Feature Article - April 2007
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Altitude with Attitude

Building Your Climbing Business by Catering to Kids

By Stacy St. Clair

Guarded Guardians?

When looking to attract kids to climbing, the first step is always convincing the parents. And that's not always the easiest task, given that many moms and dads have never climbed.

Here are some experts' tips for selling the sport to parents:

SAFETY FIRST: If mom and dad haven't tried climbing, they probably don't know all the precautions that are taken. Spend a little extra time to explain your safety measures, the climber-to-instructor ratios and the routine maintenance performed on equipment.

PARENT-KIDS CLASSES: There's no better way to get parents to overcome their concerns about the sport than by having them learn how to do it too.

PARTY ON: Use birthday parties as a way for parents to visit your facility. As moms and dads drop off or pick up their children, ask if they have any questions about indoor climbing that you could answer. And remember, the more engaging and kid-friendly you make the event, the more likely the kids will ask their parents to bring them back.

PROVIDE ALTERNATIVES: Adults are more likely to bring their kids to the gym if they get something out of it, too. Some climbing gyms offer yoga or Pilates classes during youth hours so parents have something to do while waiting for their children to work out.

ADULT SUPERVISION: Many gyms offer youth practices and climbing hours as an alternative to traditional after-school programs. Nothing makes moms and dads happier than knowing what their children are doing when they're not around.

GREAT EXERCISE: With all the talk about childhood obesity these days, don't underestimate the value parents place on physical activity. Stress the sport's ability to help youth develop strength, endurance and gymnastic ability.

NO WEATHER-RELATED CANCELLATIONS: Nothing upsets the family schedule more than rain days and makeup schedules. Remind parents that with indoor climbing, they'll never have to worry about Mother Nature ruining their plans.