Updated: Nov 6, 2019
Hazel Findlay is one of the best climbers in Britain and we are extremely proud that she is an Ambassador for Urban Uprising. You can imagine our excitement when she said she could help out at one of our sessions!
Hazel joined us at The Prop Store, The Climbing Academy's newest bouldering centre in Glasgow. Each session we run is carefully structured, using trained volunteers to provide personal development coaching, together with qualified climbing instructors. For this session, coaching was provided by Urban Uprising volunteer Ainsley Martin with TCA instructor Stu AKA Cobra. It is not every day that you get the chance to work with the first British woman to climb E9 and free El Cap…!
Bang on time, ten young people from High Park Primary School made their entrance. The school is just a wee walk from The Prop Store and is well known for providing a vibrant learning environment with great alternative development opportunities for vulnerable children. This group was quite typical of those we work with. For some of the young people, climbing felt natural and they were comfortable and confident. For others, it was very challenging, both physically and mentally. Each individual has their own challenges and goals – and as you'll know from your own experiences – the most inspiring moments are not always when someone nails a hard problem, but when someone has pushed themselves out of their comfort zone and overcome a mental barrier. This might be as simple as just getting on to the wall and going up a few feet – for someone with a lack of confidence and anxiety, this is a major achievement.
Hazel got stuck in, "it was so nice to see the kids playing and having fun in a climbing setting and yet also challenging themselves and pushing their comfort zones, physically and mentally. I do a lot of coaching, but mostly with adults, so it was really refreshing to work with kids. They had so much energy and had such a good time."
This session was what we call a 'Taste' session, where our aim is to introduce a new group to climbing and then agree dates, participants and aims for the next phase – a 'Climb' block. As the name suggests, this is a structured block of weekly sessions over 8 to 10 weeks where we aim to transform a young person from novice to competent climber, focusing as much on personal development as we do on climbing.