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Artist's Showcase Pt 1: Creative Movement

There are now 64 sport disciplines recognized by the Olympics Committee going into the 2021 Summer Games. With so many sports and their derivative disciplines accounted for, and most being household names, you may think there’s a limit to how creative people can be with their movement. But have you tried bouldering? Ever been scuba diving? Maybe you’re up for a session of aerial yoga?

Here are three unique creative movement stories in the words of three awesome AmeriCorps members:

James Hada, Wetland Restoration Technician - Bouldering

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that focuses on climbing short intense routes that are 10-20 feet tall. You climb without ropes, instead falling onto foam pads.

I joined my local climbing gym's youth team about 10 years ago now. I competed in youth climbing competitions until I moved to Fort Collins for College. Moving from Iowa to Colorado opened my eyes to outdoor rock climbing, and I quickly became enamored with seeking out beautiful lines and figuring out the sequence to get to the top. The sense of adventure in discovering new boulders to climb along with the puzzle solving aspect of figuring out sequences really drew me to climbing.

When I'm at a boulder I try to be cognizant of where I set my pads and belongings. I don't want to crush any plant life that isn't directly under the boulder. Also, whenever I leave a boulder I will brush the holds and any tick marks, which are marks made with chalk highlighting where a hold is. More generally, I will pick up wrappers, athletic tape, or other trash that is left behind by other climbers.

I love rock climbing because it is one of the few activities that I feel fully present. There isn't room in my mind to ruminate on anything else when I'm climbing. Also, the serotonin rush I feel when I crack the puzzle is exhilarating and addicting. The wonderful thing about climbing is whether you've been doing it for a decade, or it's your first time ever, that feeling is universal.

Rachel Kieffer, Lead Wetland Restoration Technician - Scuba Diving

I absolutely love the feeling of being in the water. The buoyancy and feeling of flying, the drift of the current as it pulls and pushes you through the water, and the magic of never knowing what you might see.

I grew up near the coast and was a competitive swimmer, so being able to challenge myself in open water swimming was an opportunity I jumped at. Through the years I fell more and more in love with freediving and snorkeling because of all the beauty there was to see. I eventually fell into scuba diving and hope to be able to use this to explore more in the future.

I actually used part of my Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for the scuba diving courses because it was through a local community college. I have also been able to use these skills in snorkel surveys at work monitoring endangered aquatic species. Being able to share what I see and the passion I have is one of the ways I share my experience. Being able to appreciate nature for its beauty and simple existence is so important to me and being able to be in it and just observe pushes me to keep working to protect and learn from it.

Andrea Lesperance, Wetland Restoration Outreach Coordinator VISTA - Aerial Yoga

I got started with aerial yoga about a year ago, and tend to practice it when I feel that I need some time for rest and recovery. I had been practicing yoga as well as other forms of aerial fitness for a couple of years previously, and was inspired by one of my instructors who obtained a specialized certification in it. There also happened to be “aerial tree yoga” offered at the arboretum I was working at. I was intrigued by the fluidity of the movements and the opportunity to practice aerial in a natural setting. It was not until I attended my first class that I learned about the many benefits including spinal decompression, enhanced core strength, increased flexibility, and body awareness.

The best way to practice aerial yoga sustainably is to attend a class. You can’t just rig from any old tree! Rigging from a tree that is too small or not strong enough can not only be damaging to the tree, but a danger to the person hanging from it. Any reputable instructor will have the trees inspected by a certified arborist to ensure a safe practice.

I love the way that aerial yoga makes me feel and I encourage anyone that is interested to try it out. It is a great way to practice mindfulness, increase flexibility, and build strength!

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of our Artist's Showcase featuring exciting themes like mixed media and thread craft!


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