Program Overview

On Belay builds community among youth ages 8-18 who have or have had a family member with cancer using adventure based programs that encourage participants to uncover their inner resilience. Among On Belay kids are children who have lost someone, who have someone in treatment, and who have a loved one in remission. We utilize various challenge course activities and indoor climbing to create a metaphor for participants, teaching them that if they can find a way through these challenges, they can overcome anything. Through the support of being “On Belay”, we give participants a chance to connect with other children facing similar challenges, while learning to support others, ask for help and develop confidence.

My kids had such a wonderful time.  I can’t tell you what a difference I saw in my youngest son who has been so quiet and angry.  He really enjoyed himself and loved the other kids. He can’t wait until next time.

On Belay offers several programs throughout the year in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Every program offers an opportunity to play games, have fun, learn to climb and to belay, all while giving participants a chance to be kids in a supportive and caring environment. Once a part of the On Belay community, participants can return to as many programs as they wish and are never turned away because of a change in their family member’s treatment.

Shane had so much fun and was thanking us over and over for arranging for him to go. On Belay is a wonderful program. Last night I met the sister of the woman that started On Belay. As we talked, I started to cry and she just hugged me without hesitation. That meant the world to me. Thank you everyone, staff and volunteers, for all you do.

Our Program Goals:

• Give participants the freedom to focus on themselves and have fun, creating joy and happiness in an             otherwise difficult time

• Create an environment where participants feel comfortable and supported by other adults as well as             each other

• Provide participants with a place to make new friends and build a network of support to turn to when           times are tough.

• Offer opportunities for participants to challenge themselves giving them the confidence to overcome             the challenge of their families illness

On Belay serves over 150 families from towns throughout New England. All participants are invited to attend programs at no cost to their families, thanks to generous community support.

I liked how I could come to a rock climbing gym and make friends and feel “On Belay”!!! It was kind of hard at first when I was told to trust people I didn’t know, but now, I can trust all of them.