WSU Recreation Center helps community get more active with rock climbing | Local

Every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the next four weeks, children ages 3 to 14 will have the chance to enjoy the rock face of the facility at a discounted rate.

But the fun doesn’t stop at their age range, as their families and other members of the community, with climbing harnesses available for all ages, can also participate at the regular rate.






Henderson


Mike Henderson, WSU’s associate director of the outdoor education and recreation center, explained that after having had to be closed twice for long periods in recent years – once during renovations to the education village, then at new for the pandemic – the staff wanted to provide an opportunity not only for students to enjoy the world-class rock face, but also the community around the school.

“As we were able to reopen, we tried to make a concerted effort to re-engage with our community,” said Henderson, who shared that the facility is the largest compared to any other institution in the Midwest.

It wasn’t just the staff who had an interest in sharing the space with the community, as Henderson mentioned that the donors who helped provide the large rock wall had expressed a desire for the space to be open to the general public.

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As people who enjoy outdoor recreation – including rock climbing – Henderson said he and OERC staff wanted to organize youth parties in the hopes of breaking down boundaries that might keep children from to participate in such activities.







WSU Education Village

Audrey Diesslin pushes back the WSU climbing wall in 2019.


Craig Johnson, Winona Daily News


Already, to break down the boundaries, the OERC has worked to provide free escalation to Sugarloaf for many years.

As for the first Tuesday of Youth Nights, Nov. 2, Henderson shared that it was a success with 48 people attending, with some showing up as early as 4:30 p.m.

Henderson said his favorite part of the first night was, “Honestly, it’s just the idea that we can get more families to enjoy outdoor recreation.”

He said, like many other people who are passionate about an activity, he enjoys helping others get excited about rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits.







WSU Education Village 2

People are pictured using the rock face at WSU in 2019.


Craig Johnson, Winona Daily News


Henderson likes to see families participate in rock climbing with the OERC on a regular basis, as they are beginning to choose this as their preferred option on how they stay active together.

For more information on youth nights and other opportunities at WSU, visit www.winona.edu.

Virginia F. Goins