What does a normal day actually look like at our gym? In short, very fun and very crazy.
Every weekday, we open our doors at 3pm and we close them at 8pm. Every Saturday we open at 12 for our reading hour and then a shortened day of climbing.
To create some order out of the chaos, we have three shifts of climbers. Children and teens are put in these groups loosely depending on their age, ability, and when they get out of school (in Romania, kids go to school in different shifts--some take their classes in the morning, and others in the afternoon).
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, these shifts begin at 3:00. Our first group climbs until 4:30, our second group climbs until 6:00, and our final group (generally older and more dedicated climbers) climbs until we close at 8:00.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the younger climbers do no climb (it is better for their developing bodies to have a break between climbing days) and those hours are used for route-setting (we change around the holds and create new routes so our wall stays fresh and challenging for our kids). Then the oldest climbers come to climb and train.
These climbing hours are filled with all kinds of activities. Of course, kids climb. They work on specific routes or projects they have, they make up new routes, and they practice and train different techniques and moves on the wall. Off the wall, they build their strength and balance through various exercises like pull ups, push ups, planks, and yoga poses.
Sometimes they play climbing games like "un pas in fata," or "one step ahead," where players create a new route together, beginning with only two holds. Each climber takes turns climbing whatever has been created so far and then adding a new hold each time. Whoever can get the farthest without falling wins.
Another popular game is hide the bolt, which is very much as it sounds. Kids have to climb like crazy to find two small bolts hidden somewhere on the wall amongst the climbing holds.
Some kids, either during their own climbing hour or when another group is climbing, go to our reading room and hang out there, reading books, working on homework, or talking and playing with others.
And finally, some days we end the day with a dance party, dancing in a big, spinning circle to Romanian wedding music or in a line to what they call "cao-boi music"--the Cotton-Eyed Joe. These moments are full of so much joy and laughter.
Every day is different. Every day brings new challenges and new joys, new conversations, new ways to connect with our climbers, new things to laugh about. Every day is an adventure with our climbers, and we wouldn't have it any other way.