Starting a Tree Climbing Club
In the city where TCI was founded, the Atlanta Tree Climbing Club (ATCC) is alive, well and climbing some extraordinary trees. Most of the founding 26 members are from the Atlanta metropolitan area, but some are from as far away as Florida and North Carolina. They all love tree climbing and want to climb regularly with others. Once a month, they meet and climb together. Sometimes they go on overnight adventures to other locales.
You, too, can build a local Tree Climbing Club. It only takes two people to get started! You may want to follow the guidelines below, which were adopted by the ATCC. They are modified (for publication) and posted here with permission.
If you already have a tree climbing club organized, please let us know! We want to add you to the list so that other climbers can find you.
HOW TO START A TREE CLIMBERS CLUB
Find a place for your club to meet and a safe place to climb.
Recruit members. Start with a list of the people in your area that you think would be interested in forming a recreational tree climbing club. For starters, if you are a TCI member, you can use our "Climber Finder" to contact other potential members of your club.
Establish a club structure. No matter how many people are in your club, there will still be things to do to maintain it. Find committed members who will accept responsibility and take on the nuts and bolts of organizing meetings and climbs, keeping records, handling funds, and enforcing your rules and regulations. ATCC has a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.
Establish Club rules and protocols. Your club will have its own personality, and the rules you establish will define it. At ATCC meetings, majority votes carry on any decisions made for the group.
Collect an initiation fee or membership dues. These will pay for snacks, expenses, etc.
Communicate consistently. Keep everyone informed about meeting dates, club climbs, and general information that may affect the tree climbing community in your area.
Adopt club rules for safe climbing. The ATCC's climbing credo is simple: "Climb Safely, Respect Others". We follow TCI's "Guidelines for Safe Tree Climbing" because these have kept tree climbers around the world safe ever since recreational tree climbing started.
Set up a "buddy system" to make sure that everyone is safe.
Do all members have gear? If not, do what you can to make sure they can borrow equipment from someone.
Consider adopting a skills level rating system for climbers, particularly if you think you have a range in members' experience and training. At the very least, be aware of members' skills so you can pair experienced with inexperienced climbers on a climb. This also increases everyone's enjoyment of the experience, as advanced climbers get to share what they know with novices, who get to learn in a personalized way.
Consider adopting a difficulty rating system for trees. This will make it easier to select climbing trees for an outing which are appropriate to the skill level of the people who will be climbing. The ATCC uses the TCI "Difficulty Ratings" system for assessing trees.
Consider inviting young climbers to join your club. The ATCC welcomes children; at climbing events, they must "buddy" with an experienced climber who accepts responsibility for making sure they are safe throughout the climb.