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Note: Nick Kelley recently joined Salt Pump as an instructor working with our kids and adult programs. A graduate of Northern Vermont University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation, Nick brings a passion for adventure and teaching to Salt Pump.

When it comes to climbing, everyone starts somewhere.

I took my first rock climbing class during my freshman year in college and after that, I was hooked. I’d never been so mentally and physically challenged before in my life - which is what keeps bringing me back to the sport. Climbing presents new ways to grow but also forces you to be so in the moment that you can pause your thoughts about all the things that life tends to throw at you.

To me, climbing has always been less about physical exercise and more about the experience: having fun, laughing, and learning new things. A large part of this is being surrounded by a good community that pushes everyone to be their best selves. And that is what we’re striving to do with our new teen programs here at Salt Pump.

This month we introduced the Adventure Club for teenagers who want to both climb and learn outdoor skills. Over February vacation week, we’ll be running a special Winter Edition Inside/Out Camp featuring ice climbing and other cold-weather adventures.

If your child aspires to big adventures in the outdoors more than the rigor of organized athletics – these programs are for them. Each session will blend short lessons in technical skills with plenty of time to simply climb and have fun. Participants will be exposed to the basics of technical subjects like anchor-building and rappelling, but we will also mix in traditional outdoor skills like starting a backpacking stove, setting up a tent or tarp, and map reading into the mix.

Why are these old school skills still important? Our philosophy is that the more kids learn about the outdoors, the more they will get psyched to put down their cell phones and explore the world. Being comfortable and confident in your skills can bring you to some amazing places that you would be able to share with others. We know that everyone starts from ground zero and here at Salt Pump we want to help build confidence in the next generation of climbers.

If these programs sound like something your child would enjoy, please check out our all new Adventure Club, Inside/Out Camp: Winter Edition, and Inside-Out Adventure Camp.