Fearless: Ally Siegel

Encouraging and mentoring young minds, consistently finding new ways to use her love of climbing and adventure to promote character and leadership development, and always ready for the next big challenge, Ally Siegel ’16 fearlessly pushes herself to achieve more, inspiring others to do the same.

Ally has had an adventurous spirit ever since she was a young girl finding her love for climbing and the great outdoors by scaling trees and rocks. Climbing quickly turned into a passion for Ally, leading her to compete nationally in various climbing competitions, and find the GRAB office on campus first semester of freshman year.

While GRAB is now Ally’s favorite thing on campus, before coming to Gettysburg, Ally had very little experience with outdoor sports like kayaking because she’d always done climbing. However, after an injury prompted her to stop climbing for a while, she knew she needed to find another outlet and needed to change something. When she joined GRAB, she did a 10-day kayaking trip to the Outer Banks and did a 10-day backpacking trip to West Virginia (which included some caving) and started to hone not only her personal passion for outdoor adventure, but also started introducing others to those same kinds of opportunities and outlets.

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Climbing and adventure are great ways to instill courage and determination in somebody’s outlook and character, and serve as fantastic ways to teach leadership and personal strength. Ally helps college students to have these kinds of experiences that promote personal development, confidence, and a thirst for adventure, but she also finds ways to use her outdoors skills to help other members of the community, using her climbing as a way to promote change in people’s lives. 

“Through GRAB and the Den I’ve done a lot of workshop s and programs,” says Ally. “I helped organize a women’s leadership program, which promoted empowerment, and organized one for migrant students to get them interested in college. It’s amazing to be able to use climbing to make a program and gear it towards those people’s needs.” Ally also works at Peak Potential, an organization which helps physically disabled children learn how to rock climb, trains young children individually, and helps run a lot of the programs at the Den, including a climbing competition she ran with students from almost ten colleges represented.

“Someday, I really hope I might be able to pursue a job in wilderness therapy,” says Ally. “Sometimes it’s also called adventure therapy. The idea is to take anything experiential based, like camping or climbing or a ropes course, and use that as a way to have family therapy, or therapy for low-income children, or people with mental illnesses—creating programs specifically tailored to those people in order to help them and empower them.”

Her love of working with kids and seeing people achieve things they never thought possible through climbing and outdoor adventure has driven Ally to get involved in many volunteering opportunities on campus, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and APO. Ally is also looking forward to serving as a Heston Summer Intern in Kenya this coming summer where she will work with children, education, health, and food security. Whatever Ally does, it is imbued with her drive and passion she’s developed from her climbing and adventure experiences, making her a fearless individual full of heart, joy, and determination.

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