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The City Journals

Momentum Climbing gets kids climbing and keeps them moving up

Jul 25, 2017 04:19PM ● By Billy Swartzfager

A participant in one of Momentum’s many youth programs comes down from the wall with exuberance. (Momentum Indoor Climbing Gym)

By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
Rock climbing is a rapidly growing sport. As it grows in popularity due to awareness and accessibility — it will be an Olympic sport in 2020 — many people have also become interested in exposing their children to ropes, chalk and carabiners. Momentum Indoor Climbing Gym caters to that interest, and has led the way in creating curriculum for youth as young as three who want to tackle boulders and rock walls.
Since 2007, Momentum has offered climbing instruction and activities for youth ages 3–19. There are three separate youth groups at Momentum based on the age of the climbers. Kids ages 3–7 who are learning to climb belong in the Mo-Minis group, where they learn the basics of climbing, including vocabulary and safety. The next step for young climbers is Base Camp, a group for ages 7–11. And last is Youth Club, the most advanced group for pre-teens and teenagers from age 12 to 19.
Within these groups, youth learn all sorts of valuable climbing skills as well as things that go much further than the gym. Participants learn valuable healthy habits for life through climbing. According to Nicole Brandt, youth program coordinator for Momentum, kids are able to learn how to focus, solve problems and the ins and outs of success and failure.
“With climbing, kids are able to learn from failure for future success,” Brandt said.
While climbing is most certainly an individual sport, it also creates a sense of community. Climbers are not only able to thrive on their own, at their own level, they are also able to gain support from their peers and coaches. It is the perfect avenue for youth to learn trust and communication skills.  
“We have over 600 kids in our recreational program and have a community to go to,” Brandt said.
A lot of youth in the programs have someone in their lives who is accustomed to the sport, exposing them to the sport while familiar with the ropes and heights and perceived danger. But, as climbing gains traction and becomes something any kid can pick up on, there may be kids wanting to join the surge who have parents that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the idea of rock climbing. Momentum does a great job at addressing those notions while allowing kids and parents to come in at their own pace. Momentum offers a variety of programs to get kids in the door, like their Parent’s Night Out! program or their weekly Climbing Camp.
“We are creating a space with coaches who have professional trainings,” Brandt said. “Parents should come in and watch to see whether climbing is something their child would love. Oftentimes all it takes is seeing the smiles on their faces and the coaches directing kids in the right way to melt any apprehension.”
With climbing on the rise and youth taking to the sport more rapidly than ever, Momentum is leading the way in innovative programming and curriculum to teach kids climbing at all levels as well as show them how to utilize those skills in all aspects of their lives.