Andy Eisenburg stands in front of a climbing wall in KAP's youth space

Ketchikan Afterschool Program Supervisor Andy Eisenburg stands in front of a climbing wall in KAP's youth space at The Plaza mall. Photo courtesy of YaeJin Park

The Ketchikan Afterschool Program space in The Plaza mall is getting a new addition: a 10-foot-tall, 40-foot-long bouldering wall meant to teach Ketchikan youth the fundamentals of climbing.
The Ketchikan Afterschool Program is associated with Residential Youth Care, but is for all youth in the community and isn't financially supported by RYC, KAP Supervisor Andy Eisenburg told the Daily News during a recent interview.
In his role, Eisenburg supervises KAP's two AmeriCorps volunteers and general operations of the program. 
In addition to other educational and recreational programs provided at the KAP space in the mall, Eisenburg wanted to introduce climbing as an activity to local students.
"I've worked as an outdoor guide instructor," Eisenburg said. "I've taught indoor (climbing) classes for the University of Utah for a few years and just being a climber myself, here, I realized that ... among other things, there's not a lot of opportunity for kids to do stuff and there isn't a climbing facility here. So I figured that was one thing that I could kind of offer to this community. And so what we did is I came up with a design for a modular wall that we could utilize in the space and if need be, move to another space." 
The design work began in November and building began Jan. 1, and "Everything was complete by Feb. 1," Eisenburg said. 
The wall is built and painted, but fundraising is ongoing for the climbing holds that need to be installed on the wall, as well as crash pads.  
There will be time set aside solely for youth to use the wall, as well as times available for other community members.
In follow-up information recently sent to the Daily News via email, Eisenburg wrote that there will be youth climbing workshops from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 
"This will cover basic climbing technique, safety, fitness, introduction to climbing equipment and environmental responsibility," Eisenburg wrote. "We will also introduce and apply the concepts of 'risk management' and 'situational awareness' as part of the basic climbing skills which keep us safe on vertical terrain.'"
A community program will be held weekly from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Saturdays, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., the wall will be open to both youth and adults. 
"This schedule will be temporary and ultimately determined by the participants," Eisenburg noted in his information. "Additional bouldering sessions will also be possible based on participation." 
"This program is just beginning," he continued. "Ultimately it will be up to the community how much it evolves. Personally, I would like to see a full scale climbing facility in Ketchikan to complement the offerings at the rec center, and provide a place for yoga practice, tai chi, and other movement-based practices, as well as a venue for special events." 
A GoFundMe arranged for the project had raised about $855 of a $7,000 goal as of Monday afternoon.