Blow to BMC Youth Program

The BMC´s youth development officer, Ian Fenton, is to leave the BMC later this year. Earlier today, Ian told planetFear that he felt ´a little bit jaded´ after his time as an officer in the body that represents the interests of British climbers. Ian has been responsible for the diverse youth development programme, including the successful BRYCS competitions, Gripped? magazine, national and international meets and youth training workshops. Ian leaves the BMC in a state of ´general disquiet´ and generally low morale. It is understood that his post will cease to exist after he leaves, and his existing workload will be redistributed amongst existing staff. The long term future of the BRYCS series is also in question, whilst the next series is not likely to be cancelled, the problem is: who will organise it? A source within the BMC commented that the current competitions officer, Graeme Alderson would be ´pushed to take it over´ considering his already high workload and the increased bureaucracy caused by the introduction of new child protection rules. Gripped? magazine is unlikely to continue, a rescue bid by a private sector would-be partner that Ian indicates ´would have been a brilliant step forward´ has been rejected leaving nothing in its place. While national youth meets are hoped to be continued by area committees, international youth meets are seemingly less viable. Political infighting within the BMC is between those who wish to progress the work of the BMC, and those who call for a return to ´grass roots´ activities, primarily returning the work of the BMC to access, conservation, and safety.In two months time, elections will take place for the new BMC president, currently there is only one nomination: Mark Vallance. Mark Vallance, who established Wild Country and The Foundry Wall (the UK´s first modern climbing wall), previously came to prominence after offering to give the Foundryto the BMC if the BMC would move from its Manchester location to Sheffield. Mark is known for a strong anti-competitions agenda, and if he takes the presidency, the future of competitions organised by the BMC will hang seriously in doubt. Whatever happens, the next year is sure to be a trying time for the BMC, and those who make it function.