Behind the Business: Twin Falls gym offers mental and physical wellness in an inclusive space

Gemstone Climbing Center boasts a space which is safe and welcoming for all
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 4:36 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The importance of physical and mental wellness has come to the fore during the pandemic. One gym has found a way to help residents “climb out” of their pandemic woes by providing a fun and inclusive environment.

When you first step into Gemstone Climbing Center, it’s immediately clear it’s a gym unlike any other in Southern Idaho. A key hallmark of the business is it welcomes everyone regardless of age, ability and body type. It’s a mission the center embodies wholeheartedly, which is why they are ADA accessible and offer an adaptive climbing program for children with special needs.

“Children with special needs are able to climb onto the wall and get vertical,” said Adaptive Director Kandice Johnson. “Many of them have never left the ground before, so to be able to get vertical and climb on a wall that has Skittles-like colors spread all over the place is really fun and intuitive for them.”

Gemstone has several socially-distanced adaptive climbing courses that allow participants to remain safe while physically working their body in new ways.

“It gives children with special needs that ability to get out from home, sitting in their wheelchair to being vertical,” Johnson said. “They’re able to spread their body out — spreading their arms and limbs and getting to stretch in different ways.”

Youth programs at the gym have been a hit with the children of Twin Falls and staff have noticed the positive effect interacting with their peers has had, particularly during the pandemic.

“It’s a great physical workout, but it’s amazing to see children bloom and blossom socially, as well,” said Programs Director Patty McFarling.

This gym isn’t just for the kids though. Not only do they offer adult climbing classes, but they also have a host of yoga and fitness course offerings. Some parents have even taken to attending a yoga class while their children climb.

“Mom gets to do yoga and then the children have their social and physical moment while climbing too,” McFarling said. “Both parent and child are ready to start the day after that workout.”

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