CALAIS, Maine – Kids love to climb so how about letting them use some of that bundled up energy they have stored up this winter in the second annual Washington County Community College’s Climbing for Kids program.
Chris Woodside, WCCC’s Outdoor Adventure Center coordinator, said the eight-week Climbing for Kids program will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the college.
The program is for youngsters in kindergarten through fourth grade. “It’s a one-hour class and they get to learn the techniques of climbing,” he said. “New this year, we have added a free climb for kids following the program until 8 p.m.; so those in the class can keep climbing if they want.”
Last year more than 25 youngsters from all over Washington and Charlotte counties participated. The addition of the Canadian kids gave the eight-week program an international flair.
Woodside said the class is open to beginners and those who are more experienced. “The kids that have done it in the past are welcome. As they move up in training, we are going to do more advanced things with them. We have enough staff on hand to individualize the experience for everyone who is there,” he said.
Experienced students who are part of the college’s Adventure Recreation and Tourism program and experienced climbers will be on hand to oversee the nightly fun.
“The youngsters learn everything [including] how to put on the harness and how to tie the knots and tie themselves in. They also learn the different climbing moves and the art of climbing,” he said. “Kids have a short attention span so we see that they get lots of time to climb.”
Although youngsters get to have some indoor fun this winter, Woodside said he hopes it will lead to an interest in climbing in the future for all of the kids who participate.
“The hope is that they get the itch to want to climb and continue the sport once they get older,” he added.
There are two stages of climbing at the college: a 12-foot-high bouldering section for free climbing and a 26-foot-high rock climbing wall. The youngsters get to experience both during the eight-week course.
Parents are invited to come and watch their children have fun.
The cost for the program is $40, and the free climb after is free for all enrolled in the course. Youngsters under 18 years of age who are not enrolled in the course are invited to come to the open climb from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The cost is $5 per visit.
For more information, go to the Outdoor Adventure Center’s Facebook page at: Facebook.com/WCCCOAC or the college’s web site at www.wccc.me.edu.