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April 5, 2016 by
Jay Medley
Kids and teens at overnight lock-in events can have a lot of excited energy, so you can give them an outlet for it by locking them into a rock climbing gym! If you’ve ever planned a lock-in, or are currently facing the task, you know that it can be daunting and requires a lot of work before and during the event.

Well, it usually does. By holding a lock-in at a climbing gym, a lot of the pre-planning, set-up, and some hosting work goes away! Plus, you’ll give the kids a night that they won’t forget and you’ll boost their confidence as they learn new skills. Here’s how to plan an overnight rock-climbing lock-in:

First off, you’ll need to find a local climbing gym that offers overnight lock-ins, then find out about their offered activities, fees, and requirements. You should also ask about their cancellation policy before booking – you’ll need to make sure that everyone in your group is ready to commit before booking to avoid any cancellation fees.

The gym will likely have rules about how many adults you should have per group of children; for example, at Texas Rock Gym, they recommend having one adult for every five young climbers so that you have enough people to belay. Once you have the information, you can bring it to your group to see what they think and whether they’re ready to commit.

Getting adult volunteers for a lock-in can be a challenge – not everyone is brave enough to handle staying awake all night with a room full of kids or teenagers! However, it may be easier to pitch the idea when the event is at a climbing gym.

There’s no set-up, no brainstorming activity ideas, the volunteers can just show up to the event! The adult volunteers will be trained to belay the young climbers, which is easy to do. The gym may have guidelines about how many chaperones you need; for example, Texas Rock Gym recommends one adult for every five young people.

The adult volunteers don’t have to have a background in climbing, they’ll be taught everything they need to know by an experienced instructor.

Once volunteers have signed up and you have the OK from the rest of the group, there’s not much more to do. You can book any additional activities you want with the gym if they offer them, so that you don’t need to plan anything!

Additional activities are a great idea if you have a really active group who may want new activities through the night. You may want to bring some board games, simple crafts (like friendship bracelets or coloring sheets, nothing with paint or glue that could leave a mess in the gym,) or other activities in case some of the kids get tired.

Check with the gym about whether they have a space with tables or available floor space to accommodate these extra activities.

The gym should provide their waivers to you to have parents sign before the event. As kids sign up for the event, make sure to get parents’ contact information for your own file, but they’ll need to return the waiver to be able to climb.

It’s that easy – far easier than planning an entire lock-in and the accompanying activities from scratch! Holding an overnight lock-in at a rock climbing gym will make your life easier – and anything that makes an overnight event with a group of children or teens easier is well worth it!

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