Saturday, 25 June 2011

SPA hour logging

Not a whole lot of blogging went on last week, the reason for that is because I was really quite tired. I had volunteered to help out for a couple of days over at YHA Edale with their outdoor activities programme, trying to get my supervisory hours up so that I can do my SPA assessment at the end of the summer.
Over the 2 days I spent there, I was involved in 5 different sessions, 3 on the first and 2 on the second, all climbing except for the evening, which was abseiling, and all with different sets of kids and teachers.

As it was the first time I was out after my training on the SPA, and I had never rigged for a group before, I took the opportunity to watch and learn how the team at Edale do things. It was good to know that everything I would have done was pretty much what they did. During the time there I realised that its not actually the rigging of the ropes that is the hard bit, but it’s the keeping the kids entertained while the climbs are set up that takes the real talent.
The vast majority of the time, the activities were set up in about 5-10 mins by the instructors and myself, and I was thanked a number of times for being there and helping out as it made things pretty slick, so the kids got more goes at what they were there for.

I think that’s sometimes the issue with SPA’s. They forget that the client is there to climb, and you are there to provide the experience for them. The most important thing about the day is obviously safety, but after that, it’s the clients needs, and how close you come to giving them what they want out of the day. Preparation is one of the key points. That, and recognising where the weather is coming from and not going to the place which is going to get battered by crazy wind and rain.
Over the 2 days I was out at Burbage North- the perennial favourite, Windgather- another fave, and also Yarncliffe, which I had never been to before, and is quite a little gem. I’ll have to go back there at some other time as there were a couple of little climbs that I wouldn’t mind doing.

Respect to all the guys who do that day in day out and still find time and energy to get out and climb/bike and run. I was totally knackered by the end of the second day, but I suspect you get used to it.
If there are 2 key things about providing climbing and outdoor activities to youngsters, its be quick, and learn a load of riddles to keep them occupied…

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