Hello - I am Emily Hook and I have been climbing for about 4 years now and competing for 3. When I first started climbing, I never expected to be as involved in the sport and community as I am today. My first experience at ASCEND was a climbing summer camp in 2017. During the camp, I became engrossed in the climbing world, as I learned that it was more than a sport, it was a community. Compared to the many other sports I had taken part in before, climbing was less about winning, and more about uplifting others.
After completing the camp, I signed up for the A-Team, which I have been a part of ever since. It was nerve wracking at first, the feeling of being new and not as strong as the other members, but after the first few practices, I realized none of this mattered. There was nobody looking down on anybody else because they were newer to the sport and not as experienced, and nobody feared others because they were stronger and more experienced. The team was all about making relationships with other team members, learning from each other, failing with each other, and most importantly, succeeding with each other.
If there was anything I would say to new climbers, it would be to never be afraid of trying new things. Try that new move, try that really difficult climb, try competing, just try everything. You may fail, and when you do, try again. I have failed multiple times and it has been incredibly frustrating, but even though I fear being judged and ridiculed for failing, everybody is always so helpful and encouraging. When you fail, try again, because if you don’t keep trying, you won’t succeed. There is always a need for more youth climbers, so if you're interested in the sport, just try it.
Youth Team Member of the Year is the team member who attended the most team practices. Emily is awarded this title for the 2019 year, which we had planned to announce at our Third Year Anniversary party, but then ya know....COVID. Congratulations, Emily, for your dedication and hard work!