Going "Over the Edge" for the Girl Scouts of America

June 22, 2017 Janice Mock

Janice Mock rappelled 200 feet down a Tucson office building. Not bad for someone who was bedridden just months before.   


When I’m not busy in the field, my daily workspace is in one of the tallest buildings in Tucson. From the 4th floor of the 17-story 5151 E. Broadway Blvd. building, the view is stunning. It has been one of my favorite things about our office location for the nearly three years that I have worked here.

But never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to step off the top of this building and rappel the 200 feet from the top of the roof to the pavement below. Sometimes, life has a few surprises in store that we simply cannot anticipate.


Worker on a rope repelling down a buildingJanice Mock descends from the top of the 17-story office building that is home to Stantec’s Tucson, Arizona, office.


In March, the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona hosted their annual “Over the Edge” fundraising event; Stantec is a major corporate sponsor. My name was randomly selected in a draw to represent the office, and I was given the opportunity to test my courage by going “over the edge.”


From hospital bed to rooftop

About five months before being selected to go Over the Edge, I was hospitalized as the result of a nasty virus I picked up while doing some work for FEMA in southern Louisiana. The virus attacked my vestibular nerve very close to my brain stem and wreaked havoc on my nervous system. In simple terms, I was unable to stand, walk, or care for myself for months. After a lengthy hospital stay, followed by a 10-day stint in a skilled nursing facility, I returned home for more intensive physical therapy to regain my balance and learn how to walk again. I was finally able to return to work in early January.


Stantec building with a working repelling down the sideStantec’s Tucson, Arizona, office building hosted the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona’s Over the Edge fundraising event earlier this year.


Then the opportunity to go Over the Edge presented itself. Testing the extent of my recovery and limits of my nerve—both literally and figuratively—was both terrifying and thrilling.

I was reluctant to accept the offer when my name was drawn and nearly allowed fear to keep me from participating in one of the most gratifying and exhilarating experiences of my life. The Girl Scouts staff, volunteers, and crew of the Over the Edge group were extremely supportive, encouraging, and competent throughout every stage—from preparation right up to the point of stepping off the roof of the building.

I had a great deal of trepidation during the staging and brief training process. I wasn’t sure what to expect of myself when I got to the edge—17 stories up. Would I get dizzy and fall over? Would I pass out? Would I be able to step off? What other possible horrors awaited me?

Underside of a building with a worker repelling downJanice Mock, GIS Analyst/Biologist in Tucson, says the anticipation of rappelling 200 feet was significantly more challenging than the rappel itself.


Returning to my roots

The courage and sense of adventure that have been a part of my life since my own involvement with the Girl Scouts as a young woman prevailed. Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout! I stepped from behind the safety of the gate, onto the ledge, and suddenly there was no fear—only excitement. I was off.

The ride down was easy, seamless, and thrilling. Being in full control of my own descent, I could periodically stop to take in the amazing views of Tucson and the surrounding areas, wave at my coworkers who showed up to cheer me on, and soak up every single moment as it unfolded.

Stantec was a key corporate sponsor for the Over the Edge event. Our name appears in big letters on the face of the building as “edgers” rappel down. Representatives for the Girl Scouts stopped me many times during the day to thank Stantec for our sponsorship and support. Our community engagement is something that I find incredibly inspiring, and I was able to see firsthand the impact it has on the communities we support. In this case, it inspired me to also take a chance and get involved.


Side of a builidngJanice’s view as she descends from the top of the Stantec office building.


Lessons learned

This experience was an opportunity to prove to myself that while life sometimes beats us down to levels we never knew we could reach, it also has a way of correcting itself and bringing us to new heights we never dreamed possible.

For me, this height also came with a chance to proudly represent Stantec, the company that made all of it possible. Stantec stood behind me throughout my illness and then gave me the chance to rise from those ashes and experience one of the most rewarding, thrilling, and gravity-defying events of my life. I am eternally grateful to the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, my coworkers who showed up to support me, and to Stantec for backing this worthwhile cause and providing me with this adventure.

Worker starting to repel from the top of the buildingJanice’s first moments in the Over the Edge event—“Excitement,” she says.

About the Author

Janice Mock

Janice Mock is a GIS analyst with a strong background in coastal change analysis. Over the Edge was her first urban rappelling experience – but maybe not her last.

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