It has to be a good cause to make someone rappel down the side of an 18-story building.
For Charles “Chuck” Nebel, Big Brothers Big Sisters was good enough.
Last October, Nebel raised money for the organization in its Over the Edge fundraiser. Participants in the event raise $1,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters in exchange for the opportunity to rappel down the 18-story Market Square Plaza building on 2nd Street in Harrisburg, a 220-foot descent.
This year’s event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 19.
The funds raised provide ongoing support for Big Brothers Big Sisters Capital Region’s youth mentoring programs. Space is limited as there are only 86 rappel spots.
Last year’s inaugural event raised $84,000, surpassing the fundraising goal of $75,000. This year, the goal is to raise $100,000. Already, 61 people are registered, leaving only 25 spots.
Funds raised through the event allow the organization to provide professional support and guidance to children and their mentors, families and communities, said Maddie Young, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Capital Region.
“This support produces positive outcomes for youth in our programs including 100 percent of eligible Littles graduating high school, 97 percent avoiding drugs and alcohol and 75 percent expecting to attend college,” she said.
Young said the organization was “thrilled” with the success of last year’s event and participants from last year have already signed up to go over the edge this year.
Nebel plans to be among them. A resident of Hampden Township, Nebel is in charge of the Carlisle office for Boyer & Ritter LLC, Certified Public Accountants.
Sponsorship opportunities are available including Ropes Sponsors, a Liquid Courage Reception Sponsor and the most popular one from last year, a “Toss Your Boss” sponsorship where employees (or a company itself) nominate a top employee to go Over the Edge. Companies or individuals may also sponsor a local police officer to rappel. Many officers participating in Over the Edge serve as youth mentors through the Big Brothers Big Sisters “Bigs in Blue” program.
People or companies interested in participating in Over the Edge can go to capbigs.org for more information and to register. Anyone interested in donating may visit the web page and click on the “Over the Edge” logo.
Q. What attracted you to the event?
A. I was at a mixer in Carlisle and was discussing my last summer adventures with some clients and I stated that I climbed Mount Rainier and that I have been summiting the highest mountains in the US over the last 10 years. This summer, I summited Mount Hood in Oregon. Barrie Ann overheard the conversation and told me about the Over the Edge fundraiser. Since I am an adventure seeker, I thought this would be fun. I have to tell you I am not good with heights. The mountains I climb I have my feet on the ground. But I always want to face my fears and do it anyway. Since it was for the Big Brothers Big Sisters, it was easy to raise the money to participate. I told my friends about the event and they thought it was just adding to my death wish.
Q. What are the main thoughts going through your head as you stand at the top of the building, ready to go over the edge?
A. My main thought was, “Wow! I am up there and I hope the rope holds and I remember the instructions.” You are very roped in so I was not concerned for my safety.
Q. Describe what it was like to rappel down the side.
A. I was nervous at first. It is that first leap off the edge that is the most difficult. Once I got started, I could relax and enjoy the repelling. I had a Go Pro on my helmet. I tried to look around the best I could but every time I looked straight down my heart started to pound. I viewed the video and pretty much all you see is the wall in front of me and you could hear me saying how cool this was. Not very exciting footage.
Q. Do you have any advice for someone who may be considering participating in the event?
A. It was a lot of fun and I felt very safe. They ask if you want your favorite song to be played as you descend and people are cheering on the ground. It was very invigorating. Plus, you get a great view of the city. It is easy to raise the funds to participate. The staff and BBBS have it setup so it is easy to participate.
Q. What is about the mission of BBBSCR that made you willing to go over edge?
I think the BBBSCR is a great organization and has a positive impact in our community. Kids need a good role model and mentor now more than ever. With all the negative outside influences facing kids, they need someone to help them navigate life.