In January, Erin Page and her husband buckled down and finally got a Y membership at the Mansfield Area Y, though they’d been going to the facility for years.
Prior to getting their membership, they’d seen signs about a rock wall posted everywhere and were excited to see it become another wonderful addition to the gym.
With three sons (11, 12 and 14), Page looked forward to taking her three sons for an activity all ages can participate in and stay active, especially for her teenager whom she felt didn’t have enough activities to participate in around Mansfield.
“We saw this (the rock wall) coming and we just thought about how they’d never been on a climbing wall,” Page said, “This was their first time; a new adventure.”
The main point of the project was to give teenagers more activities around the Mansfield area to do. Mansfield Area Y CEO Cristen Gilbert wanted to provide something more appealing for the tween age group.
“We have a lot of great things in this facility for a number of people, but we really were missing that special thing for teens,” Gilbert said. “Obviously screen time seems to take a big play in a lot of kids of that age.”
The 24 foot high wall spans 625 square feet in the new Youth Activity Center area of the YMCA. The wall features terrain for a wide range of skill levels; novice to advanced. In an effort to keep the wall appealing to regular users, the routes will be changed once a month. The rock climbing wall is equipped with four auto-belays meaning the device takes up the slack as the climber ascends the wall. The auto belay catches the climber and slowly lowers them to the ground after they’ve reached their desired height.
“I think that just makes it a little unique,” Gilbert said. “You’d have to travel out of the area to get this experience anywhere else, so I think for Mansfield it’s a pretty cool opportunity and a neat thing to have.”
Page recalled her sons being timid at first to climb the wall when they saw how tall it was, however they received encouragement from one of the trainers working there.
“He stood back for a while and he didn’t pressure anybody, but he was really good,” Page said. “And the second time we went, he was there and there was another rock wall attendant. They just really reassured them.”
Though Page has a fear of heights and hasn’t climbed the wall herself, she felt very assured with the Mansfield Y staff and their attentiveness with her sons.
“I was just really impressed,” Page said. “I reached out to the Y because I feel like customer service in a lot of places are really lacking, and I felt like both of those employees—not just to my own kids, but every single kid—were so friendly and actually made you feel like you belonged.”
Along with the trained staff, members can only use the climbing equipment provided by the Y and not their own. The staff will also provide assistance for those needing help being attached to the wall.
Since opening, Page said she’s seen well over 50 Mansfield Y members a day utilizing the rock wall.
“We really took into consideration bringing something to the facility that was exciting for a population that didn’t really have a lot of things to choose from,“ Gilbert said,
Use of the rock climbing wall and youth center will be included in the Mansfield Y’s regular membership fees at no extra cost. For nonmembers, a $30 daily family pass gives a family access to all Y facilities.