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Shannon Bryan editor Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.   Since she arrived in Maine from the Midwest seven years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.

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Things to do This week

Posted: March 28, 2014

CONTEST: Win the chance to rappel down One City Center: Rappel for Rippleffect this May

Written by: Shannon Bryan - editor -

It takes gumption to rappel down the side of a city building. During Rappel for Rippleffect, locals will have a chance to rappel down One City Center in Portland and raise funds for Rippleffect. Over the Edge photo

Win a ticket to Rappel for Rippleffect! is giving away a ticket to Rappel for Rippleffect. That’s right: Free (… but because this is for charity it would be super awesome if the winner did try to raise some money for the cause, but it’s not required). Just comment below and tell us about why you — above all others (literally) — need an adventure. Check out the contest rules here. We will pick a winner on Friday, April 25.

Tell us: Why do you need an adventure? Comment below!


That’s who you would expect to see clutching the side of a tall city building in the middle of the afternoon.

It could also be a member of the local SWAT team, or an enterprising (and hopefully well-paid) window washer, or maybe that French gentleman who keeps getting arrested for illegally climbing skyscrapers in big cities around the world.

But you wouldn’t expect to look 10 stories up and see, say, your mother-in-law.

Then again, if she’s an adventurous woman – the sort who’ll jump at the chance to rappel down the side of a building for a good cause, some bragging rights and one heck of a story – well, it certainly could be her.

This spring, nearly 90 area adventurers will have such a rare rappelling opportunity. (See below for your chance to win a ticket to rappel!)

The Rappel for Rippleffect event on May 17 is a chance for intrepid locals to rappel down the side of One City Center, a 13-story office building in downtown Portland. The event is a fundraising effort for Rippleffect, a local nonprofit dedicated to youth and community development through experiential education and outdoor adventure (Read: Learning while doing. Outside).

Where it will all take place: One City Center. The rappel will go down the west side of the building (the left side of the building in the above photo). The street below will be closed to traffic (phew!) and there will be plenty of activity going on in the vicinity on rappel day. Wikipedia Commons photo

Rippleffect runs programs like winter mountaineering with teens and multi-sport expeditions to programs for youth and adults out on Cow Island in Casco Bay (Rippleffect owns the island). And always, there’s a focus on first-hand experiences that often require a bit of daring. It only makes sense that Rippleffect would invite folks from the community to take part in a first-hand adventure of their own.

“I think (Rappeling for Rippleffect) is a great event, and it resonates with the mission of the organization. We’re asking youth and adults to step outside their comfort zone and take a bit of a risk and grow as individuals,” said Adam Shepherd, Rippleffect’s director of marketing. “We say this as an opportunity to fundraise for the organization, but also an opportunity to share with people who we are and what we’re doing.”

Rappellers will certainly need to muster their courage to go over the edge of One City Center, and they also need to raise $1,000 in pledges for Rippleffect. To help rappellers raise funds, Shepherd said he’s sending registered participants regular emails filled with fundraising tips. And the combination of a great local cause and a chance to send someone rappelling down the side of a building will surely be selling points.

It’s all down-building from here! This photo is from a similar rappel in another city, and these events are put on by a company called Over the Edge. Over the Edge photo

Of course, the act of climbing over the edge of a 13-story building is a daunting one. But Shepherd said this event is accessible to just about anyone who’s open to the audacious idea. If you’re 25, 45, or 65, an experienced climber or someone who’s always kept his feet on the ground, you can do this. If you want to.

“If you want to do it, you can be accommodated,” said Shepherd. All participants will have the support they need to go over.

“The rope volunteers, they’re people who are well-skilled in working with people in these kind of situations,” said Shepherd. “They know how to coach through.”

Those last-minute jitters are inevitable, and fear will certainly make an appearance. The question is whether you’ll let those things turn you around. A slew of support from organizers and volunteers (and safety measures!) will be there the day of the event to help ensure your courageous feat is a success. And should you choose to tackle this rappel while dressed as Spider-Man, all the better.

Registration is open now (register at, and while there are 86 official spots, they’re filling up quickly. Prospective descenders should sign up straightaway.

And for those who – despite the cause – still prefer to adventure on ground level, you can still support Rippleffect by donating to a registered rappeller. See the full list of rappellers at

Want to win a chance to rappel for free? Tell us: Why do you need an adventure? Comment below!

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