Being Innovative: Who Needs a Ladder?



By Tim (Social Content Guy)

In my small mountain town there are not a lot of family friendly events. This is especially true for families with small children and a tight budget. Last year a few of my friends decided to get creative and do something about this. They came up with an excellent idea– free movie nights! I was excited for our town to experience something like this and happily signed up to volunteer with setting up and tearing down. A few essentials were purchased and we set a date for the first movie. The location is a nice green lawn with a pavilion next to the library. The background is the main part of town with Pikes Peak rising behind it. Beautiful!

A big part of the set up is assembling a big projection screen and then securing it to the rafters of the pavilion so we can project the movie for all to see. The first time we were getting it set up we carried out a cumbersome ladder to get the ropes up high enough in the pavilion rafters.

On one evening when we were getting the projector screen set up the cumbersome ladder was missing. Rather than giving up or sending someone home to retrieve a ladder I just took the initiative and climbed into the rafters. Part of this was inspired by Dave who likes to ask “How can we do this?” rather than “Can we do this?” Had we settled at asking “Can we do this?” the solution might have been much different. It would have taken more time too.

For the rest of the movies I simply climb up into the rafters so my friends can throw the ropes up to me. It’s simple, efficient, and fun. I also have a new nickname now. My friends call me the ‘Rafter Monkey.’ You can see why…


Working at Saddleback has really inspired me to be creative and innovative. Sure a ladder is a useful tool but it also requires time and energy to bring it out. That’s if it is even left in the right place and available. My hands and feet on the other hand are, thankfully, always with me. Being innovative also tends to lead to more interesting experiences as well as more fun. My five year old looks up in awe when I climbing into the rafters and catch the ropes being tossed up to me. At the last movie of this summer he asked me, “Do you use a ladder to climb up there?” I told him that I didn’t. He replied, “Then what did you use?!” I said, “My hands and my feet.”

Next time you are approaching a project, volunteering locally, or just plugging away at work remember to be innovative. You never know where you might end up, what you might invent, or what fun new nickname you might get?

We are done for this season of movies and I cannot wait until next year. I made a little video from the rafters at the last movie and I hope you enjoy it. Check it out here! You can see me the Rafter Monkey in action in the picture below.