WSU Recreation Center Helps Community Become More Active in Rock Climbing | Local

Every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the next four weeks, children aged 3 to 14 will have the chance to enjoy the facility’s rock face at a reduced rate.

But the fun doesn’t just end with their age range, as their families and other members of the community, with climbing harnesses available for all ages, can also attend for the regular rate.


Mike Henderson, WSU associate director of the Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, explained that after having had to be closed twice for long periods in recent years – once during renovations to the Education Village, and then again for the pandemic – the Staff wanted to provide an opportunity not only for the students to enjoy the world class rock face, but also the community around the school.

“While we were able to reopen, we tried to make a concerted effort to re-engage with our community,” said Henderson, who said the facility is the largest compared to any other institution in the Midwest.

However, it was not just the staff who were keen to share the space with the community, as Henderson mentioned that donors who helped provide the large rock face had expressed their wish that the space be open to the general public. .

People also read …

As people who enjoy outdoor recreation, including rock climbing, Henderson said he and the staff at OERC wanted to host evenings for young people in hopes of breaking boundaries that might prevent children to participate in such activities.

WSU educational village

Audrey Diesslin pushes back the WSU climbing wall in 2019.

Craig Johnson, Winona Daily News

Already, to break down borders, the OERC has been striving to offer free rock climbing at Pain de Sucre for many years.

As for the first Tuesday of the Youth Nights, Nov. 2, Henderson said it was a success with 48 people participating, with some showing up as early as 4:30 p.m.

Henderson said his favorite part of the first night was, “Honestly, it’s just the idea that we’re able to involve more families in outdoor recreation.

He has said, like many other people who are passionate about an activity, that he enjoys helping other people develop a passion for rock climbing and other outdoor activities as well.

WSU educational village 2

People are pictured using the rock wall at WSU in 2019.

Craig Johnson, Winona Daily News

Henderson enjoys seeing families participate in rock climbing with the OERC on a regular basis as they are starting to choose this as their preferred option on how they stay active together.

For more information on youth nights and other opportunities at WSU, visit