Blog post


2023 and All That Came to Be

By Maxwell Svec, One Summit, Director of Programs

By Maxwell Svec, One Summit, Director of Programs

Once again, it’s hard to believe it, but the end of another year is upon us. 2023 was the first year since before the pandemic that OneSummit was truly back in full force, providing programs and community engagement events, running road races and putting on fundraisers, and getting back to some semblance of our normal operations. It was a busy twelve months—full, fun, and incredibly rewarding for our team. As we enter the last week of the year, we wanted to spend some time reflecting and then share with our OS community some highlights from all that came to be in 2023.

We hosted four incredible Climb for Courage (CFC) programs, one in each of our four markets: San Diego in February, Boston in April, NewYork City in October, and Virginia Beach in November. Each of our CFC events this year were special, made so by the families, the Navy SEAL mentors, and the volunteers who came together in each city to help us create the experience and ensure our Little Warriors had a remarkable time. To date, we have hosted 23Climb for Courage programs across the country, and we eagerly await hitting a monumental milestone sometime in 2024—completing our 25th Climb for Courage. But before heading into the future, take a look at some highlights from our climbing programs this year and relive them all by reading our blog posts on each CFC!

Click below to read each of our Climb for Courage recap blogs:

This year, we organized many exciting community engagement events for OS community members across our markets. We hosted our very first Virginia Beach/Norfolk area events as we continued to build our presence in our newest region. Our community attended sports events spanning football, hockey, lacrosse, baseball, and soccer. They had opportunities to partake in our virtual storytelling seriesStories from the Summit, design custom jewelry in-store with our friends atKendra Scott, take a base tour, celebrate Halloween, and even ride horses! Our team enjoyed meeting our OS friends out and about in the community for fun and exciting experiences. Check out a few photos from our events this year!

Some additional highlights from our events this year include our Climb Higher (CH)program (our climbing event for alums of our Climb for Courage program) that we hosted in San Diego, Boston, and New York City. We had several CH firsts in SanDiego this year, as we hosted not one but two Climb Higher programs throughout 2023, one of which had an all-time high number of participants at 22 Little Warriors and 17 Navy SEAL mentors! We also continued our Stories from the Summit virtual series, hosting Anna Johannes, Paralympic bronze medalist in swimming and current Strategist of Inclusive Design at Interbrand. Anna shared her story with us, from being born in Kyrgyzstan without her left hand and forearm to her journey to winning a bronze medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. She also shared insight into her present career as a Strategist for Inclusive Design, advocating for and creating inclusivity improvements in the world around us. Take a look back at what resilience has meant in Anna’s life and see posttraumatic growth embodied here.

We want to take this opportunity to reflect upon and highlight some key partnerships that enriched our programs throughout 2023. Again this year, friend to One Summit and owner of Zeal Cares Julia Sora Wykoff donated lip balms and “Never Give Up” cards for each of our Climb for Courage programs. Julia even visited the One Summit office on her summer break to say hello in person before heading off to her first year of college! We can’t thank Julia enough for her contributions to our community members at our events.  

We would also like to express our deep appreciation for our friends at Kendra Scott for their continued partnership this year. Their teams joined us at three Climb for Courage events to host their Color Bar, allowing each Little Warrior and mentor the opportunity to create a custom piece of jewelry for themselves or someone special. In addition, they again hosted our community members at in-store events and provided financial contributions through their giveback initiative. We recently shared a Profile in Resilience all about our relationship with the incredible team at Kendra Scott and the impact of their Kendra Cares and Kendra Gives Back programs. In case you missed it, read the profile here!

Additionally, our steadfast collaboration with Love Your Melon continued in 2023. One Summit has shared a collaborative and impactful relationship with Love Your Melon since 2016. Since then, our partnership has grown, with their sponsorship advancing our CFC programs by expanding to the Virginia Beach area in 2022. Their unwavering support allowed us to successfully host our second Climb for Courage program in Virginia Beach in 2023, connecting us with families in the home of many of our Navy SEAL mentors. One Summit was lucky to be highlighted this fall on Love Your Melon’s social media and blog, which you can check out here. Through their Giving Spotlight, Love Your Melon helped share One Summit’s mission with thousands of people.  

This year, Love Your Melon provided over 100 beanies for our Climb for Courage programs, allowing each Little Warrior to take home a beanie. The kids and their Navy SEAL mentors enjoyed a therapeutic and fun break from climbing when they picked out a beanie. Together with like-minded partners like Love Your Melon, we continue to persevere, grow, change, and be a beacon of hope for families who need it. 

We are grateful to have had various successful in-person fundraising events in addition to our programs. At the beginning of 2023, we organized our annual Nate WOD Challenge, which celebrates the lives of Nate Hardy, a Navy SEAL, Purple Heart recipient, and hero killed in action, and his brother Josh, who lost his battle to pediatric cancer. Many CrossFit boxes nationwide came together to fundraise for One Summit and participate in the Nate WOD workout. We are grateful for everyone who participated in the Challenge and look forward to a successful Nate WOD Challenge in 2024.

In September, we began revamping our Young Professional Board (YPB), and are excited to welcome many new members in the next year. The YPB organized a cornhole tournament in San Diego at the Societe Brewing Company in March, which raised awareness and over $3,000 to support our mission.  

Team One Summit fundraised and competed in two tough races this year, the 127th Boston Marathon and the Falmouth Road Race, spreading awareness of our mission with their local community. For the Boston Marathon, our team of six runners raised an impressive total of $75,369 for our Little Warriors and their Navy SEAL mentors; running so they can climb. Five Team One Summit runners competed in the ASICS Falmouth Road Race in August, raising over $19,000 for our mission. All OS runners completed their respective races, and we are so thankful for their efforts.  

In June, One Summit participated in another form of a marathon – the Golf Marathon – where players golf 100 holes in a day to raise money for cancer charities. Hosted by Golf Fight’s Cancer, the 2023 Golf Marathon raised over $85,000 for One Summit. Additionally, in October of this year, twenty Navy SEALs participated in our annual One Summit Challenge, raising money and awareness while competing in a challenging calisthenics workout. The SEALs raised over $10,000, supporting the Little Warriors that take part in our programs.

What a fantastic year we’ve had, filled to the brim with extraordinary moments spent with incredibly resilient and remarkable people. We welcomed well over 100 new members to our One Summit community in 2023 and reconnected with many participants and friends from years past. New or returning, our team here at OS continues to be filled with gratitude for everyone who makes our organization so special. We have many ideas and intentions for the next twelve months, and we can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store! From all of us at One Summit, have a very happy New Year, and we’ll see you soon.