1. to go up or ascend, especially by using your hands and feet
2. to reach new heights, to conquer your fears
3. to develop trust in others, to let go
Campers come to Forest Lake for many reasons: for friendships of familiar faces, the opportunity to experience something new, to gain independence, to meet new people, to experience living in a beautiful place, and for activities they might not have the chance to do back home.
Activities are a big part of our day at camp and through our daily activities campers can feel challenged, supported and inspired. Climbing is one activity offered daily at FLC, for all age groups.
Climbing is a sport that requires courage, trust and technique. Many first-time campers approach the climbing wall with trepidation and apprehension but leave with new found confidence and excitement for what they have accomplished. Climbing is a mano-a-mano sport, it is you against your fear. Those that overcome their fear experience the exhilaration that comes from reaching the top of the wall and ringing the ‘victory bell’. Climbing also requires trust, trust that your partner will hold you on belay if you fall from the wall. For some it is easier than others to let go and put their trust into someone else’s hands. For our climbing instructors it is very gratifying and inspiring to witness the process our campers go through to develop that trust and find the confidence to scale the climbing wall. The sound of the ‘victory’ bell at the top of the wall is sweet and motivating and drives campers to return day after day to the wall to challenge themselves on new routes. Below are some quotes from campers and counselors about their experience with climbing at FLC:
“Teaching climbing is always a blast. Part of the fun was challenging campers to literally achieve new heights. Even when campers were scared, we made the activity so much fun that they were excited to try it out. One time I was belaying Indiana, and from about half way up the wall she stopped. Indiana told me that she was too tired to continue and that she didn’t think she could make it to the top. I told her that she had to give it one more try. After still not making it to the top, I made a bargain with her. If Indiana climbed to the top of the wall, I would dedicate a song to her at campfire. Low and behold, she scaled right up that wall! This is one way that I like to make climbing fun while keeping it safe.” – Anna Watts (2015 Counselor)
When I was a camper, climbing always seemed to be the first activity to close during sign-ups; everyone always wanted to go down to the wall (myself included). It was easily in my top three activities, and still is. I am now an instructor at the climbing wall and love being down there as often as I can. I think it’s so encouraging to see the campers who may not excel in traditional sports soar to new heights at climbing. Campers are challenged physically and mentally at the climbing wall, testing their limits, trying new things, and perhaps pushing their fear of heights, all in a super fun environment! I see campers push themselves with the encouragement of their peers and staff members, and I see them succeed.
For me, it is super exciting to see a camper progress throughout the summer, beginning on one of our easier routes and moving on to accomplish Ninja’s Way – the most challenging route that we have. Their smiles from ear to ear clearly reveal pride in themselves when those campers get to write their name on the sign below Ninja’s Way. A fun challenge we like to give some of our better climbers is to try and climb an easy route with only one hand. While many can’t complete this challenge, everyone is laughing and smiling along the way.
“This is one of the reasons why I love being at the climbing wall most: climbing is fun, challenging, and rewarding. I am really looking forward to working with all of the campers again this coming summer, hopefully with some new challenges in store! ” –Emily Fagan (2015 Counselor)
“I like the wall at Forest Lake Camp because it gives the kids at camp a chance to try new things. I don’t get a chance to climb at home so I do love to do it at camp. We have good equipment and great belayers. It’s a good way for kids to experiment and try new things plus it is challenging for everyone. If you’re young and just getting started, Speedway or Dragon’s Back are the ones that would suit you best. If you have been climbing before but still are learning, Yellow Brick Road would be for you. If you’ve been climbing many times previously you should try Holy Hang. If you really want to challenge yourself, try Ninja’s Way. If you have never climbed before, FLC provides a great opportunity to be a good climber and to learn new things.”– Annecy Blanck (Junior Camper)