The oncoming winter in Maine is a signal for some to withdraw into their homes and hibernate, but the students of Washington County Community College’s Adventure Recreation program are urging community residents to fight that compulsion and remain active. One method of doing so is by participating in a rock climbing competition at the college’s professional rock wall on December 16th. All proceeds from the event will go to Toys for Tots, ensuring that local children will receive additional holiday cheer this year.
Anyone with an interest in rock climbing is invited to participate in the competition, regardless of how much or how little experience they have. Participants will be divided into males and females and can then select a beginner, intermediate, or expert course to attempt. There will be two types of courses to choose from: top rope combined with bouldering, or ice climbing. All equipment will be provided in the gymnasium by the trained staff members and students supervising the event. The best technical climber – meaning the one that completes the course as it is laid out in the fewest attempts – will receive a grand prize in both the traditional and ice climbing events, while the second and third place climbers in the traditional event will also receive a prize.
The Christmas theme was specifically chosen this year in celebration of the approaching holiday, and, appropriately, Santa will be paying a visit to the event. The public and all spectators and participants are invited to take a picture with Santa between noon and 1:00 p.m. There will be a raffle held during the event, and participants and spectators can win tickets by preregistering online or wearing their finest ugly Christmas sweater. Items that will be raffled off include gift certificates and cookies donated from Crumbs in Calais.
The first 15 participants to register at the gymnasium between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. will receive a special tee shirt designed for the event, and all participants will be given a special event sticker. Additionally, hot dogs and chips will be provided during the event by WCCC Res Life.
The event is organized almost entirely by the students of the Adventure Recreation program, with the guidance of program director Scott Fraser. Organizing public events is part of the program’s requirements for students as many of them will go into trades that incorporate public interaction. For student Kari Goldeen, the experience has been a positive one that built on lessons learned at a previous smaller event. “We put together a program earlier this year for first year students. Having that under my belt has made this a lot easier,” Goldeen shared. “It’s a lot of work, but I kind of have an idea of what I’m doing.”
The students identified three goals for the competition, student Spencer McCormick said. “The first was to raise funds for Toys for Tots, the second was to bring awareness of outdoor activities to the community, and the third was to provide an enjoyable experience for the public.”
There is no age restriction on the event. Participants that are 17 and under or students with student IDs can register for $15, while non-student adults can do so for $20. There is no cost for spectators.