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The Rock Dump hosts PE class for homeschool students
Published: 10/04/2012 18:44:00
Updated: 10/04/2012 19:53:25

Every Monday, kids from around Juneau gather at The Rock Dump climbing gym as part of a special PE class.

Jessie Palomino, Operations Manager at The Rock Dump told us about the program: "The home school program started a few years back, we only started off with just a handful of students but now we've been putting a bit more effort into it and have built it up to what it is now. So we have somewhere between 15 and 20 students, and they come in once a week, and we go over everything from how to tie the knot to climbing techniques and what kind of holds are on the wall."

The gym recently became a non-profit, and currently has about 3 times as many holds as it did when it first opened in 2001. Different colored tapes are used to mark routes for climbers according to Aurora who's been climbing at the gym for about a year: "Well, it just means that this it route that you want to follow and don't cross this one." She told us that she doesn't have a favorite route at the gym, she enjoys climbing them all up to about a 5.8+ rating which is the hardest route she's climbed.

Climbing is more than just physical exercise said Dakota after making short work of one of the higher routes in the gym (which can be seen in the video player on the left). "[As you're climbing you're] just thinking where to put your hands, where to put your feet up next" he said.

His brother Hunter added that choosing a path up the wall is important as you have to think about "where should I go on the route, because there's different colors you can take."

Their classmate Sebastin joked that on the way up, there's always a little adrenaline flowing as you get higher: "I'm just thinking about not looking down."

The class has helped another young climber Nathan, who has been climbing only a few weeks, feel more confident on the wall. "Just thinking about don't look down, because if you look down and it kinda thinks that you're so scared. Last week I felt a little scared, but now I don't feel so scared" he said.

The students, aged between 7 and 14, get PE credit for the 8 week course. They also learn valuable social skills. "When we get feedback from the parents; a lot of it is talking about how they've become more confident in their movements, that they open up a lot. A lot of the kids when they come in, they're really shy, but towards the end of the class they run around like they own the place. Really comfortable and and talk to everybody and become part of the climbing community" said Palomino.

The next 8-week session will start in November, parents can contact The Rock Dump at (907) 586-4982 for more information.

The Rock Dump will also be hosting a screening of the Reel Rock Film Tour at the Goldtown Nickelodeon next Tuesday October 9th at 7:00 PM and Saturday October 13th at 4:00 PM.

By: Mikko Wilson -