Edgar May adds rock climbing and outdoor fitness

Edgar May rock climbing wall. Photo provided
Edgar May rock climbing wall. Photo provided

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – This summer the Edgar May Health and Recreation Center will add rock climbing and outdoor fitness to its wide array of programs and services. The climbing tower will provide area residents with opportunities to access open climbing times, clinics, and camps. It will also be available for birthday parties, groups, and corporate rentals. The outdoor area will also feature a 1,200-square-foot section of turf for outdoor fitness classes, group team building activities, team training, and more. The entire perimeter of the outdoor fitness space and climbing tower will be fenced in.

The 40-foot rock climbing tower and its six belay stations will provide opportunities for all levels of climbing. One side is specifically geared towards new or young climbers. Protrusions or features on the other sides will give more experienced climbers, or those looking for a challenge, a great go. The fourth side of the tower will feature a ropes course element called the “Dangle Duo” that teaches climbers teamwork and communication in order to ascend to the top.

The outdoor fitness options will include group exercise classes and small group activities as well as individualized and team training. Edgar May Wellness Director Corrina Johnson stated, “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were forced to try outdoor classes last summer, and they were a huge hit. This new area will allow us to expand on those classes and offer more conducive exercise environment.”

Climbing and outdoor fitness will not be the only additions, Executive Director Christian Craig stated. “We are excited to also offer half-day swim and climbing camps, clinics, team building, and leadership development programs with this new area.”

The half-day camps will included climbing time, a swimming lesson, free swimming opportunities, and other activities. The rock climbing clinics will be set up similar to Edgar May swimming lessons where students ages 6-12 can sign up for a weekly session. Craig also stated there will be programming for families including those with children as young as 4 years old to begin exploring rock climbing.

Day passes will be available for 90-minute climbing sessions for youth, teens, and adults. The most affordable way to access the tower is to join the Edgar May where climbing tower access will be included in the family, senior, adult, and young adult membership categories. Youth or teen-only members can add on monthly rock climbing tower access. Scholarships are available for memberships and programs at the Edgar May based on household income.

Program registration for the three individual weeks of climbing and swimming camps will open April 15.

Drivers on Clinton Street will see climbing begin April 14 as Edgar May staff begin three days of intensive technical training. The training is provided by High 5 Adventure Center of Brattleboro who also designed and constructed the tower. A grand opening event will be held in late-May and will be announced as the build out of the entire area proceeds.

The climbing tower was funded by donations from more than 90 individuals, businesses, and foundations. Craig stated, “We have been so fortunate to have the support of donors who believed in this project and have helped make it a reality.”

Local business support has come from Lawrence and Wheeler Insurance, Bibens Ace Hardware, Springfield Printing Corporation, Springfield Housing Authority, HB Energy, and All Seasons Construction. Foundations that have supported the project through grants have included the Cherry Family Foundation, Mascoma Bank Foundation, RiseVT, the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Claremont Savings Bank Foundation, and the Charles Wood Foundation.

For those looking to be involved in this exciting project, donations are still being accepted to finish the build out and purchase of amenities for the space, including benches, storage, and other equipment or to support scholarships for climbing programs for youth. The Edgar May is also seeking volunteers to help belay, instruct, and support the operations of the tower.

For more information about the climbing tower and outdoor fitness area, you may call the Edgar May Health and Recreation Center at 802-885-2568 or email info@edgarmay.org. Information about this project will be updated at www.edgarmay.org.

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