Regina youth with sight loss had opportunity to learn rock climbing – Regina

Regina youth who have lost their sight had the opportunity Thursday to learn how to rock climb at the Regina Climbing Centre.

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind is responsible for launching the program, and the Regina version was sponsored by Jumpstart.

Thursday’s climbing session was led by Regina Climbing Center instructor James Lewis, who says he wants to play a small part in the children’s future success.

« For me, I want them to be self-sufficient on the road, and give them the tools or even just the mental toughness to be able to get into uncharted territory safely but with a good mental state. If they have the ability to thinking and problem solving while they’re climbing a rock wall and have no idea what the next hold will be will give them a lot of life skills on the road,” Lewis said.

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One of the program participants, Zander, was a quick learner and quickly adapted to the newly acquired skill of rock climbing.

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He mentioned that his favorite wall to climb was the one in the center left corner, due to the number of places he could put his hands and feet.

Another student named Fletcher scaled several walls with little to no challenge, all the more impressive as he was a first-time climber.

Lewis said teaching young people with vision loss how to climb forces him to come up with a different method of training.

“That’s why I took the table out earlier, so they could smell the rocks and so it’s not a surprise when they get up there. So it’s about a lot of positive reinforcement and not pushing them too far where they burst into tears,” Lewis said.

Zander said he was ready for a second round at the climbing center.

« Yes I like it. And then maybe after that I wish I could go bowling.

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