Auckland Youth Climbing Development Club

Trailblazing Local Club Reaches For The Top

The Glen Eden-based Auckland Climbing Youth Development Club Inc. is reaching for the top in more ways than one. Set up only 12 months ago, ACYDC aims to raise the profile of indoor rock climbing as a sport for young people. And thanks in part to the Million Dollar Mission, this trailblazing West Auckland club is having a big impact both regionally and nationally.

‘Indoor rock climbing has recently been recognised as an Olympic Sport and although very popular overseas, it’s had a low profile here,’ explains ACYDC’s Michael O’Keefe.

However, two years ago sport climbing, as it’s also known, became a part of the annual AIMS Games – the national intermediate schools multi-sports tournament. But, as Michael points out there was very little infrastructure or support for kids who wanted to participate in the sport.

ACYDC came into being following the efforts of a group of committed parents and the support of Glen Eden’s Vertical Adventures Indoor Climbing Centre. Two locally based coaches volunteered their time to set up some trial programmes for 10 enthusiastic kids. And from these humble beginnings, the club has gone from strength to strength.

The $13,685 of funding support from the Million Dollar Mission has enabled the club to buy state-of-the-art auto belay systems. This means the West Auckland club can now host regional and national events. And it also means that ACYDC can provide outreach programmes to local schools and the wider community.

Given that the club has only been around for such a short amount of time, it’s amazing how far the sport has come. Vertical Adventures is hosting the Auckland regional competition on 15 March. Also lined up during the year are four inter-school tournaments with around 120 children participating in each one.

With the support of the KiwiSport initiative, the club has also set up an exciting development programme with four local schools. Up to 80 children will now be able to improve their skills in a safe environment. The club is particularly proud of the fact that around 70 per cent of participants in indoor climbing are girls. As it’s often difficult to keep girls actively involved in sport as they get older, this is good news for everyone.

What’s more, up to 50 per cent of participants in the schools programme have alternative learning needs. Indoor rock climbing is one of the most inclusive sports there is. Pretty much anyone can participate and everyone has fun.

‘The range of programmes ACYDC has developed are a first for the sport of indoor climbing in New Zealand,’ advises Michael.  ‘Nothing like this has been done before and it’s very exciting that West Auckland is at the forefront.’

‘The help of the Million Dollar Mission and the wider community has made all the difference. We’re very grateful and are super-excited about what the future holds for sport climbing.’