2018 Letter from the Executive Director

If it does not challenge you, it does not change you

Dear Friends of Parkour Visions;

I am both honored and excited to join your organization during a pivotal time in it's history. The last few months certainly have been difficult, and the obstacles before us might seem higher than ever before. However, I have learned from 10+ years collaborating within the larger movement world that incredible things can be achieved when we choose to share challenges and work together towards a common goal.

So yes, while we have a big challenge ahead, we also have a big, passionate community and big, powerful dreams--and these two things are enormous strengths.

Its not difficult to recognize the value of parkour. Through it, we can develop life-long relationships, shift the way we see our environment, learn to manage and take risk in a healthy way, and ultimately come to trust our ability to overcome any of the barriers in our every day life. The best part being that it can serve you at any age and skill level, and across all dimensions of diversity. 

Parkour is especially important to me, because it was through parkour that I was taught to take risks, to rock the boat, to set my own path.  I don't have a dramatic story of childhood--It was uneventful. I lived in a quiet suburb, had a close and loving family, did well in school, excelled in athletics, and participated in the community.  However,  I was also inadvertently taught to play it safe and to follow a preset path that should lead me to success--someone else's idea of success that is. And I was ready to go along.

But, when I found parkour just as I was entering college, my whole world shifted. I would spend afternoons facing jumps and climbs that scared me, only then bring that new found courage back in the classroom and my work. I learned to embrace difficult challenge as a positive thing, to take risks more often in other areas of my life, and to define success and happiness for myself. This continues to resonate, and gives me the courage to take the leap to leave my life on the east coast to join you all here out west in what surely will be one of my greatest adventures yet.

Parkour was the tool I used to help me become my best self, and I wish to give it to others so that they can achieve the same. It deserves to be shared. And PKV is a stronghold and space where that can happen.

So, I'd like to start by sharing our priorities for 2018 as we work to bring parkour more broadly, fulfill our mission, and build sustainable organizational health.

First, our two top priorities:

(1) Securing a new home for our Academy by the end of the year, but providing safe, fun, and high quality outdoor and partner programming around the city in the meantime. If you haven't heard yet--our winter schedule is live and we have 20+ classes a week all around Seattle for both youth and adults. Spread the word!

(2) Strategically budgeting our financial and human resources in order to sustain the organization through our interim period, as well as seek out new sources of program and operations funding by piloting new program ideas and pursing grants. We also will work to improve transparency and release past financial reports in a way that is easier to access by end of the year.

Second: I also renew our dedication to sharing parkour and movement through the three folds of education, design, and community support. This year in particular, we hope to achieve the following:

  • EDUCATION: Improve reach, especially in low-income, low-access neighborhoods, senior communities, and traditionally under-represented populations in parkour and movement. Do you work with a school, org, or company that would love to discover parkour? 
     
  • DESIGN: Grow our design-impact by raising awareness for opportunities to incorporate play in design among architects, planners, government agencies, and local community groups and accepting projects across a variety of scale and scope. Want us to come in to tell you more?
     
  • COMMUNITY: Support the growth of the discipline locally and abroad by (1) Breathing new life into our resource sharing initiative (2) Launching a Sponsor program where individuals and groups around the country can request support and partnership on aligned projects and (3) Forging alliances with local businesses and other movement groups, in order to engage the larger community in physical activity.  Interested in teaming up? 

Yes, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I can't be anything but humbled and hopeful for the future, especially after seeing the outpouring of love and passion for PKV and our mission, in conversations with members, through a wildly successful fundraiser, and the tireless dedication of our coaches, staff, and board working to keep the lights on.

To wrap up
I want you to know that my door is always open and I'm excited to connect with you. Parkour Visions greatest strength lies with its members, partners, and donors, so please don't hesitate to share with me (caitlin@parkourvisions.org) your personal visions and ideas for creating spaces to share challenge, now and into the future. 

See you in the park!

Caitlin Pontrella


 

Caitlin Pontrella