What Rock Climbing Has Done For Me

In the past year, I’ve really gotten into rock climbing. I go to a climbing gym at least twice a month, even when I’m at home. When I worked at a summer camp, I taught Ropes Course and Climbing, and I learned a lot about not only climbing and experiential learning, but also myself.

Ropes Course focuses at my camp are heavily based in the values of experiential learning, which means that we teach the girls in the focuses about goal setting and outdoor based learning, and we treat our Ropes Course as much more than an elevated playground. At the beginning of the week, we play team building games altogether to get to know each other and feel more comfortable around each other. We then take to the higher courses, all while trying to work toward personal and group goals set for us earlier in the week. The practice of helping the campers set and work toward these goals is called facilitation.

Throughout my forty hour facilitation training, I learned a lot about how to lead a group, make them more comfortable and vulnerable with each other, and create lasting bonds between them all through the activities I lead them through and the way I speak to them. It is an eye-opening training and truly helped me in the ways I communicate with people on a daily basis. 

After spending the whole summer climbing and facilitating, I decided to bring it to the campus at Manhattan College. I founded a club that now has six members, which is a solid number for just completing our first semester as a dry-run. But more importantly, all six of our members are friends, and we can all joke around and have fun, and we’ve been able to do this since the first time we went climbing all together. 

Part of the climbing club curriculum is setting goals that we not only try to accomplish when we are in the gym, but when we are getting ready for it. For me, whether I’m in the gym with my club or not, I am constantly working toward a new goal and pushing myself to new limits. 

Climbing is hard. Very difficult, honestly. And some days are really hard. If you’re having a hard day mentally, it can take away from your physical performance overall. But even if I have a bad day in the gym, I know that as I’m walking out, I tried my best, worked to make myself stronger, and there is always tomorrow to try again. 

Climbing, although it is really difficult, has taught me that there is always room to grow. You are always able to try something new, push yourself harder, and try again tomorrow.