Kindness. Contemplation. Creation. Connection.
It was an amazing 6 days at the Youth World Climbing Championships in Victoria, doing the flag project and learning a little about the sport of climbing. The competitors who came by my tent to paint little flags were smart and kind, and helped each other and had such great attitudes! I met youth, adults and children from all over the world: Japan, Korea, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Canada, USA, Germany, Luxembourg, England… the list goes on.
On the third and fourth days we strung them across the country team tents. This picture was taken during a break on the last day. The officials and teams had to leave while the routes were set for the finals.
I noticed later that people began to congregate near the tents under the flags. The little fluttering flags drew people to them, animating and decorating the space, making it a natural and comfortable place to sit in relaxed groups, or walk around and look at the flags.
By making flags and hanging them around the site, people personalized the site and made it their own.
I photographed the flags and posted them online, Climbers Connected, and on Facebook. Now it will be like a treasure hunt again as people look for their flags or their friends’ flags. People can share their experiences – the climbing, the competition and the site activities – with their friends and family at home, wherever they live in the world.
Over the next few months, Kimanda Jarbeziak, the event coordinator, will be working with volunteers to sew a giant ‘quilt’ that will be gifted to Stelly’s Cross School. Stelly’s hosted the event in partnership with Boulders Climbing Gym, and having a lasting memento of this historic occasion will be great for the school and its students. If you, or someone you know, lives in the Victoria area and can sew and would like to volunteer to help make the quilt, please contact Kimanda through Boulders Climbing Gym: http://climbtheboulders.com/
During the awards ceremonies on the last day, the sun gently sank into a beautiful, voluminous cloud, sending fingers of light into the heavens as its palm lit up a new day below. It was spectacular and a perfect finish to a wonderful event.
There was an after party for the athletes and volunteers. A DJ got the crowd going and there was much singing and dancing and laughing. It was excellent!
I learned that night how serious this competition is. They drug test during and after the competition. The last person to be tested wasn’t finished until 11:30pm.
It was wonderful to bring together art and sport at this event. We made 257 flags in total. I hope you will take the time to look at them and share the link with your friends: http://climbersconnected.wordpress.com, or on Kindness Flag Project Facebook Page. Please leave a comment and tell a story of your experiences at the event.
Keep the good momentum going!