Day One: Climbing with the « Rockland Ranger », alias the Climbing School.
The climbing school is a really cool idea of visiting climbers: a few years ago they started to bring the local kids to the boulders, and teach them how to climb. Over the years the idea has developed and been continued but Chris, a French/English climber, and now by JP and Desirée, who live in Rockland. It is not just a climbing school actually, it brings climbing to kids whose parents are the workers of the farm: a very difficult background most of the time, and very limited access to education, very few prospects for the future.
The school nearly closed last year, when Chris left, but seeing the kids so sad, JP, who wasn’t even a climber, decided to maintain the school.
So what is so special with that school? It’s not really just about the climbing: it gives the kids a moment that is dedicated to them, where they can become part of a group, and improve, achieve. Desirée is actually making a study of the impact of climbing on the kids, and so far the results are beyond expectations: the kids work better at school, they improve their English, their social skills, and they start to have dreams: dreams of becoming a fire fighter, a para medic, a climbing guide in Rockland…
S.P.O.T. decided to give a hand to such a great effort, with a bit of equipment, thanks to the help of our sponsors. And James and I spent a morning climbing with the kids, teaching them heel hooks, crimping methods… And I can tell you, this kids are amazing: interesting, smiley, happy kids!!!