Thursday, 24 September 2009


In her own time, she shines!

This past spring Effie first met the climbing wall at our nearby Adventure Camp and couldn't get past the harnesses and helmets she would have had to wear to join in the climbing. So she watched, taking it all in, storing it up.

Monday morning we talked - did she want to go, it was the climbing wall scheduled for today's session? Yes. We go. Yes she wants to put on a harness & helmet. Yes she climbs the easy wall - about halfway - a couple of times. Then the groups change sides and we are on the team climb trying to get 4 kids up a pole to the tiny crow's nest platform. Four other kids volunteer first. Effie watches. One kid drops out, and Lindsay, our phenomenal instructor, encourages Effie to join the lineup, saying she doesn't have to climb, but can just hold the space and see. Effie watches. A couple of other kids try, get partway, then want down and out of the whole enterprise. Effie watches them get boosted up on an adults shoulders and reach for the first staple. She decides she'll give it a go. Lindsay calls me over to man the belay rope as Effie has requested. Effie gets manhandled up onto Lindsay's shoulders and boosted up the pole. She reaches the first staple and goes up a couple more, looks down, and says she's done. But she doesn't unclip, she wants to watch and wait. A couple more kids get partway and then are done. A little monkey named Hannah finally makes it up the pole and waits on the platform. Effie wants to try again. A different parent boosts her up, and she gets about the same distance up before coming back down. She watches another couple of kids get partway, then come down and unhook. She tries again. This time we can see she wants to go higher but can't quite find handy staples to move to, so Hannah's mum suggests starting at a different spot on the pole where the staples are placed more like a ladder, the route Hannah took.

Effie comes down and moves around the pole and gets hoisted up again. She gets to the wooden part and stops, waits, thinks, listens to the suggestions and encouragement being called up to her. It isn't clear to any of us whether she wants to go higher, but she isn't asking to come down, she's just waiting. Eventually she moves up the ladder one rung. And waits again. She does this about 4 times, waiting each time, giving no indication how far she is wanting to go. At one point her rope gets caught and she has to let go with one hand to free it. The wooden ladder part leans out from the pole so making that last move up and over onto the platform means leaning back and feeling like you're going to fall off. Lindsay uses the rope to boost her a bit for the last push and Effie gets onto the platform. I am crying, everyone is cheering, and Effie later admits she was so scared she almost cried herself.

She was one of only 6 kids in the entire group who reached the platform. She inspired all those watching and got lots of shout outs in the closing circle. Her own contribution to the circle was that she was proud of making it to the top. But since then she has not really wanted to talk about it at all. Her process is so internal. But when she is given space and the freedom to use it when she is ready, man, she can really blow you away!

Steven manned his camera to take shots at both the climbing wall and the pole... woo hoo:


MMmommy said...

Yahoo Effie, said quietly

super stoked crowed in Pville thrilled to check out the photos

tons of love for you

memet said...

Oh I am so happy for you Effie! I was hoping that people had fun at WildKids last week. It was great to read about your exploits.

Rachel said...

And now I cried too! :) Love to all of you!