“The organization was created by youngsters, for Youngsters”

Andy Van Camp

How did you come up with the idea of the Organization? And how does it work?

For many years there was a youth mountaineering course organized by the Natuurvrienden Bergstijgers, after several courses where the youngers were qualified to be able to do the mountain sports independently, but there was a need to organize themselves in a group for costs, transport and fun.
Natuurvrienden Bergstijgers is the Mountaineering group of ATB De Natuurvrienden.

Therefore, few youngsters created CLIMB  (Cooperation of Lustful and Irresistible Mountaineering Belgians) out of ideas formed in an indoor climbing hall between some climbing friends and brought to life on a traditional weekend. It was created by youngsters, for Youngsters. That soon was actively present in IYNF when the focus those days was on outdoor sports education.

There is no official membership for CLIMB, if you are a member of Naturefreinds-Bergstijgers and younger than 21 years old you are an automatic part of it. CLIMB runs on a few volunteers that organizes activities, but mainly takes part in the national activities, but takes care of all the organization for the youngsters and connects them.

Which is the biggest challenge you’ve faced (or you are facing) since setting up this no-profit organization?

As we work on a national level and not on a local level the challenges are mainly in the changing priorities and interests of youngsters, reaching out to the youngsters and motivating them to stay in contact and do things together. Also the follow up of the volunteers in the so called CLIMB core team (group of 4 volunteers running the CLIMB organisation at the moment) is not easy as youngsters these days already have a full agenda with studies and local activities.

Which kind of reactions/feedbacks does the Organization receive?

Still as positive as at the start. The, let’s call it service, has evolved in that way that on activities we run a kitchen for the youngsters with tables and tents as well as into a mobile Bar to the comfort of the adults on the activities and through which CLIMB gathers funding to make travel and activities for the youngsters affordable.

In your opinion, which role does the Organization play in Belgium society and the life of young people?

As CLIMB is a national organisation with no local branches it does not play a vital role on a local level.

Can you talk about the activities of the Organization during these years?

Mainly we participate in all the activities of the adult organization with a slightly adapted program and organisation. These are monthly climbing weekends, yearly camping, hiking and boulder camp to Fontainebleau, participating in orientation contests and every few years organize the orientation contest, every once and a while separate activities just for youngsters.

Can you share with us experiences and motivation, highlights or something cool or inspiring you experienced during activities?

Youth Course Mountaineering is the core of new ‘members’ and the final week high up the mountains is always the highlight of several youngsters. You can see more on our Facebook page.

Looking back at when you started the movement, is there something you would do differently?

Not that I can think of, the organization is driven by youngsters and their interests, they decide on the route CLIMB follows but will always be strongly connected to mountaineering and the adult organisation.

What’s next for the CLIMB?

New members for the CLIMB core team, the oldest member is by now becoming 36 and was since the beginning in the core team then changed several times in the years CLIMB existed (bigger, smaller, members coming and going). It is time for new fresh young ideas and energy taking the lead in CLIMB.

The other core members slowly took other responsibilities in the adult organization like being President on local or national level.

Also strengthen the connection with IYNF on International Level, find common grounds to have shared activities. 

Andy Van Camp
Core member of CLIMB and former trainer in IYNF, 
the youth branch of Natuurvrienden Bergstijgers, 
the mountaineering group of ATB De Natuurvrienden