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The climb

To introduce the children to Jake Meyer, the youngest person at the time ever to climb Mount Everest (although that record has now been broken), and encourage them children to consider how they can tackle their own personal Everest.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To introduce the children to Jake Meyer, the youngest person at the time ever to climb Mount Everest (although that record has now been broken), and encourage them children to consider how they can tackle their own personal Everest.

Preparation and materials

  • All information on Jake Meyer taken from a talk he gave at a Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme presentation, in December 2010.
  • ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus, available to download (check copyright) – you could play the song as part of the Reflection or have it on when the children are arriving and leaving.
  • Four readers.

Assembly

  1. Leader: Let me introduce you to Jake Meyer, a most amazing climber who set out on the most amazing climb.

    At 12 years old, Jake was pretty useless at most traditional sports. He hated football. He was no good at rugby. One of his friends suggested that he tried climbing. So he did. And he absolutely loved it.

    At 14, Jake read an article about a challenge called the Seven Summits. It involved climbing the highest mountain on every continent in the world. And Jake thought: ‘I want to do that. I can do that. I will do that.’

    At 15, he climbed Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. By the age of 21, he had only one mountain left to climb – Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.
  2. Leader: On day 61 of his attempt to climb Everest, Jake and his team set out from camp on the final stretch of their expedition. Even though the temperature was minus 30 degrees and there was only 30 per cent of the oxygen in the air that we breathe normally, Jake set out strongly and in good spirits.

    But as time passed, Jake’s muscles started screaming ‘Stop! Stop! I can’t take any more!’ His lungs were gasping for air. His heart was pounding loudly in his chest. His legs collapsed under him and he fell down into the snow. He pulled himself to his feet, walked another couple of paces – and fell again. It took all his strength to drag himself to his feet, walk another few steps – and then he sank down into the snow again.

    He thought it was all over. He looked up – and the summit of Everest loomed over him, a vertical mile above where he was lying. There was no way he could make it all the way up there. The mountain had beaten him. He would have to give up.

    Then he noticed a rock sticking out of the snow a few metres ahead of him. He wondered if he could make it as far as that rock. He staggered to his feet, ignored his pain, walked on – and made it to the rock! ‘Well, if I can make it to that rock,’ he thought, ‘maybe I can make to the next rock.’

    And so he carried on, one small step at a time. One small victory after another. One small goal achieved at a time.

    Jake Meyer reached the summit of Mount Everest. At the time, he was the youngest person in the world ever to have conquered the highest mountain in the world.
  3. Leader: I wonder if anyone in this room will ever do what Jake Meyer did. I wonder if anyone here will ever climb Mount Everest. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. But I do know that each one of us here has our own Mount Everest to climb. Our own mountain in our life – something that we really want to achieve, but that feels far too difficult. Something that we are struggling with, something that feels as difficult to overcome as the highest mountain.

    Reader 1: I want to swim a whole length of the swimming pool, but at the moment, I can’t even swim at all. I’m never going to be able to do it.

    Reader 2: I want to be able to read a whole book, but I’m still struggling to learn my key words. I’m never going to be able to do it.

    Reader 3: I want to be friends with Katie again, but we’re not even speaking to each other at the moment. I’m never going to be able to do it.

    Reader 4: I want to be able to go to sleep with the light off, but I can’t even go to bed without my mum being upstairs. I’m never going to be able to do it.
  4. Leader: When Jake Mayer looked at the summit of Everest, he thought that he would never make it. When we look at the final goal, it may seem so impossible that we think we will never get there.

    But when Jake broke his climb down into more manageable targets, he did make it to the top. And when we break our goal down into smaller targets, then we can start moving towards our goal too.

    Reader 1: I’m going to ask my mum to take me to swimming lessons so I can work up through the stages.

    Reader 2: I’m going to concentrate on learning my key words and then move on to my next learning target.

    Reader 3: I’m going to start smiling at Katie and see where that leads me.

    Reader 4: I’m going to ask my mum to start moving down the stairs one at a time when I am going to sleep.

Time for reflection

Let us each take a moment to think about our own personal mountain as we listen to some words from ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus.

Song/music

‘We are climbing Jesus’ ladder’ (Come and Praise, 49)

Publication date: May 2011   (Vol.13 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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