They were struck by the image of his yellow shirt during their viewing of “Rotpunkt” on YouTube. Wondering if his strength was fueled by the garment, they jokingly decided to wear one too. A conversation that started as a joke, paved the way for a community based movement called The Yellow Shirts.
Kirk Fuson, a Texas-based climber and graphic designer, is one of the brains behind The Yellow Shirts’ initiative. He describes the movement as a thing about everything, that started with the initial desire to climb as hard as professional rock climber, Alexander Megos.
“Alex Megos is strong and he wears yellow, so we are wearing yellow too,” said Fuson, adding that now the focus of the group has changed. “If you are interested in getting better and have a good attitude, let’s do this.”
The Yellow Shirts started in Fuson’s local climbing gym, Inspire Rock in Spring, Texas, where their presence has quickly made an impact. The group has grown from two people, to almost 20 community members.
The premise of the Shirts is to embrace a positive and welcoming community, becoming a great asset to a gym that welcomes beginner and professional climbers alike.
“I was excited to know that the gym owners were excited about it and made it seem like a positive vibe for everybody,” said Fuson.
Eli Louis, a high-school junior and climber, is one of the gym members who has been positively impacted by the presence of The Yellow Shirts.
“I saw Kirk do something really cool on a wall,” said Louis, adding that Fuson jokingly said that it was the yellow shirt that gave him the power. “That’s the best reason you could possibly give me,” stated Eli.
Louis forged a strong bond of camaraderie with Fuson and the other gym members after months of climbing together. Eli states that his mental health and climbing ability improved significantly after crossing paths with The Yellow Shirts.
“Having that solid foundation of just good solid guys and girls who love to climb, that like to be part of a community, it’s so great. It’s such a welcoming, safe spot when I’m having a bad day,” said Louis.
Louis emphasizes on the nature of the community, clarifying that it is not a membership based relationship, but a familial one.
“The yellow shirts is not an exclusive group, I want that to be very clear, it’s not like something you have to sign up for,” said Louis, adding that to him they are a second supportive family.
The Yellow Shirts’ name is already breaking borders, with Alexander Megos recognizing their contribution to the community.
“After seeing that they are supporting good causes and their local climbing community, I felt moved! It’s great to inspire people to go out and do good,” said Megos.
Fuson hopes that The Yellow Shirts’ attitude spreads beyond his local climbing community, and is eventually embraced by other climbing gyms around the country.