Next-generation of leaders takes the reins at ACYDC

Auckland Climbing Youth Development Club Inc. (ACYDC) has started an exciting initiative to develop the leadership skills of its young members.

The Glen Eden-based club is not just about raising the profile of indoor rock climbing as a sport.

‘We also want to grow the individual and enhance their confidence and leadership skills,’ explains chairperson, Michael O’Keefe.

ACYDC has only been up and running for two years but already has a large membership. Sport climbing is very popular among young people and is one of the fastest-growing sports in New Zealand.

Passionate though ACYDC is about rock climbing, the club is just as passionate about developing the whole individual.

‘As a club, we wanted to give kids more ownership of the club and move it away from a parent-led initiative,’ explains Michael.

With the help and advice of Sport Waitakere, ACYDC kick-started the process with a leadership workshop involving young members.

Michael and the committee were blown away by the response. The kids spoke openly and movingly about what the club means to them and how it has changed their lives. Many shared stories of feeling isolated and spoke about challenges at home and school. And they also explained how they had struggled to enjoy sport.

However, all agreed that getting involved in ACYDC has transformed their lives. Young members shared how they had found a sense of belonging, friendship and a safe environment at the club. For many, their achievements in sport climbing have had positive effects on all aspects of their lives.

Michael said it was a powerful experience and it united all members of the club. But best of all, young people felt able to put their hands up and take on leadership roles. They believed they had a lot to contribute and wanted to give back to the club.

‘It was clear there was a real desire among the kids to take control,’ says Michael. ‘And we as a committee have given them our full support to give it a go.’

And since the workshop, the energy and enthusiasm have only grown. Young members have set up a fundraising committee and are actively pursuing sponsorship options. They now have some brilliant ideas to raise money for much-needed club uniforms.  What’s more, several volunteered to join the management committee and help organise the club.

Almost overnight, ACYDC has changed from being a parent-led club to a vibrant, energetic one led by young people.

It’s certainly exciting times at ACYDC both on and off the climbing wall.

As a past recipient of Million Dollar Mission funding, The Trusts is a proud supporter of the club. We wish all members well as they embark on a new journey.

For more information on ACYDC, go to their website at