Blog post


Hang on to Hope

By Maria Papandreou, One Summit, Senior Manager of Development & Communications

By Maria Papandreou, One Summit, Senior Manager of Development & Communications

Hang on to hope…a fitting motto for 2020…and 2021! It has been a remarkable year. One that brought new challenges, changed the way we live and how we connect with each other. Our world has been shaken; our mental and physical strength tested daily. This year provided us with the opportunity to learn a lot about ourselves.

2020 presented us with a question; Do we let the fear of the unknown take over, or will we adapt to this new adversity in our lives? Resilience played a critical role in answering that question. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, "RESILIENCE" has become the new buzzword in 2020. At One Summit, resilience has always been at the core of our mission. Through connection, openness to new possibilities, and increased personal strength - together, we can overcome trauma and become more resilient individually, as an organization, and as a community.

We continually are inspired by our little warriors and U.S. Navy SEAL mentors' ability to overcome adversity, allowing us to quickly adapt, pivot, and move forward. In celebration of our warrior's remarkable impact on our mission, we completed our first One Summit publication, "An Unexpected Warrior," a middle school-aged graphic novel based on the tenants of Posttraumatic Growth and an incredible adventure. Our self-published version was distributed to all of our warriors and hospital partners. This project offers us a highly unique chance to broaden the scope and impact of our mission beyond pediatric cancer and the military. We can change the way the public views trauma: from an experience that tears us down, to one that presents an opportunity for courage and personal growth.

Although this unprecedented year halted One Summit's in-person climbing program, we stayed connected to our community in more tangible ways by encouraging and reinforcing our mentor relationships, providing support, and preparing for an even more impactful future. In 2021, we will expand our reach through a virtual community platform to provide an ongoing interactive environment for our kids and SEALs. Led by O.S. mentors, the platform will provide secure year-round programming focused on health and wellness, education, mentoring, and engaging entertainment. Through this platform, we can engage kids and mentors creatively, better reinforce mentor-mentee relationships, and create a lasting community that builds on and thrives between Climbs for Courage.

As we look ahead to 2021, our intention is clear; we will continue to take charge of our own narrative and live our mission every day. Our One Summit family will persevere, continue to grow and change, and be a beacon of hope.