Episode #33

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Brian Poon


About this Episode

Our guest for today’s episode is Jon Hawk. Jon is the Director of Gym Operations at Memphis Rox in Tennessee. Based in Soulsville, an underserved neighborhood in South Memphis, Memphis Rox serves as an access point to mentorship and helps community members overcome life’s obstacles. Memphis Rox takes pride in not being for profit, but being for people. It is the first non-profit gym of its size, at 32,000 square feet. With their “pay what you can” fee structure, they make sure nobody is turned away from the gym.

Climbing serves as the community’s avenue to foster relationships in a safe space. As their motto says, “we climb higher, when we climb together”. Jon walks us through how Memphis Rox serves as a model for providing equitable access to climbing, as well as the programs offered beyond climbing that help meet social needs for the people in the Soulsville community.

5:00- Jon’s intro and where to climb around Memphis
12:18- Memphis Rox’s mission statement
13:35- Jon’s history and position with Memphis Rox
22:10- The origin of Memphis Rox
25:12- Why Soulsville?
28:28- Memphis Rox being service-based
32:53- The non-profit business model
38:43- Memphis Rox’s board structure
40:57- Professional development programming
50:54- Mission statement, continued
55:45- What’s next for Memphis Rox?
1:01:31- Jon’s definition of advocacy

Memphis Rox: https://www.memphisrox.org/

Memphis Rox Instagram: @memphisroxclimbing

Soul Deep film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo_MhNqekbU

New Orleans Boulder Lounge: https://www.climbnobl.com/

Tufas Boulder Lounge: https://tufasboulderlounge.com/

Nosotros Climbing Gym: https://www.gonosotros.com/