ODEL Student Head Coaches Growing Climbing Team
Madison Gregory, a senior at North Greenville University, leads Climb Upstate’s Junior Rock Climbing Team as it continues to expand.
As a high school student, Gregory began working at Climb Upstate — the region’s largest indoor rock climbing gym — in 2012. So when the time came to select a college, she knew outdoor leadership (ODEL) at NGU was the right major for her. NGU’s ODEL program equips students by offering hands-on experiences, which includes backpacking trips and an immersion semester in the field, to teach them how to lead and build others up through adventurous, outdoor activities.
“Outdoor leadership at NGU and my job at Climb Upstate have complemented each other so well,” says Gregory. “I have a better knowledge of how to implement different teaching styles while [coaching] or teaching instructional classes. I feel very confident as a guide, teacher, and instructor.”
At Climb Upstate, Gregory and the other coaches focus on teaching students climbing technique, leadership, and team building, as well as preparing team members for climbing competitions in the area.
Since Gregory first started at Climb Upstate, the gym has established a partnership with Spartanburg County Parks Department and added a junior climbing team in 2014. The junior team, which initially consisted of only three young climbers, has grown to feature 37 members today.
“We’re thrilled to see all the potential in these new climbers, and [we’re] stoked that our returning team members have an opportunity for mentoring and leadership," says Gregory.
Ashley Crane, manager at Climb Upstate, feels that the growth at the climbing gym stems from a renewed interest among locals in activities that are both family friendly and adventurous.
“[Our mission is] to grow the climbing community in the Upstate, to see kids get off [the] screen and on the wall, and to grow the kingdom of God,” says Crane.
As climbers continue to join the junior team at Climb Upstate, Gregory shares skills with them that she has developed at NGU, helping her students succeed not only as athletes, but also as individuals.
“I strategically plan each lesson in a sequential order so that the levels of challenge continue to get harder and the team recognizes growth within their climbing skills,” says Gregory. “The goal is not to create skilled climbers alone. The goal is to create well-rounded people who impact the world around them, while also being skilled climbers.”
For more information about the outdoor leadership program at NGU.
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