I am so inspired to look at a person who has lean muscles with great definition and strength that could pull her body weight upward in a challenging vertical terrain…
I am not a rock climber myself, but I always admired those who could walk on the cliffs with strings…especially when the entire family does it together. As we heard it often – a family that play together, stick together. One of my best friends from Northwestern University, Lynn, now living in Taipei, now makes climbing a part of her family life…with her husband (a Professor in Environment Engineering) and her two kids, both under age 10.
Kids are natural climbers, and my two year old is a total acrobat. When she was a bit older than one, she climbed up to our bar table, reached out to the chandelier, and I just in time spotted the move when she was about to swing by one arm…
Lynn and I picked up the conversation when I was pregnant and remodeling our townhouse, and I asked Lynn to design an interactive climbing wall for our two years old and the one on the way. She told me to ask her again when both kids turn 5 J
Lynn resigned from her Marketing Executive job with a global tech company, following her 20 years rock climbing passion to start “Flying Kids Adventure” LLC, providing children with rock climbing education. In the meantime, she is forming an R&D team to design and produce an interactive climbing wall.
I made an excuse to have this dialogue with Lynn to decompose rock climbing as a sport, as I continue to explore the topic “what do other cool parents do globally in fitness and activities?”
Lottie: I know you and your husband are serious rock climbers, tell us about your dedication on rock climbing for 20+ years….
Lynn: We met at a Mountaineering Club in college. At the club we learned the skills of hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, river tracing…etc. It was lots of fun to hike with many cool schoolmates, and right before graduation, I found myself fall in love with rock climbing. I climbed and trained five days a week, and watched people climb for the other two days. For about two years, climbing was the only thing I wanted to do. We climbed in many well-known destinations in Taiwan, US and Europe. That was before we had kids.
Lottie: Tell us what made you quit a highly paid marketing executive job to start your own company, and how did you start “Flying Kids Adventure”?
Lynn: I was working in a global organization and travelled around the world for business. I was very committed to the job and spent most of my time on my career. However, I am also a mother who desires to spend more time with the kids. My daughter kept asking me if I could pick her up from school, just like other “normal moms” do. I decided to quit the job before she was 6.
Then the “Flying Kids Adventure” idea came. After I quit, I had more time to climb and teach my kids to climb in phases. Some of their classmates and my friends asked me to teach them climbing. “Flying Kids Adventure” was formed with education in mind at the beginning – bringing kids to rock climbing, tree climbing, and lots of cool outdoor activities. We are now offering climbing classes and camps. Besides my husband and myself, we also have certified coaches on the team.
Lottie: What are the benefits of rock climbing for kids? And when / how should they start?
Lynn: A ton of benefits for kids to climb, just to name a few–
- Rock climbing is a complete workoutfor kids.
- It improves muscular endurance and flexibility, overall balance and coordination skills.
- Rock climbing teaches kids the importance of practicing safety measuresand listening to instructions.
- Practicing rock climbing will improve kids’ concentration, focus, and learning abilities. It also has a positive impact to kids’ sensory and fine motor skills.
- Rock climbing, just like other sports & activities, teaches kids how to work with others and help each other.
- Like solving a puzzle, rock climbing requires strong problem solving skills, in combination with physical work.
- And it is super fun!
An indoor rock climbing gym is a good place to start for kids to gain interests in rock climbing. Let kids practice on a wall with a simple surface and then move on to more complex surfaces. With climbing walls popping up everywhere, particularly in North America and Europe, parents could find an experienced coach to guide kids through the learning process. Age 5 is a good starting point
Lottie: Tell us about your kids, how do they do with rock climbing? And what are the other activities / sports your guys are passioned about?
Lynn: We encourage our kids to climb. Some parents may consider it is dangerous for kids to climb up and down, but we think this is a good training for kids to learn how to protect themselves. They need to learn and to decide how to get themselves up or down safely, as well as when and where are not a good time and place to climb when we climb outdoor.
When my kids were 7 and 5 years old, my husband and I started to take them to climb outdoor once a week. They loved to climb, they gained confidence overtime and it empowered them to feel like little spider-man / woman. At the same time, we want them to learn other sports as well. My boy plays badminton and my daughter plays volleyball, both on school teams.
Lottie: What is your next family and “Flying Kids” adventure?
Lynn: There are many exciting ideas as we are building “Flying Kids Adventure” LLC. Climbing is becoming a popular sport; we would like to introduce it to more families, especially for our next generation.
One of our plans is to create an environment where kids and parents could climb together without worrying about necessitating professional skills. We believe climbing could be a sport just like swimming, basketball, and tennis, providing access to all. And as long as there is a wall, it is playtime!
We would like to build and provide such an environment to most families, starting domestically and then go globally.
A family that rock climb together, have higher spirit! Please share with us – what is your favorite family sport? Shopping and watching TV don’t count 🙂