Brooklyn Boulders Somerville will be holding tryouts for the SomerVillains, their inaugural youth climbing team, this Saturday. The rock-climbing team invites climbers ages 8 to 18 of all levels to come show what they’ve got on the rocks.
Dan Braun, the instruction manager at BKBS, said this will be Somerville’s first youth climbing team. The Brooklyn location has boasted a youth team for four years, and some of their climbers are already competing at the national tournament in Colorado, Braun said. He is excited to bring that opportunity to Somerville.
“Anyone can climb,” Braun said. “There is no obligation if you come and try out, plus you might find a passion you never had . . . It is great to start in your youth, because you have everything in front of you, and you can become a strong climber very quickly.”
Braun said there will be tryouts for two teams: a competitive team and a non-competitive team. The tryouts will compose of multiple stations where youth will traverse, climb, play games, and complete other activities that will help the coaches gauge climbing ability and how well youth work with instruction.
“We will be evaluating the kids on how focused they are, how well they take direction, and how strong of a climber they are. You can be on the competitive team and be a weak climber. If you’re very determined and take direction well, there’s no reason you can’t be on the team,” Braun said.
The season begins the week following tryouts and will last about 12 weeks. The second season will start in the fall, when tryouts will be held again, giving youth the opportunity to change teams.
Throughout the season, parents and climbers will carpool to weekend competitions that are held across New England. They will be participating in the USA Climbing's Sport Climbing Series this spring and the American Bouldering Series in the fall.
Braun said that it is always interesting for new gyms to start teams. He said typically a lot of younger kids will try out, but it does not take long for them to develop and improve their climbing abilities.
“Generally there will be a lot of younger kids ages 8 to 12, but they stick with it through the years. Then, you see 14- and 15-year-olds who have become very strong climbers and competitors,” Braun said.
Regardless of experience level, Braun said parents should consider bringing their children to the tryouts. He said rock climbing is something that can be done all over the world and the teams give kids a good foundation for a future in the sport.
“Rock climbing is great physical skill to have, but it’s also very mentally challenging: It’s a physical puzzle,” Braun said. “It’s a great combination of camaraderie and competition . . . They’ll develop as strong climbers, and the climbing community is a great one to be part of.”
Tryouts for the SomerVillains youth climbing teams will take place on Saturday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tryouts and gear rental are free. The price to participate on the noncompetitive team is $400 for the season, and the price to participate on the competitive team is $800 for the season. For more information or to register, visit their website.