Courage, struggle, determination, enjoyment, accomplishment, and satisfaction are all feelings that flash across a participant’s face while each group member works through the task of scaling a 25 foot high climbing wall as part of the John E. Dooley Challenge Course program here at NOVA. Built to honor a young girl named Becca Lilly, who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor when she was 11 years old, the climbing wall has served thousands of youth during 4-H camp and through school and scout groups. After repeated and constant use, and eroded from the sun and rain, Becca’s Wall was in need of some attention!

During TALT weekend, two builders from Challenge Design Innovations, Inc., the organization we use to both repair and inspect the challenge course, went to work resurfacing the front and back face with new boards, using a “tongue-and groove” construction method designed to minimize warping and wear. The front face was outfitted with new hand and foot holds while the back face will eventually serve as a rappelling surface. Additionally, a different system for facilitator access – or the way the 4-H leader can access the top of the wall to set ropes or tighten hand and foot holds – was installed.   

To see before and after photos of the wall, please visit our Facebook page. For more information on Becca Lilly and the yearly race held in her honor, please visit

A special thanks to the generous financial support of Becca’s family during this process.