If you’re looking for an expert in running an efficient, fun and safe climbing facility, look to the Boy Scouts of America.
That’s precisely what happened when a popular reality TV series needed someone to help a nonprofit climbing gym reach new heights of success.
Kathryn Wyatt, a climbing and outdoors expert from the Boy Scouts of America, will be featured in the latest season of Small Business Revolution – Main Street, a Deluxe Corp. show that invests $500,000 to revitalize an American small town.
All episodes of the show begin streaming Oct. 8 on Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Wyatt, who began her BSA career as a climbing director 16 years ago, will be featured prominently in an episode about Zion Climbing Center, a nonprofit gym in Searcy, Ark. While we can’t spoil the specifics, we can say she gives guidance on things like management, pricing, marketing and creating a mission/vision.
It’s clear that the showrunners picked the right person in Wyatt. She currently serves as director of Base Camp, an innovative urban adventure facility in Fort Snelling, Minn., that serves 35,000 climbers a year.
“My time working for the BSA has given me tremendous experience,” Wyatt says. “We all know that the BSA has over 100 years’ experience in all things outdoor skills, experiential education and leadership training. Whenever you ask someone from the Scouts for advice in these areas, it’s obvious right away that we know what we’re talking about. I hope that will shine through on the show.”
About ‘Small Business Revolution’
Small Business Revolution, now in its fourth season, selects one lucky town each season to shower with support.
The show has been to Wabash, Ind.; Bristol Borough, Pa.; and Alton, Ill. This time, Searcy gets the spotlight.
Knowing that small businesses are the lifeblood of a small town, the showrunners identify six businesses that could use a little help. They pair these businesses with subject matter experts who offer invaluable guidance to help these businesses thrive.
That’s where Wyatt comes in.
I should mention that Wyatt isn’t the only celebrity on the show. She’s joined by Ty Pennington, who is a co-host alongside marketing expert Amanda Brinkman. You’ll recognize Pennington from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the show that inspired the similarly named Bryan on Scouting series.
Q&A with Kathryn Wyatt
To learn more about the show and Wyatt’s experiences during filming, I caught up with Wyatt for the scoop.
Here are some edited excerpts from our conversation.
Bryan on Scouting: How did you get selected for this opportunity?
Kathryn Wyatt: Deluxe Corp., which creates and produces the show, is located in Minnesota. This season was the first time they included a nonprofit in the mix of businesses that receives help from the show. The nonprofit is a climbing gym, and the team from Deluxe wanted to find a local expert who knew about nonprofits and climbing. Deluxe’s public relations agency, Fast Horse Inc., recently had a teambuilding event at our Base Camp facility using our indoor climbing wall. They thought, “hey, the director of this place probably knows a lot about climbing. Let’s see if she’s available!”
What is really cool about this whole story is that Northern Star Scouting created Base Camp to serve the community and connect us to the greater community. So before filming even started, this connection was a super cool example of our vision for the property coming to life.
BOS: What was the most memorable part of the process?
KW: I’d say two things. First, meeting and working with Deluxe’s Small Business Revolution team. There’s an army of people out there actually helping and caring for the people in Searcy. The whole process reminded me of how summer camp runs — there’s a big goal, a tight timeline, and everyone knows their role and makes things happen.
And second, I learned to trust my experience and own where I am in my career. I’ve worked for the BSA professionally for 14 years, but it doesn’t always feel that long to me. Being called by others an “expert” in running and managing camping and recreation facilities was out of my comfort zone. The whole process did make me look at my experiences and knowledge from a different viewpoint and realize that I do know what I’m talking about … most of the time!
BOS: What was your goal in participating?
KW: Well, my first goal was to help this climbing gym. Zion is an important place for their community, and being a Scout, I truly hope that I offered them help that will make them more successful.
The second goal was to, hopefully, highlight how good Scouting is at climbing, team-building, and serving youth with outdoor and experiential activities. Everyone in Scouting knows this to be true. Sharing our knowledge with other people in the communities we serve can only help our brand.
BOS: What tips did you share with the climbing gym that might help councils with climbing facilities? Is there maybe a top five you can share with us?
KW: I think you’ll see on the show that Zion needed more help than just around their climbing operations. I had to dig into experiences from almost every aspect of running and planning a camp operation.
Here’s the advice:
- In order to run any facility or program, you need to have a clear vision of your purpose.
- You must set goals. How will you hold your program accountable? What are the actual tactics you’ll use to reach your goals?
- Delegate. One person is never going to have all the skills. A good leader surrounds themselves with a team that complements their own strengths. A good leader is able to recognize their shortcomings and look for help that fills those gaps.
- Procedures and standards of operation are not the most exciting part of running a facility, but they’re very important.
- Focus on smart pricing and cost structures. Very often nonprofits get caught up in being free or cheap, and because of that, they don’t cover their expenses. The reality is that running a climbing gym has a cost, and all offerings need to at least cover those costs. In order to grow, you need to value what you offer at a cost that allows growth.
How to watch
Check out Season 4 of Small Business Revolution beginning Oct. 8 on Hulu or Amazon Prime.
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