Rappelling Center City skyscrapers for a good cause

News October 16, 2013 0 Comments

Jennifer Robertson, of Chestnut Hill, prepares to rappel 280 feet from the top of Penn Center Plaza Tower 3 in Center City, the site of last year's Building Adventure. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Robertson)

Jennifer Robertson, of Chestnut Hill, prepares to rappel 280 feet from the top of Penn Center Plaza Tower 3 in Center City, the site of last year’s Building Adventure. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Robertson)

by Sue Ann Rybak

Chestnut Hill resident Jennifer Robertson, 27, is totally committed to raising funds for Outward Bound Philadelphia.

The 27-year-old interior designer hopes to participate in Outward Bound Philadelphia’s 2013 Building Adventure, a 31-story rappel down the face of the One Logan Square skyscraper on Saturday, Oct. 18.

“I am addicted to it,” said Robertson, who did the rappel last year. “My first time rappelling was really scary but cool at the same time.”

Robertson, who is training to get her skydiving license, said she loves doing this kind of stuff.

“Outward Bound is the educational organization that helps youth discover their untapped potential, their strength of character, the ability to lead and a desire to serve others and their surrounding community,” Robertson said. “Even if I do not raise all the money to rappel, the reason I challenge myself again this year to raise the $2,000 (or beyond) is for those deserving students in Philadelphia that Outward Bound serves. Being able to do something I love while raising money for a cause I feel strongly about is a win-win.”

While Robertson admits that going over the edge, even for her can be terrifying.

“I am definitely scared to do it,” Robertson said. “Once you’re sitting in the harness and you’re off the building, you are totally trusting these people with your life. The first step is so hard because you are literally dangling in the air. It just seems like forever before you get your feet onto the building. You can’t bail out at the last minute because all these people are counting on you.”

Robertson said it can be overwhelming and terrifying but “it’s totally worth it.”

She said Outward Bound not only teaches basic life skills and leadership, but instills grit and determination in students not offered anywhere else.

Katie Newsom, executive director of Outward Bound Philadelphia, said the event raises the funds necessary to provide scholarships to students and veterans who, without these funds, could not participate in Outward Bound’s programs.

“We are all intimately familiar with the challenges that our public school district is facing and we are here because our founders, many of whom are from Chestnut Hill, believe very strongly that the kinds of programming, character, leadership and service education that Outward Bound provides is critical to the growth of our public school young people,” Newsom said.

She added that unfortunately due to the crisis faced by the Philadelphia School District, funds Outward Bound Philadelphia used to receive from the district for public school programs are not available anymore.

“In 2012, we served about 2, 900 students from public and charter schools across the city,” Newsom said. “In 2013, we were able to grow because of the proceeds from last year’s event.”

She said this year they hope to serve between 3,500 and 4,000 students thanks to the money raised in the 2013 Building Adventure fund-raiser.

Robertson said she was passionate about raising funds for Outward Bound programs because some students don’t realize that “they hold the power inside themselves to achieve any goal they set their mind to.”

“Outward Bound brings that out of them,” Robertson said. “Imagine the possibilities if each student in Philadelphia went through Outward Bound. I can, that is why I want to raise this money.”

She said she was “beyond grateful” to everyone who helped her raise funds last year and this year.

Readers can help Robertson change lives through challenge and discovery by making a donation to her page at firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jenniferErobertson/building-adventure-2013

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