*Written by SYM Life Skills Coordinator Emily*
I love rock climbing with our young people because I’m not an expert at it.
There is a power shift when we go climb together—no longer am I the one with the resources or knowledge needed, but in fact, I often ask our youth for help because many of them are more skilled climbers than I am. I can see that changing things for people; they are the ones with knowledge, and therefore, power, and in these moments together, they are able to use it to help someone else.
Today, we had a small group—just two young men and myself. We spent most of the time tackling different routes together. We tried and failed. We strategized. We tried again. We took turns. We made it one step higher and fell. We tried again. We faced something challenging and didn’t back down. We encouraged each other. We laughed. We succeeded as we conquered routes that took multiple tries. Some were too difficult for today—and that was okay. We’re coming back next week to try again.
I am confident that this simple act of rock climbing together is changing things. It might seem silly, but I see it in the smiles—the real smiles—that tell of joy and accomplishment and pride. Together, we are learning persistence. Together, we are building self-esteem. Together, we are facing fears of falling and of heights (maybe that one’s just me!). Together, we are living life and enjoying it. Together. I love rock climbing with our young people because it’s together. Together is relational and strong and powerful, and I think there’s healing in together.