Fundraiser to send participants ‘over the edge’ of city building

Thrill-seekers and do-gooders rejoice, an adrenaline rush-inducing fundraiser is making its way to Williamsport.

Over the Edge is a fundraising event that encourages people to raise money for certain organizations — in this case, YWCA Northcentral PA, River Valley Regional YMCA and Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation — in exchange for the opportunity to rappel from breath-taking heights.

Participants who raise $1,000 toward the YWCA, YMCA, education foundation or all three will have the opportunity to rappel down the Lycoming County Housing Authority’s William Hepburn High Rise on Oct. 27 — rain, shine or snow.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to about 4 p.m. and there will be food, music, a kids’ zone and more for spectators to enjoy.

Participants, called “edgers,” also will receive a personalized tool kit and be invited to a special reception to celebrate the funds they raised the evening before their rappel. Those who raise $1,500 also will get a professional video made of their 9-story descent.

“Rappelling is a bucket-list experience, so it’s our goal that people who work really hard to raise money have a fantastic experience and encourage their friends to do it next year,” said Anna Thompson, YWCA communications and development director.

“We have had people say they’ve always wanted to do something like this and this might be their only chance, so we want to give them this opportunity,” echoed Jessica Probst, River Valley Regional YMCA development director.

The kids’ zone will include an inflatable obstacle course, face painting and more, while Leonard’s Backyard Bistro will provide food for the whole event. Backyard Broadcasting also will be present, announcing each edger and adding a musical touch to their adventure.

The organization facilitating the rappelling has a good track record, having aided in over 1,000 of these events nationwide so far, Thompson said.

“They’ve got a spotless security record. Safety is of the utmost importance to us and to Over the Edge,” she said.

There are about 70 edgers ready to take the leap so far, Thompson said, but it’s possible for more people to get involved before the big day.

Those interested can contact any of the participating organizations, she said.

To rappel, participants must be between the weights of 100 to 300 pounds — there are no age restrictions and accommodations can be made for the visually impaired or other people with disabilities, she added.

Although the collaborators can’t say for sure that the event will return next year, let alone become annual, they are excited to see how this new style of fundraiser pans out.

“It’s something new and fresh for the community,” said Greg Hayes, education foundation executive director. “There’s lots of energy with the people who are rappelling. Having them carry that forward could get new people coming in. It’s definitely something we’d like to consider doing again in the future.”


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