Monday, 14 September 2009

2009 Youth Development Events - Thank you MCofS

This year saw 4 very successful youth climbing development events take place at EICA Ratho. These events were designed to support and motivate young Scottish climbers of all ages and abilities. As well as promoting participation pathways into the sport at all levels. These events could not have taken place without the support of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS), who provided funding to assist with the organisational and operational costs of running these events. They also assisted with the expenses cost of volunteers assisting on these days.

This continued commitment from the MCofS to supporting Youth Climbing within Scotland is very much appreciated by all of the kids, parents and volunteers, who benefit. As a coach, instructor and volunteer, who gains a lot from being involved in such initiatives, I believe that the level of enthusiasm and standard of climbing on display from young climbers in our country is truly inspiring. The MCofS is largely responsible for helping these young climbers through providing a network of support (i.e. coaching, competition, outdoor/indoor instruction and information).

2009 Mountaineering Council of Scotland Youth Development Event Details

Event 1 – Young Climbers Introduction to On-sighting (26.04.09)

Aims of Event
- To offer coaching and assistance to young climbers, who want to develop their route reading and on-sight climbing skills.
- To create more awareness of the sport & generate interest in what can be achieved in climbing.
- To show current pathways in place to assist young people in becoming more active within climbing

This day was a huge success with 3 separate work shops taking place aimed at supporting climbers from entry climber level, through to national competition climber.

The day started with a 4 hour mock competition for Scottish Based British Team members and young Scottish climbers on the MCofS Scottish Climbing Team. These talented climbers spent time practising the skills required for route mapping and putting this knowledge into practise on the wall. As a coach, it was truly humbling to watch the standard of young climber Scotland has to offer at the moment.

The afternoon activities were split into two separate sessions with British/Scottish Team members staying back to provide coached sessions on route reading to Youth Climbing Series climbers and Quick-draw volunteers offering introduction to climbing sessions to beginners.

Every climber to attend the event was given information about ways in which they can access outdoor climbing sessions, through initiatives like ‘MCofS Real Rock’ and
‘Adventure Edinburgh’.

Event 2 – Young Climber’s Introduction Demonstrations & Flash Based Climbing in Competitions (14.06.09)

Aims of Event
- To help prepare young Scottish climbers for this years 2009 Youth Climbing Series finals.
- To create more awareness in the activity and generate interest in what can be achieved within the sport.
- To show current pathways in place to assist young people in becoming more active within climbing.

This was a great day for every one who attended. Again the days activities were split into three workshops catering for complete beginners, Youth Climbing Series Climbers and National Competition level climbers!

The day started with a Mock Youth Climbing Series(YCS) competition for all of the young Scottish climbers representing their region at this years’ final. This event was also attended by various other YCS competitors from throughout Britain that wanted to test their skills against the Scottish youth! British Junior team members were on hand to offer tips and advice on competing to all of the youngsters.

The afternoon consisted of two sessions; with British & Scottish junior team members taking part in a workshop looking at gaining helpful information from watching route demonstrations. Top British competition climber- Alan Cassidy was on hand to demonstrate the routes and also offer tips on watching and learning from demos.

The mobile climbing Tower was also on hand throughout the afternoon to offer complete beginners the chance to try climbing. These future young climbers were also given the opportunity to observe the top level competition climbers in action and draw inspiration from what can be achieved in the sport!

Again every climber to attend the event was given information about ways in which they can access outdoor climbing sessions, through initiatives like ‘MCofS Real Rock’ and ‘Adventure Edinburgh’.

Event 3 – Introduction to Climbing – Summer School (04.07.09)

Aims of event
- To offer a full day of free climbing activities, aimed at introducing young people to the joys of climbing.
- To increase awareness of pathways into the sport through indoor climbing centres, Adventure Edinburgh and MCofS.

This event consisted of 3 climbing based workshops aimed at introducing novice climbers to bouldering, top roping and abseiling. These sessions were ran by EICA instructors and MCofS volunteers. Resident British Team Member Ross Kirkland was also on hand to offer encouragement and top tips to the kids throughout. The 30 youngsters that attended the event were also given the opportunity to attend a lecture & video by Pamela Miller on ‘Life beyond the Climbing Wall’.

Every new climber also received a goodie bag stuffed full of free gifts and information on climbing walls throughout Scotland, coaching programs at Glasgow climbing Centre, EICA: Ratho, Alien Rock, Extreme Dream, Avertical World and Inverness Climbing Centre, as well as initiatives such as Adventure Edinburgh and MCofS Real Rock sessions.

Event 4 –European Youth Series (EYS) Preparation Event (06.09.09)

Aims of event
- To prepare British competitors for the Edinburgh EYC. This takes place on 19th 20th September 2009.
- To create more awareness of competition sport climbing and generate interest in what can be achieved in the activity at international level.

This event was attended by all 34 British Team members representing the United Kingdom in this year Edinburgh Leg of the European Youth Series. MCofS and British Team coaches were on hand to run workshops on warming up within competition, dealing with isolation, watching demonstrations, route mapping and preparing your self mentally & physically. The event also consisted of a mock run through of an EYS, providing the competitors with valuable competition experience and time on the new competition wall at EICA:Ratho. Hopefully this day has played a part in helping our country’s young climbing super stars for their big day.

Running in conjunction with this event were reduced cost mobile tower slots and introduction to climbing sessions, ran by MCofS volunteers. New climbers were also provided with information packs and encouraged to watch the top British climbers in action throughout the day.

All of these events have been great fun for the 100’s of young climbers and numerous volunteers involved! Hopefully some valuable tips, advice and motivation has been passed on along the way too! Again a massive thanks has to be made to the Mountaineering Council of Scotland for making these events possible!

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