Earlier this month we had the opportunity to facilitate a small series of two rock climbing programs with a group from Perkins School for the Blind. It was a blast and really brought to light the interplay between confidence and challenge.
In addition to learning some basic rock climbing skills and equipment, we kicked the series off with a focus on the importance of “choosing to challenge yourself”. Through a few activities and a lot of rock climbing we provided the students with many opportunities to try things that were difficult/challenging for them. During our debrief that night there was a lot of talk about the important role of confidence and believing in yourself to be able to challenge yourself. So…
We brought that concept into the program. We outlined three specific strategies that they they could use while climbing to gain confidence and push through nervousness. Those strategies were: (1) taking deep breaths, (2) positive self-talk, and (3) asking a friend for support. It was so awesome to watch students practice these strategies! Whether it was one of the ones we taught or one of their own, each individual found one that worked to muster up the confidence to push through hard sections of the wall.
At the end of the program, during the debrief, we reminded them that “challenging yourself” doesn’t end in the climbing gym. There are many areas of life that are not easy and it’s important to dig deep and find the confidence to push through hard times. Now, after this rock climbing series, these teens have 3 new tools (deep breaths, positive self-talk, and asking a friend for support) to help them through life’s various challenges.
Check out pictures!