My Return Trip to the National Office
By Travis Weil
Last week, I returned to my longtime home of Lebanon, IL. I had just spent an amazing month in Bend, OR working with Solid Rock Climbers for Christ. While doing an internship two years ago, Calvin Landrus, SRCFC National Director, found out that, while I’m not an expert, I can do work on websites. This is what brought me out there for a second time.
In my first trip, one of the goals Calvin had for me was to create a new website for SRCFC. We looked into different companies and what they offered. We even went to a meeting with one of them to see if they could do all that we wanted. That was until they actually realized what we wanted - to allow members and non-members to interact on the Solid Rock website so that we would be able to be more effective in serving the climbing community. The website did not get going while I was there that time and was put to the side until we could find a way to do what we wanted.
Now fast-forward to this past fall, Calvin sends me an email asking me if I would be willing to move content over from the old site to the new one. “New website? - When did this happen?” were my thoughts. Calvin then explained about what had developed and I jumped on board. At first I had no clue of how to use the program that this company had for building websites. After playing around on it for a few days, I started to get the hang of it. I ended up moving a few pages to the new site, then I became very busy and nothing was getting done on the site, at least on my end.
Then in the middle of March, I received an email from Calvin asking if I would come out to Bend and work on the website fulltime. How could I refuse? I wasn’t working that much, I would get to climb at Smith Rock, and I needed to get away for a little while.
I left St. Louis on the 12th of April with the plan for me to stay one month and work on the site. The next day, the work began. I was feeling confident in getting everything moved over. Then a few days into the process, I began to hit some bumps in the road. I was unable to get any of the input forms to work. These are very important as it is how people become members, enter the gear giveaway, and sign up for certain events. The way they worked, was beyond what I knew at the time. Luckily, I was able to schedule a time to go into the developer’s office and get a little bit of training. That helped immensely. I went back to the office with confidence that things would begin going my way. I started to make forms like a mad man. Then I tested them. They didn’t work. Things went from good to disappointing in a matter of seconds. After emailing the developers, I figured out the problem and continued working. Over the next couple of days, I made forms for many things and kept moving content over. It seemed like things were back on track. Calvin then notified me of something that wasn’t very encouraging.
The developers had pushed the release date of the second part, forums and member profiles, of the content management program back a month. It was now due to be released when I would be back in IL. “Now what am I supposed to do when I finish moving content over?” As I continued to work out problems on the site and move content over, Calvin and I started to discuss when we wanted “go live” with the new site. We decided we would allow a few people to go through the site, check it for problems and then release it the next week. That is what we did and on May 4th, it went live. Now, I had over a week with very little work to do. Naturally, I went climbing at Smith.
When I was asked to come out, Calvin enticed me with the offer to climb when I wanted. How could I resist that? The first day we went out, I was psyched to climb. I had been climbing hard and was ready to send. That was until I broke a foothold during a traverse. This induced a swinging fall that caused me to hit my arm on a sharp arête. “Great, just what I need, an injury my first day.” I still climbed that day, but just top-roped the rest of the routes we climbed. The next day, I went out to Smith alone and came across someone whom I had climbed with two years ago. She invited me to climb with her and her group that day. Over the next couple of weeks, I would always see her out at the crag climbing. I would sometimes climb with her.
Almost every time there would be conversations about spiritual or religious topics. One of the weekends, she started talking about being invited to bible studies at her college and how Christians come across to non-Christians like her. She actually complimented me on how I was not forceful or judging with my convictions towards her. This allowed me to share more of my beliefs with her than expected. My final weekend that I would be around, she was not going to be at the park, but was going to be working at the gear shop just outside of the park. I went up there after church on Sunday to see her and talk a bit more. God provided a way for continued discussion of spiritual things. She is a math major, and was going to be writing a paper on math in theology. As soon as she said that, I got excited since I was a theology major in college. I offered my assistance if she had any questions. I only hope that this will allow further discussion on God and His gift of grace upon us all.
Finally, I was able to spend some amazing time with Christian climbers while in Oregon. My main climbing partners were a blast to hang out with and God blessed me a lot through them. I was able to have some crazy adventures with them. One of them involved Ryan, a cold belay, and a massive run-out. Another involved a large group of people, Adam, Monkey Face, and a 200 foot swing. I wanted to thank Adam and Ryan for climbing with me and blessing me so much during my time in Oregon. Also, thanks to Calvin and his family for giving me a place to live and food to eat while working on the website.
To read more on my time spent in Oregon, visit my blog: www.travweil.blogspot.com.