reflect on good news from the year and some of the hard lessons learned.

January & February

We hosted the 2020 Pan American Championships at Sender One LAX, qualifying Alannah Yip and Colin Duffy for the (now) 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Little did we know that this would be the last large international climbing event in the states for the entire year. What an honor it was to experience this!

March:

Both Sender One locations were mandated to close for the first time as the rise of COVID-19 began impacting our local counties. At this point, we thought the closures would be short-lived. A real pandemic causing businesses to close and forcing us to stay inside, mask-up, and physical distance? Nah.

April & May:

Hello, at-home workouts, the Sender One online shop, and virtual yoga classes! With our locations still closed, we took action and got creative. While trying to maintain jobs and community engagement, we launched an online retail shop and provided virtual yoga and fitness classes. We even sold limited-edition Sender One hangboards, personally handmade by a few of our routesetters, and Sender One masks that were handsewn by another ultra-talented employee who is literally a knit-master. 

This was also the time many people and businesses, including ourselves, were reminded to reflect intrapersonally as the Black Lives Matter movement took rise over the killing of George Floyd (10/14/73-5/25/20), Breonna Taylor (6/5/93-3/13/20), and the many other unjustly deaths of Black individuals. We will always have a zero-tolerance for racism and understand that this fight for an equitable and just society is far from over. As we continue to learn from the collective community, we hope to always create ways to foster an inclusive and diverse climbing environment.

June:

Sender One turned 7! Though we didn’t have our typical birthday bash, we were fortunate to reopen both locations during this month. It was interesting to reopen with new standard procedures, health protocols, and navigating through the so-called “new normal”. The amazing Sender One team really climbed together by getting the facilities ready to welcome back our members.

Also during this month, we held a virtual Pride Event, raised money for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Black Lives Matter, and kicked off our climbing camps. We were unaware that youth camps would become our main offering this year.

July & August:

We entered our second closure for both Sender One facilities after being open for a few short weeks. It was time to pivot our business even more so we went a little camp crazy while maintaining virtual yoga classes and running the online shop. Although fitness/climbing centers were to remain closed, youth day-camps were allowed to operate since they provided an essential service for working parents. Being stuck at home as a child can be hard, so we were happy to cultivate an environment for youth to connect through our summer camp, routesetting camp, and distant learning camp (COOL Camp).

September & October:

Sender One SNA got the green light to reopen! During this time, we held a couple of COVID-friendly community events, brought back our popular Bouldering League, and helped form the California Indoor Climbing Coalition. It felt great to bring the community together while uncertainty still loomed. We made sure to cherish and celebrate every moment - big and small.

November & December:

Sender One SNA reopened for 9.5 weeks. These weeks were filled with under-the-mask smiles and laughter, new climbs, new projects, new sends, and a lot of hand sanitizer. We were extremely saddened to re-close our doors again, but fortunate to carry on with youth camps and a virtual raffle for a good cause.

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Looking back at this year, it’s easy to think about all the negative aspects. Don’t get it wrong, this year was extremely hard for us and many others. We have all just experienced a year that will forever change our lives. It’s important to take into consideration the different experiences of those around you and to take time to check in with loved ones. 

Sender One will continue to survive and thrive into 2021, but we are not leaving this year without acknowledging the difficult decisions we made, lessons we learned from, and changes we’ve adopted in order to safe-keep our future. So here’s to a year filled with challenges, growth, adapting, staying resilient, and endless gratitude.

Thank you to the climbing community, Sender One members, our phenomenal staff, and the families and friends that continue to support and be here for us. Lastly, Alice Kao (Co-Founder, CEO) has put together a letter for the community which you can find below.

 

See you in 2021!

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