Climbing Builds…Kindness & Caring
Rock climbing is not only fun and great for the development of physical fitness, it also builds many positive character traits. We will be highlighting five positive traits in a blog series. We previously discussed Courage, Diligence and Responsibility. Kindness & Caring is this week’s feature. We will focus on Respect next week, so please check back.
A climbing wall is a perfect place to promote kindness and caring. The best climbing programs are ones where climbers feel supported, appreciated and treated well. This not only creates an enjoyable environment, but also one where peers and instructors feel connected and growth can be best facilitated.
Climbing activities where children work together as partners, or in small groups, are the ones where kindness and caring can most easily be promoted. In addition to modeling the desired behavior, the climbing wall instructor should make suggestions for including kind and caring behavior when setting up and describing activities. We offer the following ideas to get you started:
Add On is a fun partner activity where one partner points out the next hold for the climber to use. Kindness and caring that can be shown by the non-climbing partner include choosing appropriate hand holds to help the climber find success, offering encouraging words or advice while the climber is climbing and praising the climber upon completion of the climb. The climber can reciprocate by showing appreciation during the climb and thanking the partner at the end of the activity.
Competitive climbing activities can also allow for displays of kindness and caring. Up & Down Relay Race is a fast-paced Traverse Wall® activity with climbers divided up into small teams. Team members can encourage one another by cheering each other on during the race. They can also display good sporting conduct during and after the race in interactions with the other teams.
Another way to intentionally weave kindness and caring into the climbing program is with post- activity reflection. This can be done as a group discussion or journaling activity using prompts such as:
- Give an example of something kind or caring you did in today’s climbing activity.
- Did you see someone being kind and caring in today’s climbing activity? What did they do?
- Describe how someone supported you while you climbed.
- What is something kind or caring that you can do the next time we climb?
Intentionally promoting kindness and caring in your next climbing activity will bring with it many benefits—on and off the wall.