By Guest Blogger Ben Burgess, Manager/Owner of Rock Box Bouldering
What makes kids move? And not just move, but really move, and have fun while doing it? If you aren’t sure of your answer to that question (and I wasn’t sure of it myself for a long time), read on.
My whole life I have been a screen fanatic. At the tender age of 2 I held the first Nintendo controller in my hands, co-opting my father’s anniversary present and setting the stage for my early years to be dominated by screen-based play. TV and the rising ubiquity of 24/7 cartoons didn’t help. To be sure- I had friends, and sometimes we would even play outside! But by and large, my preferred place to play was in the basement, in front of the TV.
Sports never held much sway over me. I didn’t really like working as a team with other kids, and solo sports like track and field seemed too monotonous. I spent increasing amounts of time indoors, in front of screens.
I had started to put on (a lot) of weight, but was saved from obesity by a multi-year infatuation with Dance Dance Revolution, a game famous for being a good workout but also making you look like a twit. I eventually dropped it as my life in school became too busy. In my whole life, I had never found a sport that spoke to me. Something that was engaging, challenging, always novel, always there, and most importantly, fun. I had never found a way to play that made me move.
Enter rock climbing.
This fantastic sport combines strength, dexterity, stamina, problem-solving, and best of all- play. It is often said the best rock climber is the one who is having the most fun. I couldn’t agree more. Rock climbing is at heart a recreational activity. Adrenaline junkies never stay long, nor do tough guys who want to show off. The people who love climbing and do it for years-it’s because they have found their lifelong jungle gyms.
When I pull onto the wall, I am a kid again. When I move from climbing hold to climbing hold, it gives me an inner pleasure I hadn’t felt since pulling the deft maneuvers of playground tag (except without tag-backs). Climbing is like a video game you play with your body. I am eternally grateful to my fiance for introducing me to the sport, and my only regret is not finding it earlier.
Introducing more people to climbing is the reason why I opened Rock Box Bouldering. I want more people to play. Too many kids today don’t know what it feels like to accomplish something meaningful with their bodies. Sports are always treated as something kids have to do to be healthy, rarely as something to do because they are fun. And even when the sport is fun, there is an atmosphere of competition and social pressure that oftentimes saps the fun out of it. Climbing is different- climbing is always fun, always engaging, teaches how to move your body in natural ways, and is something a kid can pursue long past childhood.
So what makes kids move? Fun. And not just any fun, but fun that uses their body, mind, and spirit. I’m not saying rock climbing is the only way to get that, but it’s a good one. Every week, we have parents bring children in who have never tried climbing before. And every week, we have children who leave happy, tired, and thinking about the next time they’ll be back.
If rock climbing sounds like something you or your child may be interested in, we are open 7 days a week, with discount rates for minors and even better discounts for young children.
If you like the idea of your kid having tons of fun, learning new skills, and feeling accomplished, we are also running Summer camps this June/July. Camps are weekly, run Mon-Thurs 9:30 AM-3:30 PM, and include plenty of activities both on and off the wall. For more details and online booking, visit our website.
See you on the wall!
*Sponsored by Rock Box Bouldering