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A Letter From Our CEO, 03.30.20

To our BKB Community, 

To ensure the safety of our community we, like countless businesses around the world, suspended our operations earlier this month. In the weeks since, our world has changed around us in unprecedented ways and our doors remain unable to open. Few of us could have ever imagined what has transpired and yet we continue to stand strong, as one community, ready to do whatever it takes to make it through and to support as many people as possible, together. 

Throughout this crisis we’ve had three main goals that have driven all the decisions we’ve made:

  1. Ensuring our staff has the financial support, tools, and resources necessary to make it through this tumultuous time.
  2. Safeguarding BKB’s future, ensuring it is standing strongly when we reopen.
  3. Keeping our community as happy + healthy as possible,  by doing our part to flatten the curve while staying connected even at a distance, through virtual programming, including climbing training for our BKBeasts teams, fitness programming, community events and more. 

To support our team, when we closed all our facilities on March 16th, we immediately committed to paying all employees as normal through March 31st. Our goal was to minimize disruption while our government prepared to respond to the unprecedented economic fallout caused by this pandemic. The generosity of our members who chose to convert their payment to future credits has allowed us to accomplish that goal, retaining 100% of our team members until our government could deliver a longer term solution. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARE) Act has ensured the employees we must temporarily furlough will be afforded an unprecedented level of benefits and consideration, exceeding the resources BKB can provide during this time including many receiving 100% of their previous pay. Going forward, we will retain a critical contingency of staff in each of our facilities as well as senior leadership, departmental managers and some support staff, and community support teams in our Headquarters. 

With the extension of nationally enforced social distancing rules through the end of April, all BKB facilities will remain closed at least until that time. We continue to ask the members that can to continue to invest in BKB until we reopen by maintaining their monthly membership in exchange for future credits so that we have the financial means to support as many necessary expenses as possible. As the storm continues we will be working with a smaller team but one that is necessary to ensure Brooklyn Boulders weathers this tempest. Over the last decade we have made it through many ups and downs and have always come back stronger; this time will be no different.

In addition to State and Federal benefits available, we wanted to ensure that our furloughed team members maintain access to healthcare during this time.  Therefore we will not only continue to pay for the employer portion of our team members’ health insurance premiums, but will also cover the employee portion so that there is never a choice between medical coverage and bills. To make this possible, all senior leadership and remaining team members have taken substantial pay cuts. In addition, I have personally decided to forgo my entire salary so as to retain as many team members as possible while creating additional opportunities for our furloughed employees.  

One such opportunity can be found in our new professional development fund created for our furloughed employees so that those who qualify can use this time to pursue their interests and expand their knowledge.  With financial support for professional development, paid opportunities to teach virtual classes for our community and ongoing access to our Culture team for guidance, we’re working to stay as engaged and connected with our entire team as possible.

Our roots are in NYC, the epicenter of the crisis here in the United States. We know how difficult and harrowing this has been for everyone, and how much harder it has been for all those fighting this war on the front lines. Our first responders, our nurses, our doctors, and all the staff necessary to provide medical care to those in needs are our heroes. My family and I will make a $20,000 donation to NYC medical non-profits and BKB will match this donation with revenue from membership dues. This means a portion of your continued commitment will go directly to support those on the front lines. In addition, and once we reopen, we will provide $110,000 in free access for first responders, medical professionals, and their families bringing our total contribution to these heroes to $150,000. 

We cannot wait to climb with you again. Until then, please do all you can do stay safe and we’ll do all we can to stay connected. 

Climb on, 

Jeremy Balboni

Chief Executive Officer

A letter from our co-founders.

To our BKB community, 

During these uncertain times, it means a lot to know that so many of you care as much as we do about the wellbeing of our staff.  As we continue to determine the best solutions for our community long term, we wanted to provide an update on the measures we have enacted to date to protect our team. All of our more than 350 employees will be paid as normal through March 31st and for as long as possible thereafter. Further, we started covering 100% of our staff’s healthcare premiums and will continue to honor our industry-leading parental leave policy while our facilities are closed. To support this, the entire senior leadership team has taken immediate, substantial pay cuts.

We ask that you be patient with us. None of us have been through this before and as wild as our dreams for 2020 were, we never imagined needing to shut our doors for even a day. Like you, we are doing our best. It is not lost on us how much trust you have put in us since we opened our doors in 2009, and we will do all we can to strengthen our commitment to our community in the weeks ahead. 

In the last few days, we’ve been truly blown away by the generosity and resilience our team members have displayed as they’ve looked for ways to support one another. It’s clearer every day that we are facing an unprecedented challenge, but we are so grateful to be facing it together, and we will do everything we can to shelter our community from the storm. 

Talk soon, 

Jeremy Balboni + Lance Pinn

Friction Labs At-Home Training: Yoga Series

Friction Labs At-Home Training: Yoga Series

Latest news got your hands sweating? Calm down and chalk up. Beginning this month we are teaming up with the champions of chalk, Friction Labs, and their world-class athlete team to bring you climbing-related articles. We’ll break them down for you into little chunks of TL;DR for you to dip into, with links to the complete articles if you’re ready to go full send. Now there’s some good news.

With our facilities closed for the time being we thought we’d kick off this collaboration with some articles on at-home training. While one of the most important things you can do to improve your climbing is to climb, it is certainly not the only thing you can do.

Case-in-point, this Yoga for Climbers series. In it, Erin Ayla presents three climber-targeted practices that will strengthen your shoulders, help you into a handstand, and introduce you to dynamic fascial training. It’s so much more than down dog and namaste. Some call it quarantine, we consider it more of a “forced rest.”

Yoga for Climbers Part 1: Healthy Shoulders

Yoga for Climbers Part 2: Handstands

Yoga for Climbers Part 3: Fascial Training

Too short; want more? Read the original post in its entirety on the Friction Labs blog.

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