Momentum’s Youth Program Instructors

Story by Devin Ashby, Youth Programs Director.

If you have spent any time at Momentum in the afternoons on a weekday, you’ve most likely noticed a large number of youth throughout the gym. These youth are not there by accident, nor are they there just to climb the wall and get a high five when their feet touch the ground. No, these kids are part of Momentum’s Youth Programs, and they receive coaching from the greatest coaches of any gym in the area.

Being a coach at Momentum is a task that cannot be taken lightly. Our competitive climbing teams have seen national champions and high placing competitors in bouldering and sport climbing. But these kids have not done it without any help. The coaches are a huge part of the success of these kids. Starting with the little three year olds that learn the essentials of climbing at the same time they are learning their own motor skills in the ABC Kids program.

Parents of the 3-7 year olds have the privilege to see Mary Morgan in action as she teaches these little ones all about climbing, and how fun it can be. Mary, who is from Utah, has been around climbing most of her life, and is amazing when it comes to working with young children. She first learned about climbing when she was four years old, climbing with her father. Having worked for Momentum for a year now she has developed the ABC Kids program into the perfect introduction to climbing and developing skills as a young child. She has really helped bring the family atmosphere into Momentum by including these young kids in the community of climbing.

Mary in an ABC Kids class.

Mary in an ABC Kids class.

Fall is a really exciting time at Momentum, because this time of year we see a handful of new kids who come to try out our amazing Base Camp program. Base Camp has been the longest running program at the gym, and is run by two very talented head coaches. Dawn Young, a native of Maine, has been with Momentum since the facility opened its doors. Climbing has been part of her life for nearly 20 years now, and brings such great talent to the Base Camp program. Anyone who has watched Dawn with her Base Camp kids can see her passion and love for the sport. “Momentum is a great place for kids to learn, and a great place for kids to get inspired by others. I love that I can point out a crazy good climber to the kids doing the exact technique we’re working on as a group”, she says. And it is true; Momentum always has a mix of people who are learning what climbing is, and others who have virtually mastered the sport.

Dawn Young out in Big Cottonwood Canyon with Base Camp.
Dawn Young out in Big Cottonwood Canyon with Base Camp.

Because Base Camp has turned into such a large program, the need for two coaches was important to keep the program growing. Kirsten Woods coaches the Monday Jr Base Campers. After moving here about three years ago, Kirsten found her way into the Base Camp shortly after. “I’ve seen the world in a new light, because of climbing,” she says. She found climbing through several avenues, including friends, and even a biology teacher she had. If you’ve observed Kirsten while coaching, you’ll notice her level of patience and understanding as she works with the kids to help them progress and become stronger climbers. She brings a lot to the table through her education and experience with the outdoors.

Kirsten Woods coaching Jr Base Camp.
Kirsten Woods coaching Jr Base Camp.

Momentum’s newest program, the Youth Club, has seen a complete restructure and a new head coach hired to take the lead on the vision of the program. Nicole Brandt, who also runs our amazing Summer Camp program has turned Youth Club into an exciting and challenging environment for the youth that she coaches. Nicole says that, “I love the challenge of being able to communicate why you are passionate about a sport, and then seeing the kids eyes light up when they get it!” Recovering from rotator cuff surgery, she has been able to turn Youth Club into a club of kids that challenge each other and work together to get stronger. These kids meet twice a week and have high expectations to meet from their coaches. With a wealth of knowledge in corporate facilitation and facilitation of kids camps, she only adds to the caliber of coaches that all Momentum youth programs have.

Nicole Brandt and the big swing at this years summer camp.
Nicole Brandt and the big swing at this years summer camp.

With all of that we cannot forget our incredibly skilled coaches that help send our competitive team to the leader board of any competition these kids compete in. Austin Lee, Noah Bigwood, Jeff Pedersen, and others, bring more to the table than these kids may realize, but they receive coaching from some of the best in the area. Many of these kids who have ranked nationally, like Nathaniel Coleman, have been coached by Jeff and Noah, and help make Team Momentum one of the strongest teams in the country.

Rock climbing is an amazing sport, and an amazing way for a child to learn skills that will help them to develop into active individuals. Having the talented and skilled coaches at Momentum sets our programs above the rest. We are always looking into each program to see how we can make it better for the kids, parents, and the coaches that invest so much personal time to seeing that these amazing young climbers are successful and find a passion for the sport. Visit our youth program pages at Momentumclimbing.com to learn more about each program.

The Youth Programs Director, Devin Ashby, teaches an Explore Bouldering class.
The Youth Programs Director, Devin Ashby, teaches an Explore Bouldering class.
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