Climbing legend shares Yosemite spirit

Ron Kauk has inspired people around the world with his rock climbing career for many years. Since 2009, he has also been helping the surrounding community through his non-profit, Sacred Rok.

Kauk began his life journey at the age of 14. He fell in love with rock climbing in Yosemite National Park and found it an empowering way to discover himself and his capabilities. As he got older and continued to pursue rock climbing, Kauk’s experience with nature sparked a vision for something bigger. His vision was to create the non-profit, Sacred Rok, that could help underprivileged and even incarcerated youth to discover and explore the surrounding nature of Yosemite.

“There is a common thread for youth in nature to find this childlike playfulness in yourself… because we’re not forcing anything so we can be ourselves and trust how we feel,” said Kauk.

The young men who participate in Sacred Rok are allowed to gain the same experiences of appreciating nature the same way Kauk did when he was younger.

“I’ve had a lot of incredible conversations with the guys and they’re describing what I was feeling at their age being in this kind of environment,” said Kauk.

Kauks mission to provide an educational learning experience has benefited more than 400 youth so far, showing them the power of nature and of Yosemite’s beauty.

Sacred Rok’s published book Voices from the Inside Out is a collection of quotes from participants of the program. All express personal stories of their experiences with the program and how their connection with Yosemite has helped them see the world a little differently.

“While I was standing alone and enjoying the view of nature, the waterfall, and the rainbow, I began to look to my left and look to my right and notice no one was by my side. At that point I began to realize it’s all on me to make the most of what I have, where I am, and where I’m going in life,” wrote a young person identified as “NQ.”

Sacred Rok has given the opportunity for many youth to explore Yosemite, yet Kauk has strengthened the connection with his belief in education with nature. His passion for this has inspired many and will continue to do so for many years.

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