Kids are natural climbers, whether it’s trees in the backyard or the jungle gym in the park.
“Climbing is just so much fun for kids,” says Henry Wang, owner of The Edge Climbing Centre in North Vancouver. “You’re always climbing as kids—you can’t get kids to stop climbing!”
The Edge Climbing Centre offers extensive youth programming to foster what Wang refers to as ‘a child’s natural climbing inclination’. Sessions are geared to both the nervous first-timer and the adventurous young climber.
Climbers aged 6 to 8 begin their climbing journey as Geckos before graduating to Spiders when they’re 9 to 12 years old. Those with a thirst for competition can then join the three-tier competitive climbing program, where young climbers are trained to compete in local climbing competitions.
As the only centre in B.C. to have a World Cup certified route setter, The Edge Climbing Centre has a unique advantage when it comes to teaching kids how to climb.
“Having a World-Cup certified route setter means our routes are better designed to accommodate climbers of all skills and sizes,” says Wang. “It makes a big difference, particularly with the younger climbers.”
The Climbing Club and The Climbing Club Junior are programs designed for teens looking to pursue the sport at a recreational level. The Edge Climbing Centre also offers camps during spring, summer, and Christmas breaks, and hosts kids’ birthday parties.
“Our youth programming is at the forefront of the industry,” says Wang. “And we’re able to accommodate a wide range of participants—from the child who maybe didn’t do so well in team sports to the child who recently dropped out of a highly competitive one.”
Climbing provides an opportunity for kids to feel part of the team, says Wang, without the expectation from teammates to perform in a certain way.
“Some kids felt too much pressure to perform with a team because of the expectations,” says Wang. “Others might have been in really high competitive sports like dance or gymnastics and just burned out.”
Since parents don’t always know a lot about rock climbing, the kids are spared the usual parent-coaching-from-the-sidelines phenomenon that tends to accompany organized sports these days.
“That’s definitely an added bonus,” says Wang, laughing. “It doesn’t take kids long before they become the climbing expert in the family!”
To find out more about the youth programs at The Edge Climbing Centre, visit its website, or call 604-984-9080.