Sport Rock Merit Badge Days


Identifier: 20060225-SportRockMeritBadgeDays
Purpose of outing: High Adventure (Climbing)
Advancements: Climbing Merit Badge
Mode of travel: Car
Planning horizon: 3 weeks
Capacity: 5-15
Fees: $90 per scout
Location: Sportrock; 5303 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, Virginia
Contact: Troop 1501; Debra B.
Dates: 2006-02-25 to 2006-02-26
Description: 2 Day 6 hour rock climbing course
Sportrock offers to teach scouts proper climbing techniques. The program takes 2 days to complete (6 hours each day). Day one is inside and Day two (weather permitting) is outside usually at Great Falls park in McLean, Virginia. The climbing merit badge may be earned through this program. Two requirements for the adults are that they need to be trained in the Climb on Safely and for a CPR train adult to be present during the climbing (the instructors were trained in addition to some of the adults). We met at Messiah United Methodist Church at 8:15a.m., departing at 8:20a.m. We arrived at Sportrock at approximately 8:40a.m. The scouts started the climbing program at 9:00am. They were given rental shoes and spent about 1 ½ hours learning about knots, rigging the harness, how to belay, safety steps, and how to rappel. The scouts were then split into groups with 3 or 4 scouts to an instructor. At noon they stopped to eat their lunches and then continued climbing on increasingly difficult routes. We ended the day around 3:15 and all the scouts were pretty tired but they enjoyed themselves. Due to the cold temperatures and high winds the scouts and instructors opted to stay indoors on the second day. The second day consisted of a quick refresher and expanded to cover areas not covered in day one (e.g., storage of equipment). Each boy was tested on proper knots and other requirements for the merit badge. The majority of the day consisted of a warm up climb followed by refinement of safety and climbing aspects. The boys enjoyed having pizza ordered in for lunch. Sportrock also allowed Rod Brittenham an opportunity to climb late in the afternoon. The scouts (with oversight of the instructors) were tasked with showing him the equipment, proper use of harness, proper knots, climbing and belaying commands.
Assessment: 1. The scouts seemed to have a great time and several asked to go back again. Recommend the scouts make this part of their yearly program. (James says every other month would be good).
2. Sport Rock also offers programs in the evening for kids to come and climb for 2 or 3 hours for $20. This might be something to do with the scouts before a lock-in at the church. However, there is an age limit of 12 for the merit badge program offered by Sportrock though younger scouts are not prohibited from climbing.
3. Scouts need to remember to bring water bottles as it is important to stay hydrated when climbing indoors or outdoors.