Rock climbing has boomed as a sport for kids as evidenced by the amount of kids’ climbing gyms in and around Boulder and the amount of children hanging off the Flatirons any given day. The sport builds strength, balance and character and can foster in kids a healthy level of confidence and independence. Al Secunda of Boulder says his daughter Mia started climbing at age 3 and never looked back.
“I love how climbing lets her inner kid out in a positive way and challenges her to problem solve with her body,” he says. “Climbing instills confidence and empowerment in little girls – two big wins.”
Here’s where to send your kids to climbing camp or lessons this summer.
The Spot offers fun and engaging climbing summer camps (age 6 and older) in Boulder, Denver, Golden and Louisville. Their team has been working hard to create innovative camp experiences, and this summer they’re introducing six unique themes, all tailored to specific age groups, ability levels, and interests. The Spot also has after-school climbing classes for kids, competitive teams, birthday parties, and more.
“Besides being an insanely fun way to keep active, climbing has some amazing and unique benefits for kids,” says youth programs manager Logan Melton. “Climbing challenges kids’ minds and bodies to work together. When you’re climbing, you’re not only working your muscles, but also your mind. It tests your problem-solving and gives you immediate feedback. Climbing allows you to make small and achievable goals. It also forces you to move outside your comfort zone and confront your fear.” > More info at thespotgym.com/kids.
Longmont Climbing Collective
Longmont Climbing Collective is running summer climbing camps for kids from 9 a.m. to Noon on June 5 through Aug. 11 with 3-day and 5-day options available. Campers are split into the following age groups: Kinder (ages 4 to 6), Kids (ages 7 to 9) and Tween (ages 10 to 13).
“Kids love to climb!” says marketing manager Nick Coutu. “A climbing gym gives them a safe outlet where they can get their energy out while also trying to problem solve. Climbing is great because it’s both physically and mentally challenging in a fun way. Age 3 is a great age to start on the younger side, but there’s never a bad time to start climbing.” > More info at longmontclimbingcollective.com/kids/summer-camps.
Boulder Rock Club
Boulder Rock Club has great summer climbing options for kids! Single-day camps are full of fun with lots of climbing games and interaction with instructors to learn climbing technique and climbing challenges. At the 2-day and 3-day camps, expert instructors teach essential risk management skills and climbing techniques in a fun, supportive, and motivating environment. Each camp will accommodate individual needs while helping to develop teamwork and leadership skills. BRC’s camps are for ages 4 to 5, 6 to 12 and 12 to 17.
“Climbing is a social yet individual sport,” says programming manager Josh Hill. “Climbers are pushing themselves to reach their goals or accomplish more, but climbing in itself is a community and culture, much like running or cycling. That said, climbing possesses a mix of physical and mental challenge every time a participant engages. Climbers work not only to have the strength and technique to reach the top, but also to solve the sequences or step-by-step process needed to reach each individual hold on a climb.” > More info at boulderrockclub.com/programs/youth/summer-camps.
ABC Kids Climbing
ABC Kids Climbing is ready to help your kids learn to climb! Indoor camps (half or full day, 3- or 5-day) include bouldering and top-rope instruction catering to a child’s ability. Campers are grouped according to age (5 to 14) and ability. Outdoor camps are for five full days outside at areas such as Boulder Canyon, the Flatirons and Eldorado Canyon. Activities include bouldering and top-roping instruction. Climbers will learn to rappel, place traditional climbing gear, and belay (when appropriate). Ages 7 and up. > More info at abckidsboulder.com/camps.
By Darren Thornberry, Raised in the Rockies