Immersive Climbing

Change is Upon Us

By Rachel Hailey “Black people don’t do that.” We have all heard some version of this conversation. There is a commonly held belief that certain groups of people shouldn’t or don’t engage in the outdoor industry. As a reformed city kid myself, I made the jump to outdoor recreation after I moved from the city of Boston to a racially desolate town in Massachusetts. The common narrative was that it was weird for a (black, cisgender female) city-kid to want to be out in outdoor spaces.

Rising to New Heights

The Vo-Zone will act as a liaison for many city-based youth into the world of outdoor recreation given its unique design and objectives. Equipped with a fully wheelchair accessible and multigrade aerial adventure park and walking path, the Vo-Zone provides an avenue for people of all ages, backgrounds, and ability levels to experience adventure in a city-based setting. The uniqueness of the design is to be noted as the complete exterior of the building will be based on a grid system allowing for climbing and walking opportunities around the entire outside of the building. This is truly inspirational as it allows for an accessible experience for many who otherwise would not consider outdoor recreation.

From Backpacks to Boardrooms

As the outdoor industry grows, there is an increasing need for representation. Coach Ty and his team are creating a way for that much needed representation to show up. The Vo-Zone creates an experience and framework such that students participating in the internship program and participants from the public will be experiencing new and exciting adventures in a setting familiar to them. This will open up the new possibility that though they may think “city life and the outdoors don’t mix”, that there actually is a place for them in the outdoor industry. Having had the unique experience of rising to new heights at the Vo-Zone, our youth will grow, learn to trust themselves, and will be in demand for the ever-increasing call for diverse representation in the outdoors. 
From backpacks to board rooms, The Vo-Zone will allow students and guests to bridge the gap between city-based life and outdoor recreation. By growing up our youth in the context of aerial adventure, we can ensure our future leaders and board members in the outdoor industry are representative of its changing population.

Rachel Hailey, founder and transformationalist at Rachel Hailey & Associates Consulting. Rachel has served and inspired over 100 organizations in the creation of actionable systems aligned with creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in outdoor spaces with a focus on underserved and underrepresented communities. Rachel is a frequent writer for industry publications like Adventure Park Insider and SAM and has given talks on DEI & Social Justice on international platforms.