Yavapai Exceptional Industries and Gripstone Make Exercise Fun for ‘YEI-hoos’

Photo: YEI guys Allen Thomas, left, and Matthew Black climb at Gripstone Climbing and Café in Prescott

Since November 2019, guys and gals from Yavapai Exceptional Industries (YEI!) have been rising to a challenge—literally—as they rock climb at Gripstone Climbing. The partnership is part of YEI’s Developmental Activities Program (DAP); Dakota King, director of the DAP, said organizers are always on the lookout for activities that are both engaging and encourage personal development.

“There were a lot of initial concerns regarding the safety of the YEI folks, primarily by families,” King said, “which the folks at Gripstone were quick to alleviate.”

After safety training for staff and YEI-hoos, YEI-hoos had the opportunity to choose which side of the gym to climb. While some eased into it and others reached for a challenge, King said, “The guys had an absolute blast, reporting that they love the physical challenge and the feeling of overcoming it.”

Plus, he said, Gripstone “is incredibly inviting with its variety of décor and the kindness of other customers.” Staff members have been patient and happy to answer questions.

Photo: YEI gal Shyla Scott climbs at Gripstone Climbing and Café in Prescott

Brad Newman, Executive Director at YEI!, said the Developmental Activities Program is “meant to enrich one’s life through outings and experiences that promote integration and independence.”

“Jeff and the Gripstone gang go the extra mile to make our gang welcomed and included,” he added.

Through the Developmental Activities Program, YEI-hoos will also have the chance to visit Bearizona, the library, Antelope Lanes, and Armadilla Wax Works.

YEI! is a charitable organization founded in 1974 to support adults with disabilities living in the Central Highlands by providing them with job training, employment, volunteer placements, and support services. The “Developmental Employment” program at YEI! includes the award-winning “Community Contribution Corps” and has been continually accredited at the highest level of service by the National Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities since 1978.

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