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Si / Front Desk

Silas was born and raised in West Michigan far from the rock faces that would soon entice him. Trips to Kentucky and Colorado sparked his passion for climbing but it wasn't until he had access to a local gym that he was really able to see what it was all about. Three years later and he's still feeling the stoke! For him getting involved with Terra Firma has been an awesome opportunity to get more Michiganders stoked on climbing and build the community.

He is currently a full time student at Cornerstone University studying Environmental Biology and aspires to further his education in Sustainable Development. You may find him wandering in the woods staring at trees, wading in streams, or collecting dirt. Don't be alarmed; it's purely educational!

 
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Sam / Operations Manager

Native to Southeastern Michigan, Sam first started climbing in the Colorado Rockies and fell in love with the sport and the community immediately. He is a lover of campfires, backpacking, 14ers, and deep conversations. In his spare time, you may find him composing acoustic melodies, with his nose in a book, or communing with nature on a walk or in a kayak. He dreams of visiting all of North America’s National Parks, trekking to Everest Base Camp, and one day building his own guitar.

Sam is also involved in efforts to assist refugee families and individuals in their resettlement journeys and is an advocate against the injustice of human trafficking. He values community and is passionate about creating spaces for people to be authentic and to share what matters most.  To Sam, Terra Firma is that space, a community of unique people with diverse backgrounds doing what they love with people they love.

 
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Amber / Front Desk

Eric is Minnesotan-born and enjoys many outdoor activities, including: biking, running, hiking, and canoeing; but climbing has always been his favorite. Over the seven years since Eric started climbing, he has had many opportunities to boulder all around the country, experience the thrill of big wall and alpine climbing in British Columbia, and soon will be able to add the iconic Fontainebleau to his list. One of the major climbing draws for Eric is the welcoming and encouraging climbing community. 

Outside of climbing, Eric has a passion for working with marginalized people groups. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Social Work at Western Michigan University, and plans to work in a hospital as a medical social worker when he is finished. 

 
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Jill / Front Desk

Jill used to be terrified of heights and was nicknamed “Grover” because of her lack of arm strength. In her own words, she was “not quite the ideal climber. “ However, at Hope College, she and a friend decided it would be fun to climb up some tall trees with ropes and carabiners.  Jill likes the thrill of adventure, but never sought after the climbing scene until she met her husband, Ted. (You’ll see him most days here at the gym, too!) During her first outdoor climbing trip to the Red River Gorge, she bought a pair of climbing shoes, camped among the foothills of Kentucky, and ate an amazing pizza at Miguel’s. As they say, the rest is history. 

She’s been to Stone Fort in Tennessee and has done some bouldering in Yosemite. Jill and Ted are hoping to take more trips in their converted ambulance, currently named Appa. Yip! Yip (Any Avatar: The Last Airbender fans?)! When Jill is not climbing, she is traveling, running, mountain biking, hiking, cooking, painting, flower things,  pottery. Jill also loves kids. She taught first grade for five years and decided to take a pause on her career to figure out her next journey.

 
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Gess / Supervisor

while she was in college and fell in love with the sport not only because of its physical and mental demands but also because of the insanely beautiful locations it has taken her. A few of her all-time favorite locations have been Sedona, Joshua Tree, and of course the Red River Gorge. 

When Gess is not at the gym, she is likely working on finishing her Masters in Occupational Therapy at Western Michigan University. Through her unique experiences and engaging education, Gess has developed a passion towards helping people reach their potential in everyday life activities and enhance their quality of life. It’s all about the people for Gess. Whether at the gym or at the crag, she has met the most down to earth and welcoming community. Working for Terra Firma only enhances that feeling of community on a daily basis and she sees more and more people are catching the climbing bug because of it.

 
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Colton / Supervisor

Colton studies Industrial Design at KCAD here in Grand Rapids. He got involved at Terra Firma in the early summer of 2017, hanging plywood, cutting sheet metal, and painting.  Colton enjoys wood stoves, cold-water swims, well-used gear, and good books. At some point in his life, he hopes to live on a sailboat and travel the world.

To sum it all up, he believes that breakfast food is for any time of day.

 
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Eric / Supervisor

Eric is Minnesotan-born and enjoys many outdoor activities, including: biking, running, hiking, and canoeing; but climbing has always been his favorite. Over the seven years since Eric started climbing, he has had many opportunities to boulder all around the country, experience the thrill of big wall and alpine climbing in British Columbia, and soon will be able to add the iconic Fontainebleau to his list. One of the major climbing draws for Eric is the welcoming and encouraging climbing community. 

Outside of climbing, Eric has a passion for working with marginalized people groups. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Social Work at Western Michigan University, and plans to work in a hospital as a medical social worker when he is finished.