Dozens of intrepid souls brave winds and heights to go over the edge

By: Sean K. Thompson
| Published 05/03/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX – An annual event for a worthy cause was scheduled for last Saturday, but shortly after it began high winds forced it to be postponed for 24 hours. Nonetheless, despite the gusts, approximately five dozen people geared up and literally went over the edge as they rappelled down The Woodlands Towers at The Waterway.

Go Over The Edge with Camp For All event had people rappelling down a Woodlands skyscraper

Go Over the Edge raises funds and awareness for Camp For All, a local nonprofit that transforms the world for children and adults with challenging illnesses or special needs. Partnering with more than 65 other nonprofit organizations, Camp For All delivers a barrier-free camp experience for nearly 9,000 campers each year.

The organization hosted its 2023 Over The Edge fundraiser and rappelling event at 9950 Woodloch Forest Tower, a 31-story office building – one of two Class AAA premier buildings, part of The Woodlands Towers at The Waterway – thanks to The Howard Hughes Corporation.

Originally, Saturday was the date set for the event; however, winds that gusted up to 30 miles per hours forced organizers – who kept safety forefront – to cease operations until Sunday. Twenty-four hours after the original starting point, the day dawned bright and wind-free, and the participants started rappelling from the building’s rooftop down to the spacious 11th-floor rooftop terrace, for a 20-story descent – approximately 280 feet. Friends, family and community members were on hand to cheer on participants from the terrace and greet them upon landing.

The camp is designed as a barrier-free experience, well-suited to accommodate special needs; every sidewalk is at least eight feet wide so that two wheelchairs can travel side by side. The programming is adaptive. There are no stairs. Special diets are easily taken care of.

Mary Beth Mosley, who has been Development Director for Camp for All since 2019, talked with Woodlands Online about her reasons for joining the nonprofit organization.

“I was compelled by the mission, which is to transform the world for children and adults with challenging illnesses or special needs,” she said. “We’re celebrating 30 years this year. Camp for All was founded by two doctors who looked around at their patients they were serving and said, ‘These kids need to get out of the hospital,’ and when they subsequently took them to camps, they found that the camps couldn’t accommodate them because they had wheelchairs or needed a more robust health center. So they decided to found a camp for all; they teamed up with a man who had lost a child to cancer, and the three of them in 1993 started planning the camp, which opened in 1998, where we’ve served nearly 180,000 adults and children.”

When asked about why Camp for All chose going over the edges of tall buildings rather than bake sales or 5K runs, Mosley explained, “We think about the fact that our campers face challenges all the time, and their everyday world can be kind of scary. When they come to our camp, they take a leap of faith, they try things out of their comfort zone. And now our fundraisers are doing the same thing. It costs about $1,000 a week to bring a camper to Camp for All, and most of our campers come for free.

Matt Roberson Western Midstream Security Analyst, was one of the people who signed up to rappel down the tower. “I want to prove a point to myself as well as support Camp for All. They’re the greatest organization helping kids in need. We’ve been helping them for three years now. For me, I’m ex-Army, and my son went into the Army and into Airborne school, and he challenged me. Plus, it’s a lifetime memory; every time you pass by on I-45 or Woodlands Parkway, everyone can see these towers, but not everyone can say they’ve gone off the side of the building.” he said.

Jerry Laurenti, a Recruiter for Western Midstream, took time from prepping for his adventure to talk with Woodlands Online.

“This is my first year,” he said. “I was inspired because Camp for All represents people with lives that most of us would view as scary. They’re the ones that face their fears every day, and that was my inspiration to sign up for this. I was a Marine for 23 years, but my feet were firmly planted on the ground the entire time. My beautiful wife will be waiting for me at the bottom – I’m sure she won’t breathe until I touch down – and my mom requires a phone call immediately after.”

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