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rock climbing

Go Rock Climbing with LightHouse!

Go Rock Climbing with LightHouse!

In the past few months, LightHouse has started an exciting new monthly excursion for LightHouse students – rock climbing! While thought to a dangerous sport by some, indoor rock climbing is a surprisingly accessible activity. With the literal hands-on approach to navigating the rock walls, this naturally tactile hobby requires little adaptation for blind and low vision adventure-seekers. And, with the help of the incredibly knowledgeable and friendly Paracliffhangers volunteers, rock climbing is quickly becoming a new LightHouse favorite!
“I had always wanted to go rock climbing,” says Youth Programs Coordinator, Andrew Martinez, “and when I heard about Paracliffhangers, a group of disabled climbers who climb regularly, I knew I had to join!”
So, Andrew set out to find the right indoor rock climbing gym that would accommodate and educate our community and would help make the sport and overall environment as accessible as possible.
“While Paraclimbing is fairly new, it continues to grow and gain support as gyms in the Bay Area. Many gyms have begun building routes to help blind and low vision climbers practice. Climbing has now become a great space for blind and low vision people and is an awesome way to meet other people with disabilities while getting in a great and exciting workout!”
If you are interested in discovering the sport of rock climbing, join us on Sunday, February 26, from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Meet at LightHouse HQ at 1155 Market Street, and as a group, we will travel on BART to the gym’s location at 2140 Mandela Parkway in Oakland. The climbing will begin at noon. All ages and skill levels are welcome, no prior experience is necessary. Equipment can be rented upon arrival for $10.
To RSVP to this month’s rock climbing event, contact Andrew at amartinez@lighthouse-sf.org or call 415.694.7642.

Just Try It: How non-visual instruction can help you reach your fitness goals

Just Try It: How non-visual instruction can help you reach your fitness goals

What does it mean to try something? What factors into whether you’ll take the leap to do something new, unfamiliar, and perhaps daunting?

Scientific evidence suggests that trying new sports and athletic activities, and learning new physical skills enhance brain function, bolster confidence and even increase self-control.

That’s why LightHouse’s Health and Wellness Coordinator, Amber Sherrard, has created a series of fitness programs to foster a ‘just-try-it’ mentality amongst her blind and low vision students. The Try It Workshops bring groups from the LightHouse community to fitness and sport studios in the Bay Area to try activities like pole dancing, aerial silks, lyra (aerial hoop) and more.

Hannah Chadwick, 27, said that she thought the pole class was a good introduction to the style of dancing, which she probably wouldn’t have tried alone. She said attending a class for the first time as a blind person can raise uncertainty about an instructor’s teaching style and level of knowledge about making the class accessible, noting that instructors are typically accustomed to teaching from a visual standpoint.

“It was super tactile and inviting — and that’s the kind of atmosphere you would want to go to,” she says.

Hannah said that the pole instructor used a tactile teaching style, which encouraged students to place their hands on her to feel her body’s movement and position in different poses and moves.

“When you walk into a group of sighted people you might not know what to expect,” says Hannah. “If there’s a class that you’re not sure you want to try, and the LightHouse offers it, it’s a great way to check it out because they know that you’re coming, and might modify the teaching style.”

She added that knowing the teaching style would not be purely visual made it easier for her to dive right it and try to learn a new skill. Plus, having a group to learn with fostered a welcoming, supportive environment.

Upcoming Try It Workshops will introduce additional varieties of fitness classes for anyone looking to try a new way to move. On Saturday, February 24, LightHouse will host an AcroYoga class at Bay Jiu-Jitsu in Berkeley. This class combines partnered yoga, acrobatics and thai massage for a dynamic movement experience.

On Saturday, March 9, Amber will host an Intro to Lyra class at San Francisco Pole and Dance. For those who’d like to try hip hop dance at LightHouse’s Headquarters, Amber is hosting an Intro to Hip-Hop Dance class on Saturday March 30.

These are great ways for National Fitness Challenge participants to stay fit! LightHouse has partnered the United States Association of Blind Athletes and Anthem Blue Cross for the challenge.

And, for those who seek weekly, accessible wellness classes – LightHouse offers meditation, chair fitness and more. From rock climbing to yoga, LightHouse has a fitness program for everyone.