Climbing enthusiast Shane Collins found out that W.L. Seaton Secondary School has a hidden gem, an indoor rock climbing wall.
With the help of other climbers in the community and the school, he started volunteering three days a week after school, to teach students to rock climb.
“We’ve dug out all these rock climbing holds and made it what it is now because it was just bare bones, nothing really going on, sitting here collecting dust,” he said.
Starting out small four months ago with about six students ranging from Grade 8 to 12, the W.L. Seaton Climbing Club is gathering steam and now has 20 to 25 students participating on any given day.
“We have been able to teach them harness and rope skills, movement and technique,” said Collins.
Students take turns on each route spotting each other, shouting encouragement, and offering advice on a good hand or foot hold.
“I am really happy that this is here, it is a good after school activity,” said Grade 11 student Aidan Oliphant.
The group of adult volunteers keep an eye on things to make sure everyone is being safe and start planning out the next new route.
“We are currently trying to get a non-profit climbing association off the ground so what we are doing is letting people know that this is here and we want to expand this whole gym,” said Collins.
He has visited Stelly’s Secondary School in Victoria who created the Boulders Climbing Gym and raised over $5 million to get the world-class facility up and running.
“People come from all over the world and they hosted the 2013 World Bouldering Championships there. The director is a new friend of ours and she has been amazing at trying to help us through all the red tape,” said Collins.
The club has received help from local store True Outdoors which donated all the climbing shoes for the students to use.
Grade 11 student Sam Eddy is new to the sport, “I love the challenge of it, it gets you hooked.”