Saturday, January 16, 2010

TAGteacher Spotlight - Juan Rodriguez

by Keri Gorman

I first met Juan at the local rock climbing gym a few years ago. We are part of a greater group of friends affectionately known as the “Rock Squad”. While hanging out on the rock, Juan and I discovered that we both had the desire to work with at-risk youth. I had already been using TAGteach in my youth programs and suggested that he might want to check it out. He attended a Portland seminar which was focused primarily on autism. Juan’s creative personality got him thinking outside the box right away and on the 2nd day, he showed up with climbing ropes and harnesses!

Since then, Juan has begun to implement TAGteach into the Nike World Headquarters rock climbing gym, where he works as an instructor. He has used TAGteach with many novice climbers with great results. Most recently, Juan and I gave a TAGteach clinic at the Smith Rock Detour, an outdoor climbing festival attended by outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country. Juan has presented at 2 other seminars, one at which he tagged professional golfers for boxing and climbing skills!

Juan was born in Mexico City and moved to Arizona when he was 4. He has been living in Portland Oregon for the past 7 years and has spent that time becoming an accomplished rock climber. He is currently sponsored by Mad Rock and Desert Scape and spends most of his time devoted to rock climbing and improving his climbing programs. He also works part time as in interpreter for local schools and hospitals. After a year of developing and refining TAG points for climbing, he said he is ready to implement TAGteach into all his classes at Nike. His hope is that tagging will be a way for parents to participate with their kids at the gym, instead of hanging back and watching. TAGteach has that added benefit of being a great relationship builder which will help set Juan’s class apart from others.

In the next few years, Juan hopes to focus his attention on building a solid climbing program with at-risk youth. Climbing has had such a positive effect on his life and he wants to give back to his community by sharing his passion with others. The work we are doing with the Juvenile Detention Center along with Juan’s continued development of TAG points for climbing should make this a reality soon. We’re just waiting for the funding to come pouring in!

Congratulations to Juan for receiving his Level 2 Certification this past year. It is well deserved for his commitment to TAGteach and his talent for teaching!

“Tagging teaches you how to be a more positive coach. It speeds up the time during lessons, leaving more time to apply them in the field. I love seeing the reaction when people experience it working first hand.”

Watch this video that shows one of several tag points that Juan uses in teaching rock climbing skills:

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