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      Elite at Age 11; How Can Parents Help Kids Discover Their Personal Outdoor Passion?

      Do you have an outdoor prodigy in your family?

      A recent New York Times article showcases the impressive bouldering skills of 11-year-old Ashima Shiraishi, the daughter of Japanese transplants who settled in New York City.

      Ashima, who weighs 63 pounds, has already tackled complex bouldering challenges that, the article reports, "have already placed her among the elite in the sport."

      Maybe you have an accomplished young outdoor athlete—climber, cyclist, paddler, runner, snowboarder or skier—in your family. If so, what steps have you taken as a parent, family member or coach/adviser to cultivate their talents and enthusiasm for the activity? What has succeeded for you?

      In Ashima's case, neither the girl nor her parents were unaware of her innate climbing skills until Ashima, in kindergarten at the time, randomly discovered a boulder in New York's Central Park, where neighborhood climbers congregate. After a few ascents her talents quickly became apparent to the family and eventually she was climbing at a gym.

      kidsMaybe you know kids who are still searching for an outdoor spark. How can you introduce them to the outdoor activities that stir your soul?

      One starting point is the collection REI Expert Advice articles geared toward family participation in the outdoors.

      Some of the beginner-oriented offerings:

      • Backpacking with Kids
      • Hiking with Kids
      • Camping with Kids
      • Cycling with Kids
      • Geocaching with Kids
      • Kayaking with Kids
      • Skiing with Kids
      • Snowboarding with Kids
      • Kids and the Outdoors: 10 Tips

      The articles are a start, and sometimes a first step is all that's needed to help a kid to fall in love with the outdoors.

      Posted on at 4:03 PM

      Tagged: Bouldering, Climbing, Outdoors, REI Expert Advice and kids

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