On 22 and 23 September ATB De Natuurvrienden and FROS Multisport Vlaanderen invited the participants of the Erasmus+ Sports for All project to Ghent, Belgium. This second workshop had it’s focus on the climbing clubs in Flanders for kids/youngsters with a disability.
After a warm welcome by Lars, the guests could already have a taste of the wonderful city of Ghent on Friday night. On Saturday morning, the participants gathered in one of the biggest climbing halls of Europe: Climbing Hall Biover Sport at the Blaarmeersen. This is the home base of one of the climbing clubs (for people with a disability).
Day 1: Climbing for people with a disability:
For starters we took our guests immediately into the climbing hall, because we invited two of our climbers (from the other climbing club) to Ghent to come and have a climb. Together with the participants, we put the harnesses on and challenged gravity. This way we could show how our youngsters grew out to be very strong and good climbers. Even Mahendra Galani (one of the participants, with a visual impairment) climbed the wall … with success!!
After experiencing it ourselves, we had a look at one of our biggest achievements so far with our climbers … the Seven Summits project, and the documentary we made: BerGvrij (bergfrei). During a periode of a year, a camera crew followed our team, while preparing for a big challenge. With five of our climbers, we wanted to go to Germany (border with Austria) to climb the Nebelhorn. This was one of the seven groups who went on a journey to climb a summit. A story of pushing boundaries, falling and getting up, teamspirit and an incredible adventure … . As one of our climbers perfectly said: “One small step for man, but a giant step for a Bergstijger”.
The trailer of BerGvrij: https://vimeo.com/135620465
After a nice lunch (with soup … a lot of soup … ) we had the honor to have Christophe with us, one of the climbing instructors that works with the youngsters in Ghent. He shared his experiences with the group, and we had the chance to ask him some questions.
Later in the afternoon we discussed several things. Inclusion in sports and education in general, the terminology of people with or without a disability, the role of parents, how we can learn from people with a disability, … . From our part, we also shared some theory about climbing with kids with a disability (guidelines for the climber, the parents and the instructor).
Tips and tricks for the climbing instructor
After a long day and a lot of talking, we decided to go outside … take a walk and find some geocaches! Apparently, geocaching was still unknow among several participants, so we showed them how it works… and with success. We found two nice geocaches around the Blaarmeersen. Afterwards we went to the city center to have a nice bio-vegetarian meal … .
Day 2: Discussion, resume and conclusions:
After a good night sleep, we tried to get to a conclusion about several subjects. We had some discussion about it and made a resume of our findings. You can find this in the document “conclusions”.
Texts from Jurgen Dewulf (FROS)