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I have two daughters with very different interests. Our oldest is eight years old and in addition to being very committed to helping and working with marine animals, she is on a competitive rock climbing team. She is smart, articulate, and physically strong among so many other characterizations I can share. As her mom, I might be a bit biased, but starring in last week’s season 7 premeir of ABC’s Sea Rescue and placing second in a rock climbing competition with much older competitors on the same day has me feeling so unbelievably proud. We often get asked how she got interested in rock climbing as my husband and I are not climbers. Beyond recreational visits in our college years we actually have no experience whatsoever with rock climbing. Youth competitive rock climbing has definitely been learning outside our comfort zone but something we are so committed to because our daughter enjoys the sport and is thriving. Our busy routine on competition days includes packing plenty of snacks like POST Shredded Wheat Frosted Cinnamon Roll from Walmart.
Each climbing competition is different and sometimes includes only either bouldering or ropes. Bouldering is climbing without a harness or ropes. On-sight competitions require the competitors to sit in a holding area prior to their climb time as they are not permitted to see the walls before the competition. Redpoint competitions include walls and routes the competitors have had access to practice on previously. We have learned an abundance of terms over the last couple of years. Our eight year old daughter knows far more than I do because of her commitment to the sport.
In addition to all the terms, it’s very important that we know about the different equipment and what to expect on competition days. Our daughter’s rock climbing bag is always ready for her to pick up and go because she has two days of practice immediately after school until well after dinner time. She also is required to complete multiple personal climbing days each week. Her bag is packed with her harness, shoes, clothes, hair ties, chalk bag and snack. Other items she adds daily include her water bottle.
Last weekend we drove out of town to an On-sight bouldering competition. While shopping at Walmart I picked up a box of Shredded Wheat Frosted Cinnamon Roll for the car ride and to pack in my daughter’s climbing bag. I enjoy the cereal with milk for breakfast but our daughters like to eat it dry. Shredded Wheat Frosted S’mores Bites and Shredded Wheat Frosted Mixed Berry are favorites in our home too.
My daughter was Born to Shred and I have enjoyed every opportunity she has provided us to learn outside our comfort zone.
A Parents Guide to Learning Outside Your Comfort Zone
Before our daughter attended a summer rock climbing camp we were completely new to the youth sport. Since being invited to participate on the competitive team as the youngest team member, we have attended every practice and competition as well as talked to her regularly about how she is feeling about her progress.
Learn the Vocabulary
We had a lot to learn to catch up with the team lingo and sport vocabulary. We’re still learning but feel so much more confident with the terms we do know.
Engage with Other Parents
Other parents have been extremely supportive and helpful. Get friendly with the parents of your child’s teammates. The supportive group has been very welcoming and hearing how they’ve overcome challenges has been so much better than trying to figure it out on our own.
The competition last weekend was On-sight so we had to drop off our daughter to the isolation area an hour before her climbing time.
Each competitor was given just under an hour to climb. They had four minutes at each of the six routes and were able to try numerous times until their time was up. Between climbs competitors must sit with their back against the wall and shouldn’t be engaging with the audience. My daughter always looks so focused during this time.
The difficulty of each climb increased and my daughter was very persistent as she moved through each of the numbers.
Her perseverance makes me feel so proud. My husband played tennis his entire childhood and was on scholarship to play in college. I grew up playing softball. We were both athletic and competitive but agree our daughter is easily outshining us both at this age.
By the final climb of the competition there was a sense of relief when the buzzer rang. Our daughter did an outstanding job and we learned later that evening she had placed second in her age group. Keeping in mind that she is competing against children three years older than her and in this sport, reach matters. She is a tall 8 year old but paired next to 11, she certainly is at a disadvantage.
After our daughter finished climbing she watched other competitors to see what they were doing differently. She’s always trying to be better.
She also met with her coach for constructive feedback.
Youth competitive rock climbing is a new sport to our family but something my daughter is excelling at. She’s been consistently placing at competitions with older children and her confidence is soaring. She is so excited for the future and I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow in this sport. Learning outside our comfort zone has helped fuel us to support our daughter in this incredible endeavor. Beginning our day with Shredded Wheat gives us what we need for those long days at the gym supporting our daughter and helping her continue to follow her dreams.
Most school days begin with cereal for breakfast and I’m happy my daughters are reaching for POST Shredded Wheat.
Are your children involved in any activities outside of your comfort zone?