Break Camp: A Day in the Life of a Camper

By Kai Brown

Kai Brown with a #saltpumpkid

Kai Brown with a #saltpumpkid

Our goal is to create an environment filled with fun, learning, and community with all of our #saltpumpkids offerings.

Salt Pump Break Camps, taking place during Maine school breaks in December, February and April, are appropriate for novice and more advanced climbers alike. What exactly will we be up to during Break Camp with you kiddo? Here is what a typical day looks like:


We stress the importance of warming up to reduce injury during all kids programs. Break Camp groups warm up together, then split into smaller age-based groups afterwards.


When bouldering we’re not attached to anything, we’re relying on a 12” foam pad to catch our falls on the 13’ walls, so we’ll start day one by teaching risk management techniques, such as proper falling.  As the week goes on we’ll also learn some movement techniques to make climbing easier and more fun!

Knot Tying

Before we do any rope climbing we learn how to tie in to the ropes.  Every child will know how to properly tie a figure-eight follow-through knot by the end of the week.


Keeping it fun and fresh for all the participants.

Keeping it fun and fresh for all the participants.

We play a mix of climbing and non-climbing games for at least an hour every day.  We don’t expect – or encourage – kids to climb all day during our camps, resting is important!

We work as a big group with teams made up of mixed ages.  We have the older kids take on more responsibility by helping the younger kids with the obstacles, and the younger ones looking up to the older kids and learning to work as a team.


The learning and fun doesn’t stop for our lunch hour.  During the warmer months we sit outside on the deck while we eat, we’ll play trivia games, tell riddles, fish, and color pictures among other things.  Do you know George Mallory’s famous quote?  What about the two names of the highest peak in North America?  The most famous route on El Capitan?  These are just a couple of the trivia questions the kids might learn during lunch.

Rope Climbing

Rope climbing is usually the most popular thing we do.  Kids will learn how to clip themselves into the auto belay (with the help of a friend or instructor), check that their setup is correct, and accomplish things that they never knew they’d be able to do!

Non-Climbing Activity

Every day ends with a climbing related activity that doesn’t take place on the wall.  We’ll watch a climbing movie, make survival bracelets and learn some uses for paracord, make different kinds of climbing holds out of clay, and play a trivia scavenger hunt game.

Break Camps are not limited to climbing!

Break Camps are not limited to climbing!

Of course, there are a bunch of other things we do over the course of the week.  The older age group will learn about the fundamentals of routesetting with our head routesetter Tino, learn how to rappel with the always psyched Zack, and learn how to belay with one of our other amazing instructors.  While our younger groups focus on more game-based learning, having fun, gaining confidence, and exploring movement through climbing.

Something we recently started is our camp referral program.  For every friend you have sign up for camp (up to five) you get 5% off the cost of your own camp price.  Which means you can get up to 25% off, and your kids get to learn new things, and overcome challenges with their friends during their vacation!

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