BRATTLEBORO — “All Brattleboro needs next is a climbing wall and Frisbee golf,” Dennis Smith said.
The skatepark at the Boys and Girls Club in Brattleboro was a joyous place for my two sons and their friends as they transitioned from children to teens.
This group, with brothers from at least three families, were a mixed-age bunch, and skating was an activity they could all do together, learning from each other and laughing as they flew on the half pipes and made their skateboards jump on the rails.
If there was any sense of competition, it was far less evident than the shared camaraderie of skating.
As they grew, my younger son, Henry, spent many hours setting routes on the club's little climbing wall, and my older son, Tommy, got into climbing outdoors. Both still skate and climb as adults, and in 2017, Tommy opened BrattCave, a bouldering gym in the Cotton Mill building in Brattleboro, with two friends and a lot of community support.
BrattCave remains the only public climbing gym in the area and regularly welcomes climbers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, more distant Vermont towns, and visitors from out of state.
Like the friendly interactions I loved to see at the the Boys and Girls Club skatepark, laughter, interest and support are the dominant themes among the climbers I've spent time with.
By the way - Brattleboro also has a Frisbee Golf course.