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Sender One Youth Team: Lock-In at LAX

Sender One Youth Team: Lock-In at LAX

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Words by Jane Chin, Photos by Cass Chin
Sender One Santa Ana (SNA) and Los Angeles (LAX) both have competitive ("comp") teams that practice at their respective "home gyms". Given the distance between the two gyms, Sender One coaches hold monthly full team practices and an early season "all team lock-in" event. This encourages bonding between comp team members and fosters cohesion for Team Sender One. For the 2018 sport and speed climbing season, the all team lock-in event took place at Sender One LAX on February 17, 2018.
While the Sender One Youth team trained together, coaches Christian and Nate held a parent orientation to discuss team goals and important information about USA Climbing membership requirements for competitors. Many parents were new to the comp team, and climbing in general, and welcomed a forum where they asked the coaches questions about training methods, safety, and USA Climbing rules. Coach Christian Mercene, the SNA youth head coach, really listened and addressed new parents' questions and concerns. Coach Nate Withey, who has extensive personal competition experience, was able to answer technical questions about USA Climbing's rules. Parents are encouraged to visit USA Climbing's rules page and watch the short video explaining its competition rules.
After training and dinner, Team Sender One visited Sender City. Parents were welcome to try out the obstacles, some of which were quite challenging! My husband won the "speed climbing challenge", but I was able to pass his high-point on the the "moving cog-wheel" climbing problem. Many of the challenges required leaps of faith, such as jumping off high objects or platforms into the air, which are wonderful exercises in "trust" and made these obstacles popular in adult team-building/confidence events.
 Groups began to form, with some kids heading to the party room to watch the climbing movie, featuring world class climbers Chris Sharma, Alex Honnold, and Margo Hayes. Others hung out with coach Melanie (who seemed to be exercising for hours at a time!) at the fitness area. The rest of us headed to the climbing walls to work off the dessert we ate! At 10pm, the gym doors were locked and all the other guests had left. Team Sender One and their families were locked in. A few parents collectively took a breath as Team Sender One took over LAX!
Kids ran all over the place, playing hide and seek, clamoring upstairs and downstairs. The main lights turned off, leaving the spot lights shining on the iconic Torch and the other big walls. Those who brought head-lamps did some "head-lamp climbing".Coaches also rigged up a "King Swing" in the middle of the lead climb arch. This was a long rope that required the swinger to climb up the wall, then jump off, for a long fall and wide swing.
By this time, it was past midnight. Many parents were exhausted since it was past our bedtime! People began staking sleeping spots around the bouldering areas. We set up the ground sheet and sleeping bags/pillows, and as things wound down, we settled to sleep. It was quite a pleasant experience to sleep in the dark and quiet building, with the occasional sound of an airliner taking off or landing at LAX.
The next morning Team Sender One campers woke up, packed up, and met for potluck breakfast. Coaches Toby and Christian greeted everyone and asked about favorite parts of the lock-in. King swing, Sender City, Rope swings, the (climbing) movie, "everything" were answers, followed by the next question: "When are we going to do this again?" Looks like the lock-in was a success!
Looking Back, Looking Forward: New Year’s Meetup LAX

Looking Back, Looking Forward: New Year’s Meetup LAX

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Words and Photos by Erin Garrovillas

To kick-off the new year, Sender One hosted a special meetup on January 3, facilitated by staff member Denise.  This New Year’s Meetup was similar to the Monday Night Meetups, with a special addition – at the beginning, everyone was given a questionnaire to fill out.  It prompted us to reflect on the past year – specifically, favorite climbing memories and what we learned about climbing.  It also guided us to think about this upcoming year – what we want to improve, a big climbing goal for 2018, and how we can achieve it.  

Sender City partner climbs!

The meetup started with an icebreaker, each person introduced themselves and shared a climbing highlight from 2017.  Then, everyone paired up for trust falls and a partner exercise where you stand back-to-back, link arms, and try to stand up at the same time. Then, came the raffle.  A handful of lucky winners became the proud owners of beanies, chalk, and a climbing brush.

Denise offered to open the colorful, themed climbing area, Sender City.  It’s designed with kids in mind, but still offers lots of fun for all ages.  A few people opted to jump straight into rock climbing, while the rest of the group suited up for Sender City.The first partner challenge was to climb the cubes while holding your partner’s hand.  It proved to be very difficult because the cubes shake, and you could only climb with one hand!  We also tried the Trembling Towers, where you step on vertical beams that get higher and shakier!  To make it more interesting, we challenged ourselves to close our eyes, and the group coached us through each step.  It’s surprising how challenging it is to balance when you can’t see!  

Definitely a challenge!

Another favorite activity was the Drop Slide.  After donning a jumpsuit, you hold onto a bar, as it lifts you up the nearly vertical slide.  When you’re ready, you let go and rush down the slide!

Going up blind gives the Trembling Towers a difficult new twist!

After everyone got their fill at Sender City, we moved onto top roping in the main climbing area.  Pairing up for belays came natural after the icebreakers and fun climbs at Sender City.  When we weren’t climbing, we got to know each other a little better.  Overall, the New Year’s Meetup was a great way to kick-off the year, meet new climbing partners, and get involved in the climbing community here at Sender One.

Join us for the next Monday Night Meetup, hosted on the first and third Monday of the month at both LAX and SNA. The meet ups are always free with a day pass. Meet new friends, participate in fun activities, and win great raffle prizes. Hope to see you there!

Come to our next Monday Night Meet Up to hang out with some amazing new people!

Kids Climbing Gym Los Angeles & Santa Ana, CA

Kids Climbing Gym Los Angeles & Santa Ana, CA

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Rock climbing is an awesome sport for kids. It's fun, it teaches problem solving and practical skills, and it's also an excellent full-body workout that promotes "real strength" – it develops muscles naturally, the way they were designed to be used within the body. At Sender One Climbing, we're proud to be a leading kid-friendly climbing gym in the Los Angeles area. But what, exactly, makes a climbing gym great for kids? Here are a few of the features that any kid-friendly climbing gym should have.

A Variety of Skill Levels

Some kids may enter a climbing gym having never climbed before, while others may be experienced pros in their own right. A great kids climbing gym should have a little something for everyone – and ideally, each wall should have sections or routes that provide varying degrees of difficulty. This makes it easy and fun for kids to push themselves and improve their climbing skills without feeling intimidated.


The youth program is a great way to get started!

An Engaged, Committed Staff

When it comes to a child's climbing experience, the staff at the gym play a major role. Having an engaged and dedicated staff is critical for a children's climbing gym, as the staff members can observe kids and guide them through the activities and exercises where they'll have the most fun.




Sender City offers a variety of climbing challenges!

More Than Just Rock Walls

Traditional climbing gym walls are fun, but kids get bored easily – and some kids may not like something that difficult, to begin with. Ideally, a kids climbing gym should feature a variety of different activities and climbing walls that offer different approaches to climbing. In addition to traditional walls, things like tire climbs, rope climbing, trapeze, and other fun climbing activities should be available.



Challenges for kids of all ages.

A Fun, Supportive Environment

Above all, a climbing gym that serves children should foster a supportive, nurturing, and encouraging environment. Climbing isn't about competition and finding out who's better than who – it's a fun activity where any kid can challenge themselves, learn more about their body, and have a great time.



Visit Sender One Climbing in Los Angeles, CA

Any kids climbing gym worth its salt should have features like these – and thankfully, at Sender One Climbing in Los Angeles, we check every box. Our climbing gym specializes in helping kids from all over Los Angeles have an awesome experience while climbing, and if you're interested in finding out for yourself, we'd love to help. Book a session online today or plan your next party to find out what a top-notch Los Angeles kids climbing gym really looks like. We can't wait to hear from you!

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