Blog post


Brick by Brick: Building Resilience | Climb for Courage Boston 2019

By Greg Doyle, One Summit, Manager of Communications & Development

By Greg Doyle, One Summit, Manager of Communications & Development

“Resilience” is a word we use every day at One Summit. And for good reason. It is – after all – heavily emphasized in our mission statement. Drawing on his own personal experiences, Adam felt that, only by building resilience, could someone impacted by trauma overcome and grow. He realized that there was a common need shared by the children and families impacted by pediatric cancer and his fellow SEAL teammates; a need Adam felt One Summit could address with this very approach. Building resilience is the “how” to the “why” behind our work.

But, what does “resilience” actually mean?

The dictionary suggests that it is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” (Merriam-Webster). We agree with this definition…besides one word: easily. Building resilience isn’t easy. It requires: (1) setting goals; (2) exposing oneself to new experiences and forms of adversity in the pursuit of those very goals; (3) finding and leaning on a community of like-minded individuals; and (4) reflecting on the successes, failures and learnings acquired throughout the process. Each of these things aren’t easy on their own, never mind together. But what makes building resilience perhaps most-challenging is this: it’s not something that can be checked off a “To-Do” list. It a never-ending endeavor that can be – at times – mentally and physically exhausting.

It’s for these reasons that we prefer the SEAL perspective on resilience, as summarized in the ethos adopted by each Navy SEAL upon graduating from BUD/S:

“If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I am never out of the fight.”

(Navy SEAL Ethos/Creed)

Through their training, SEALs are conditioned and prepared for missions, experiences and challenges that are anything but easy. Before a trying situation becomes reality, they’re prepared to endure mental and physical exhaustion and fight – regardless of the cost. By preparing for the hard moments in advance, giving up is never a question.

It is this mindset and perspective that we strive to instill through our experiential learning, mentorship, storytelling and community engagement programs, a process that was most-recently on display at Climb for Courage, Boston 2019. On June 22nd, 26 patients and siblings from 12 families descended on Central Rock Watertown, where they were united with 26 Navy SEAL Mentors and guided by 9 Team Leaders through a day of indoor rock-climbing, mentorship and the very prerequisites needed to build resilience.

The welcoming, safe, supportive and inspiring environment that was felt by all who were on-site can’t be summarized with words. When it comes to our work, we’ve found that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Especially when captured through the eyes of a One Summit parent and Professional Photographer.

Click Here for Photos from Climb for Courage, Boston 2019

Photo Credit: Amy Buelow Photography

It’s a similar case when it comes to the impact of our work, which we believe is best captured in the feedback we receive from the families and mentors immediately after each program. Although we said building resilience wasn’t easy, we’re up for the meaningful task.


It’s was an opportunity to serve in a different capacity. It gave me the chance to have a positive, direct impact on a single person and to provide someone with strategies for dealing with their daily struggles. It was an indescribable experience.

Navy SEAL Mentor

Witnessing the connection between my son and his mentor during the final ceremony was emotional and incredible. Watching him stand so tall, confident and proud was something that will forever be etched in my heart. It is exactly what we hope for our children, after the trauma and emotional effects of cancer. Two very special heroes fighting similar battles lifted each other up and showed us the true meaning of friendship and courage.


My most memorable moment was the look on my mentee’s face when he found out I also previously had cancer.

Navy SEAL Mentor

The phrase posttraumatic growth has really changed my mindset. This was truly a life changing experience for all of us! Thank you so much for giving us hope, healing and strength.


It was a great time, very rewarding and humbling. The kids got to experience the Navy SEAL mentality, which they can now apply through their treatment and in life.

Navy SEAL Mentor

Climb for Courage, Boston 2019 would not have been possible without the support of Tufts Floating Hospital for Children, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Black Diamond Equipment, Central Rock Watertown, MACOM, Himmel Hospitality Group and Grill 23 – who have hosted our Mentor Training Dinner since 2015 – the Boston Police Department and Kalahari Biltong.

On behalf of our families, mentors and community, our team would also like to thank The North Face and Black Diamond Networks for their sponsorship of Climb Higher, held on Sunday, June 23rd. As a result your investment in our mission, we were able to welcome back 17 little warriors to climb again, 8 of which alongside their original mentor from Climb for Courage.

Interested in participating in Climb for Courage? Apply on our website or email Dianne M. Lynch at to learn more about our upcoming program in New York City in October.