Jennifer Saito is more than just a member at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago. She’s practically family.
Whether she’s volunteering her time as a model for an upcoming BKB event (check her out as our poster girl for BKBoo!) or making friends with our ever-growing team of route setters, Jennifer engages with the BKB community. To us, she embodies the spirit of our little BKB community: heart, humor and fun.
That also makes her a perfect fit for 7 Questions, our revamped members spotlight. Based on the Proust Questionnaire, 7 Questions takes a quick look at members we’ve grown to know and love at BKB. See what Jennifer has to say about the challenges of climbing, her yoga practice and her motto for life.
1. Why do you choose to climb?
Climbing attracts people who are focused, disciplined and willing to work. I love immersing myself into a community of consistently hard-working people. Climbing encourages precise, deliberate movement. To improve you must have drive. You must be willing to work.
2. What has been your main challenge as a climber?
My main challenge has been to go for moves. On lead, I will generally tell my belayer to take rather than just go for it. It’s so mental. I need to be better about willing to fall. I also need to boulder more.
3. What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness is freedom to choose what you want to do every moment of your life. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more comfortable letting go of activities I no longer enjoy. I choose what I want to do with my time. Every day I get to exercise and laugh with people I love. That is happiness!
4. If not climbing, where would you be?
If I am not climbing, I am at yoga. I have owned my yoga studio Bikram Yoga River North for almost a year now. I teach, and I practice. I have an amazing group of teachers who help me make the studio a place that is warm and welcoming. I also like to eat. I have participated in Wow Bao’s bao eating contest two years in a row. I won the last competition in October.
5. What do you enjoy/appreciate most in the BKB community?
I love everything about BKB. I go there at all times of the day so I see the space when it’s quiet and when it’s busy. The route setters are always excited to chat about their routes and to offer help. The front desk and staff members are incredibly friendly and generous with their smiles. BKB makes me feel so at home. BKB does such a thoughtful job of putting together fun field trips (yay for kayaking!), breakfast club (yay for food!), and extra activities (yay for yoga at BKB and partnerships with Barefeet Yoga and Crosstown Fitness)! Climbers are so inviting and kind. BKB attracts good people!
6. Who are your heroes and heroines?
My hero is my mom. A single parent she worked full time yet still managed to enthusiastically chauffeur me from one extracurricular activity to another every single day. She struggled to make it all work, but she always provided me with everything in abundance. She had and still has the heartiest (and loudest!) laugh of anyone I know. She is the real deal.
7. What motto do you like to live by in your life?
Keep smiling! Life is sometimes tough, but remember just how lucky you are. You have all the reasons in the world to smile.
I love that climbing consistently challenges me to be more efficient, to find creative solutions, and to succeed after many, many fails. – Jennifer Saito