I started my career as a teacher, so I absolutely love working with schools across the country to share the No Barriers message. Every now and then, a school district goes above and beyond to help their students really embrace that message, like Spirit Lake in Iowa did. This school year, they have been using all 3 of my books, assorted curricula, and Climb Programs across their entire district, grades K-12!

To cap off their “No Barriers Year,” I swung by Spirit Lake for a visit and a talk to the community. Upon arrival to the “Great Lakes of Iowa” region, we snuck in a quick workout at the coolest gym in the Midwest, Athletic Republic Spirit Lake. Thanks, Levi, for keeping us fit on the road!

photo of erik weihenmayer speaking to spirit lake students
Speaking to Spirit Lake Students
a photo of students in spirit lake school auditorium
Students filled the auditorium

After meeting for coffee with the mastermind behind my visit, Head Coach and Vice Principal, Josh Bolluyt, I addressed the entire district, grades 4-12, as well as community members and parents filling the auditorium. After we toured the campuses and encountered students doing blind climbing activities, blindfolded art and kinesthetic games, reading book passages to each other, and even younger students learning about my Everest team under the tutelage of high school students who had read the book. We wrapped up the visit with a special lunch – I dined in the “Spirit Cafe” with the winners of the district-wide No Barriers essay contest.

a photo of students blindfolded for whos shoe activity with pile of shoes in center of circle
“Who’s Shoe”
photo of blindfolded students participate in a team building exercise
Blindfolded students participate in a team building exercise
photo of erik weihenmayer with a blind student at spirit lake school
Hanging out with my new friend

Spirit Lake, you and your tight Rope Team are a living example of what can be done when we work towards a common goal, with a common vision. From my team to yours – thank you!