GOTC's Winter Newsletter, December 2013

Season's Greetings from the GOTC

Catch up on canopy news 

Dear Tree Climbers and Friends of Tree Climbing,
As we approach winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and summer in the Southern Hemisphere, we’re joined by thoughts of holidays, family, and the promise of a coming New Year. I hope you will take a moment to appreciate, as I often do, what it is that our community does and represents. We climb trees! Not only that, but many of us share the joys of tree climbing with friends, family, and our communities. By doing so, we're reaffirming an ancient bond between people and nature, people and forests, people and people. We do so in a way that is fun, exhilarating, challenging, enlightening and often life changing. I give thanks to have discovered this world within our world, and the good people who inhabit it. 
This abbreviated edition of the GOTC newsletter reflects those qualities of tree climbing. Our Board is welcoming new members, tree climbers who have a desire and a passion to volunteer their time to take tree climbing forward. We also hear from Common Ground Adventures on how this grove facilitated a tree climbing experience for a population that often encounters limitations to their experiencing nature first hand. 
I hope you enjoy this latest edition of our newsletter. Have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year, wherever you are. As is somewhat of a tradition, I will try to ring in 2014 with a New Year’s Day climb. I can’t think of a better way to mark the occasion. 
As always, please keep in touch, and I'll look forward to meeting up with you in the canopy.
“Ponderosa” Harv Teitelbaum, Pres.

Evergreen, CO, USA

Welcome 2014 GOTC Board!

GOTC has a new Board
for 2014!

Please join us in welcoming our new & reelected
Board members

Hello Tree Climbers and Friends of Tree Climbing,
With two current Board members retiring, and with the GOTC Board having decided to expand to seven members, that means there were five Board seats up for election. We have a total of five qualified candidates. Therefore all five candidates have earned 2-year terms to the GOTC Board as of 2014.
Please join us in welcoming our new and re-elected Board members (bios in the link below):
1.Bill "Wild Bill” Maher (Current VP of the Board)
2.Geof Kledzik (Current Treasurer of the Board)
3.Hank “Mantis” Blaustein (New)
4.Landon Smith (New)
5.Nicole “Luciernaga” Olalla (New to the Board, Current International Coordinator - will retain this staff position)
People with disabilities can also enjoy tree climbing

Grove of the Month
Common Ground Adventures

Common Ground Adventures was called in to help with Camp Breakaway of the LIFT Disability Network to offer Tree Climbing to their campers. During one inspiring day we marveled as youths with autism, adults with down syndrome, paraplegics, and others with disabilities experienced the joys of hanging out in a tree.Two adaptations were offered: First, full body harnesses were made available. These allow climbers to remain in a relaxed position without needing the strength to keep their upper body upright. Second, we adapted climbing systems with pulleys so the climber's strength-to-weight ratio was reduced by 2/3, allowing a person on the ground to easily assist by pulling on the rope, moving the climber up.

Ana is a woman in her fifties who requires a motorized wheelchair to get around. She expressed great excitement as her chance to climb grew near. She was helped to stand up, placed into a full body harness, and returned to her chair. We made sure her climbing system included pulleys. With every pull of the rope she was lifted a little higher into the air and was very quickly off her chair with a huge smile on her face! "Higher" she kept saying, so the rope was pulled again. Again she said "Higher" and soon Ana was as high as the rope could reach.

Anthony has the upper body of a football player but his legs have failed him. His climbing system did not require the use of pulleys as he had more than enough strength to manage his rope. The use of legs, however, is an important part of managing (moving) the friction hitch. We were able to adapt his climbing system by adding an additional (self-advancing) friction hitch, thereby eliminating the need for any leg strength at all. Anthony was able to climb very high and was even seen relaxing on a branch.

Climbing into the tree canopy is such a fun and exciting way to explore the outdoors that thankfully, with a few simple adaptations, people with disabilities can also climb as high as they wish and enjoy the wonders to be found in the tree tops.

Happy Holidays!
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Copyright © 2013 Global Organization of Tree Climbers. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: 
588 22nd Ave. SE, 
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Send us an article & pictures sharing about your "grove". We will do the best to publish it.

Deadline for next Newsletter March 5th, 2014
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