Clubs can provide students the opportunity to learn a new skill, find others with similar interests or have a space to continue growing in their certain interests. One club at Point Loma Nazarene University that hopes to push students to grow and face a new level of fear is the Jesus Rocks climbing club.
“This is the first year that Jesus Rocks has existed at Point Loma,” said Kyle Cassani, one of the founders of the Jesus Rocks club and a third-year international studies major. “For much of last year, Nathan, Avery [Jesus Rocks club’s founders] and I had been discussing the idea of starting a climbing club that would emphasize both Christian fellowship and personal discovery. This vision felt like something that the Lord was calling us all to, and we decided to make it a reality.”
Jesus Rocks is a rock climbing club welcoming seasoned climbers as well as beginners to not only climb, but also to learn more about the Lord. The club puts on different kinds of rock climbing events that will challenge and welcome new climbers to the sport.
“We wanted to build this club to create a community where advanced climbers and brand new climbers could come together and build a community centered around Christ,” said Avery Thompson, a third-year psychology major and one of the three founders of the club.
All are welcome to attend the club’s events and participate.
“We do outdoor, indoor and on-campus events a few times a month,” said Nathan Hendrickson, a second-year business major and one of the founders of the club.
According to Cassani, the less competitive nature of climbing and problem-solving is what brings people together in a way that most other sports can’t.
“What I enjoy most about rock climbing is the community it fosters and the personal discovery it allows,” said Cassani. “Whether in the gym or outdoors, there’s a sense of camaraderie that transcends the physical aspect of the sport. It serves as a platform to push individuals to confront their fears and surpass their perceived abilities.”
Thompson has a similar outlook and loves sharing the challenging sport she loves with others.
“Climbing is such a unique sport because it is scary but thrilling and being able to experience that with others makes moments even more fun,” said Thompson
Fear is a substantial factor in the sport due to the height one will climb at times and the possibility of falling. However, according to Cassani, when you push past fear you will see growth in yourself and become both physically and mentally stronger.
“When I’m outdoor climbing big faces, I still experience so much fear, but it’s taught me how not to be controlled by my fear,” said Cassani. “Fear is so important. It’s a way that the human mind protects our bodies from danger. Unfortunately, our fear response is so maladapted to modern life. We experience fear all the time in response to situations that aren’t very life-threatening at all. Climbing has provided a place where I have learned how to understand and have autonomy over my fear.”
Thompson said she is a testament to the physical and mental strength that can be developed through climbing, but she also mentioned the spiritual growth that can come along with rock climbing.
“I started scared and weak, and I have become both physically and mentally tougher,” said Thompson. “I feel more connected to my faith because climbing leads me to be in nature more often, and through that, I have seen the immense glory of God. I am amazed every time I am in His creation and climbing helps me to tangibly get to experience a tiny piece of creation. I’m so in awe of Jesus and so thankful climbing has brought me even closer to Him.”