Summit Team

Our Program

Have you dreamed of climbing a mountain? The Memphis Rox Summit Program was started to make that a reality. In this three-year mountaineering program, youth climb progressively challenging mountain peaks every year over a three-year period while learning technical skills and venturing out on one-of-a-kind outdoor experiences.

With the support and fiscal sponsorship of Memphis Rox Mentors Tom Lawrence and Ellie Bennet, the summit program provides travel arrangements for six youth from the Greater Memphis area to train and travel each year. Memphis Rox Coaching Staff joins every trip alongside a certified mountain guide to train and chaperone youth.

Program Requirements
  • Participants must be between the ages of 14-18 when applying (Applicants may apply at the age of 18 and finish the program when they are 21 years old)
  • Team recruitment is open once every three years. A total of ten youth team members, six active members and four backup team members will be selected to participate, as well. Any backup team member who does not attend the yearly trip but still completes the six month training regiment will automatically qualify for the next year’s trip. (Backup team members are meant to substitute in the event of an injury, if another team member decides to drop the program or does not complete the required six month training regiment.) Attendance, participation and physical fitness will be the deciding factors of which six team members qualify for the annual trip.
  • Team training begins in January of each year and continues for a minimum of six  months until leaving for the annual summit trip. (timeframe will be dependent on the scheduled date of the annual summit trip, though July is the target month for summiting) Training is the key to success and therefore will be a major factor in the decision process of determining which team members are qualified for each year’s mountain.
  • Each year, team members will travel to one of the three mountain destinations (destinations may change due to guide availability and weather patterns). Every year, the difficulty of the trip increases as participants evolve through the summit program. Some trips may require a passport for international travel.

Meet the 2020 - 2023 Summit Team

Armani Brown

Winston Wilford

Jamari Phanor

Samuel Shiberou

Ian Kilpatrick

Program Funders

Over the last twenty years, Tom Lawrence has traveled the globe summiting peaks that include Rainier, Cotopaxi and Denali. With a drive to explore new heights, he and his partner Ellie have also taken on a handful of 14’ers along with Mt. Kilimanjaro. It’s through a kindred passion that they founded the Memphis Rox Summit Team in 2020.

“What I love about Memphis Rox is that it brings people together who probably would have never been together before,” Tom says. 

While the summit team allows Tom and Ellie to share their love for mountaineering, it allows them to introduce youth to new experiences and mentorship. 

Most significantly, the summit team allows Tom and Ellie to mentor youth while introducing them to mountaineering. 

“We thought about what we could possible contribute to these kids lives,” Ellie says. “We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to give these kids an opportunity to explore the outdoors.”