The beauty of rock climbing is that it forces teens to conquer their fears, problem solve, and build physical strength, all while having fun. As they work their way up from the easier 5.5 routes to those of greater difficulty, they develop balance, coordination and mental focus. This results in a bringing together of the mind and body, allowing for the confidence teens need at a time in their life when things naturally feel out of whack.
As I have watched Ryan progress in his climbing skill over the last seven months, his fingers, arms, and core have strengthened, enabling him to tackle harder and harder routes. He now makes climbing look easy, but when I try and duplicate even the easiest of moves he makes on the wall, I have a much harder time doing it. In this instance, Ryan becomes the teacher, showing me how to move, encouraging me along a route. How wonderful and empowering for him to be in the role of guide after all his years of being instructed by adults.