Last Saturday the Y held it’s second annual Climbing Festival. Climbers and participants had the chance to win a bunch of awesome prizes ranging from t-shirts and chalk bags to Clif Bars, gift certificates, and even a sweet hang board thanks to donations from Eastern Mountain Sports, the American Alpine Club, the Access Fund, Organic Climbing, North Ridge
Mountain Guides, and Flow Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Brewer’s Ledge brought out a Boulder Board to try, and kids and adults alike
enjoyed the challenge of scaling the mini-wall’s steeply inclined routes, doing sloper pull-ups, and attempting a number of climbing specific TRX style challenges. Climbers young and old, new to the sport and seasoned experts had the chance to mingle, share stories, and try out the Y’s climbing wall, some for the very first time. At the end of the festival, we wrapped things up by watching a screening of The Old Breed, a climbing documentary film about the first ascent of Saser Kangri II. Seeing all of the climbers huddled together on our bleachers in the gym, entranced by the film, may have been one of my favorite moments of the day.
As is typical with events at the Keene Family YMCA, the festival would have been in no way possible without the help of many volunteers and staff working behind the scenes. Many members and visitors don’t realize that a large number of the belayers who run Open Climbs at the Y are actually volunteers who donate time to the Y’s climbing program because they love sharing their passion for rock climbing with others. Without these trained and experienced climbers, the Y would be unable to provide member and guest access to the climbing wall on such a regular basis. On Saturday, these volunteers came together to ensure that anyone who wanted to climb at the festival could. Additionally, a number of teenagers from the Y’s Teen Leader Corps program were on hand to help with various aspects of the day, from collecting raffle tickets to helping set up the gymnasium for the film.
People like the climbing volunteers and teens are one of the reasons I love my job here so much. The Y is so much more than just a gym or fitness center – it is a community of caring, inspiring, and beautiful people that motivate me to be a better version of myself each and every day. I feel so lucky to get to work and play here. The Climbing Festival was just one more great example of how wonderful the community of climbers and Y staff, volunteers, and members are.