The First Step towards a Climbing Wall: Writing a Proposal

By Ryan, Stu; Voss, Rod et al. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, September 2001 | Go to article overview

The First Step towards a Climbing Wall: Writing a Proposal


Ryan, Stu, Voss, Rod, Maina, Michael, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Climbing has experienced a dramatic change over the past several decades, as the outdoor hobby broadened to include various indoor activities. Simple concrete walls with unmovable holds were first created to accommodate climbers desiring to train indoors during the winter. Indoor walls have advanced from the simple structures built in England during the 1960s to the complex facilities seen in today's X-Games (Mittelstaedt, 1997). This change is due in large part to the French, who reinvented indoor systems by creating interchangeable handholds that allowed for various climbing routes (Mittelstaedt). Climbing walls are now seen indoors and outdoors, permanently installed or portable, hosting international competitions in which Americans are enthusiastically involved. In fact, climbing is currently a "World Cup sport with proposed Olympic status" (Hyder, 1999, p. 32).

While many people enjoy climbing competitions, others want to climb for fun and fitness (Jacobs, 1992; Wescott, 1992). Teachers were quick to recognize the many benefits related to climbing (e.g., strength and flexibility development), and several articles have provided relevant information on topics such as curriculum ideas for climbing (Hyder, 1999) and wall construction (Steffen & Stiehl, 1995). Consequently, numerous schools have built climbing facilities. This idea is sure to intrigue many teachers; however, the risk-management considerations and the lack of general knowledge concerning this relatively new sport may make implementation seem intimidating. Fortunately, research strongly supports the safety of climbing in school settings (Hinson, 1998; Steffen & Stiehl), and curriculum strategies are becoming more defined (Gordon, 1998; Hyder). Also, more qualified instructors are available due to the rapid growth of climbing in the public and private sector. With climbing becoming more acceptable to the g eneral public, it is hoped that teachers will take the initial steps needed to construct a climbing wall at their school.

Typically, the first step in such a project is to write a proposal to school administrators. Writing a proposal for a topic that is unfamiliar to many teachers will likely meet resistance. Thus, knowing the basics of this process is essential if teachers want to get their students up and climbing. This article describes the five principal components of a successful climbing-wall proposal: (1) a purpose statement, (2) a description of the project's goals and objectives, (3) a review of the relevant literature, (4) a description of the methods that will be used, and (5) a budget. Examples of each of these components appear in a model proposal (see the sidebar, beginning on page 46).

Purpose

The value of building a climbing wall for one's students and community might seem obvious to a physical educator. Yet principals and other administrators with less background in the components of skill development and fitness will want to know all of the details. They will want a clear picture of exactly how wall-climbing will enhance student learning. The purpose statement is the appropriate section of the proposal for such a description, and it should therefore precede all other components.

Goals and Objectives

Clear and concise goals and objectives are essential and need to be supported by the rest of the proposal. Reviewers will be confused if different sections of the proposal are unrelated or contradictory. The goals and objectives should not be long and drawn out, but rather short, clear, and to the point.

Review of Literature

This section gives the teacher an opportunity to affirm the value of the project with related research findings. Administrators will be concerned primarily with risk management (Mittelstaedt, 1997) and cost (Hinson, 1998). Thus, they will want to see evidence in your proposal of successfully implemented climbing walls at other, similar schools. …

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