Monday, April 2, 2012

Meet... Brynne Heatley

By Aubrey Wingo

There are tons of people in the world with an extraordinary talent however there are few people in the world with multiple incredible talents and a drive to pursue all of them full force. One of these few is twenty year old UCF Student and Aiguille member, Brynne Heatley.

Brynne, a member of the UCF Rock Climbing Club, starting climbing freshman year of college. “I was drawn in by the relaxed community, the positive atmosphere, and my very attractive boyfriend!” But most of all, what got her hooked was the challenge of wanting to get better and how natural it felt to climb. Brynne grew up in the Florida panhandle in a beach town called Gulf Breeze, where her parents are not to keen on her climbing. Her mother insists that she should be wearing a helmet, and cannot imagine why anyone would want to sleep in a tent with the “creepy crawlies” and her dad is jealous of climbing trips sucking up all of her free time.

Now climbing for about 18 months, Brynne has taken her climbing abroad to locations such as the Red River Gorge, Little Rock City, Horse Pens 40, Stone Summit, and of course Aiguille Rock Climbing Center. When I asked her what her favorite type of climbing was, she simply replied, “happy climbing. If I can work something, and make new friends, I like it!” Brynne enjoys the climbing moments whereyou don’t think that you are going to make the next move, but go for it anyway, surprising yourself with a great accomplishment, or an exciting fall. Her positive energy toward climbing makes her an ideal climbing partner, bringing laughter and encouragement to any climbing situation. I mean, her dream place to climb is in her own home. “If I could wake up and boulder to my kitchen, I would be thrilled!”

Currently, as a student at UCF, Brynne is studying Character Animation and going for her BFA. She is absolutely infatuated with animated movies. “I want to work for Pixar...My main goal is to bring people together for a moment that they can share together, and I think animation is the best medium for me to achieve that.” Brynne, even though humble, is an incredible artist beyond just character animation. Working in 2D and 3D design, drawings and painting with all different mediums, and even photography, Brynne’s extensive portfolio shows a mass variety of interests and wants to eventually paint a mural somewhere at Aiguille. To top off her creative nature, she sings and plays the keyboard, even if just to vent to herself. This writer can certainly vouch for her creativity. The last time I spent time with her, she sat on the floor and proceeded to make a basket out of old magazine pages... awesome.

Out of her climbing and school and all the other incredible things she does, there is nothing more that she wants to focus on than Bike & Build. Bike & Build is a non-profit organization which organizes cross-country cycling trips to benefit the affordable housing cause in the United States. After signing up in October, Brynne plans to bike over 4000 miles from South Carolina to California “pedaling for affordable housing”, spreading awareness of this need for low income families and taking action in building for these families as well. This adventure has certainly surrounded her ever waking thought, whether it be about getting into shape, getting lost, missing her friends and family or even just the astonishing distance of travel, however the thought of the cause outweighs it all. “We are at the age of forming lasting opinions about the world and we need to explore and be expose to other people’s situations first.” Brynne’s humanitarian views are inspiring; “As much as this trip is going to have immediate benefits for families in need, I think the bigger benefit is the lasting effects it will have on our team, and all the people we come across. Hopefully the spirit of helpfulness and reaching out to people in need will catch like wildfire, and revive some faith in humanity. So many times we can get caught up in our own wants and needs that we forget to help others. I think that is what I want to instill in myself through this trip: The courage and compassion to help others and put them before myself.” Bike & Build can easily be related to climbing. Brynne believes that climbing is a simple way of helping others, needing a spotter or someone trusting at times and it feels good to help and be helped. “Perhaps the whole laid back, loving, encouraging, positive atmosphere of climbing is what truly inspired me to take is further into Bike & Build.”

Although physical journey that she will be embarking on has not yet begun, Brynne is working every day to raise $4500 in order to partake. Fortunately, she has already raised enough money for her bike (lovingly named Katniss from the Hunger Games) but still needs our help raising approximately $1500. See the link below for more detail on how you can help Brynne reach her goal to help others!

A climber, an artist, a humanitarian, an amazing person over all: One could not ask to meet a more amazing person. “I love people! We’re all in this together so why not learn and share as we go?” If you see Brynne around the gym, say hello and thank her for everything that she does. You will leave with a smile on your face knowing that you have met one of the most incredible people that has ever tied in at Aiguille.

For more information on the Bike & Build and how to donate to Brynne, please visit
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  1. For real! Brynn is one of the nicest people I've ever met! I thought she couldn't get any awesome-er.