Catalyst Sports Adaptive Climbing Clinics At Rocksport
Catalyst Sports make adventures possible!
For families of people living with disabilities, it can feel as though childhood activities aren’t always inclusive. In Louisville and other cities, a nonprofit called Catalyst Sports is trying to change that.
Catalyst Sports has been around for 12 years and Louisville is the 10th chapter of the organization, which “started with this mission to help people with disabilities experience the joy and the empowerment of adventures,” says Louisville Catalyst Sports chapter volunteer Emily Moscoe.
The organization helps people with disabilities experience sports such as rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, and more, because volunteers want to, “help people with disabilities to get the experience of doing those things, because all the volunteers and all the staff at Catalyst are all in love with outdoors work, we all have seen the way that it’s impacted our lives and realize that we wanted to expand that so that more people could get involved and have access to those kind of activities,” Moscoe says.
Catalyst Sports began hosting adaptive climbing clinics at Rocksport in Louisville in July of 2021 with plans to host clinics once monthly.
The next dates will be 23 October, 20 November, and 18 December of 2021.
The clinic focuses on helping people with physical disabilities learn adaptations for rock climbing, but people living with all kinds of disabilities are welcome.
“We strive to be inclusive and welcome everybody,” Moscoe of Catalyst Sports says. “As an organization, Catalyst’s focus is on physical disabilities, however, that’s not to say that we exclude anybody. We have had some teenagers and kids with autism and developmental disabilities come and we welcome them to come. They had a great time. The focus of our volunteer training is really on the physical adaptations that we might need, so the different equipment that we might use and the techniques that we might use to help somebody to be able to climb. However, like I said, we welcome everybody, I personally am an occupational therapist, and we have a lot of volunteers who work with people with disabilities in all different aspects, so we have some who are teachers, some who are physical therapists, so really, everybody is welcome. The only thing that I would say, and that I have told families who contacted me is that it can be kind of a busy environment, I’ve had a couple of families contact me and you saying they have younger kids or kids on the autism spectrum, and after we talked a little bit, we decided it might not be the best environment for them because it can be kind of loud or can be a lot of people, it can be a little bit overwhelming, so that’s just up to the families to decide do they think their child would really thrive in that environment, or would it be a little bit overwhelming for them. But if they want to come out and give it a try, we absolutely welcome them.”
Rock climbing can be intimidating for anyone. At Rocksport, the types of climbing practiced are top roping, lead, and bouldering, all types of sport climbing. For top roping and lead, climbers are harnessed in. For bouldering, climbs are shorter and harnesses are not used. (Across town, Climb NuLu is an all-bouldering, no harness gym.)
The Catalyst Sports volunteers will assess what needs a climber with disabilities may have and help outfit them with the necessary adaptive equipment.
“What I’ve seen since we started hosting these events is we have adults and kids who come to climb with us, and a lot of them are even surprised at themselves as to how much they can do,” Moscoe says. “I think it can be very intimidating for someone, for anyone with or without a disability, to see people rock climbing and think, oh my gosh, I could never do that. But people often surprise themselves with how much they can do and even if they don’t get to the very top of the wall, it can still be a lot of fun. It can be a great experience to get out, meet people, get some exercise in for the day, so I would just encourage everyone to come give it a try. It’s free. There’s no pressure, it’s a very encouraging and supportive environment, so there’s no judgment here. I think it’s a great opportunity to try something new, even if you don’t think that it’s something that you would excel at, you might surprise yourself.”
Rocksport is located at 10901 Plantside Dr, Louisville, KY 40299. Catalyst Sports can be reached by email at Louisville@catalystsports.org. A $15 donation is encouraged but not necessary. Happy climbing!