The announcement that budget airline Air Asia X has introduced child-free zones is no surprise. Hotels have done it and some restaurants do it, but should we want to separate the kids from the adults in adventure sports destinations?
After all, they just get in the way, right? Nothing worse than having to watch for the brat pack as it potters around your favourite spot, slows your progress and generally irritates.
But could you ever really separate children from adults in adventure sports? And would you want to in the first place?
I think that offering child-free zones on cheap flights is a good thing. But would it not be better to follow the ‘Colditz mentality’ and create a child zone, with all the little miracles together?
And as for the adventure sports designations and activities, it’s only about ability.
Age has nothing to do with this, and neither does sex – needed to be said as there are still some male dominated sports and ropey attitudes around: If you are good enough and safe enough, you’ve every right to be on the next wave.
Perceptions about young people and what they are capable off are also changing. And their ability at an earlier age is astounding – Jordan Romero scaled Everest at 13, and Brooke Raboutou, aged 11, is breaking climbing records before most adults are out of bed.
The two boys from the Vogel Family / Family on Bikes successfully cycled from Alaska to Argentina – and no doubt there were people saying they were too young…
I don’t believe we should ban children from any destination; carefully managing kids’ skills as they develop is key to their success and future safety in sports.
And there’s something I love about seeing young people – so often written off as lazy and obsessed with digital culture – getting out there and taking on the world and its adventures.
They remind us that anything is possible, make us reflect on what we could have achieved – if we’d started earlier and not been tempted by the finer things in life – fill us with ambition for the future, and help stimulate us to get off our arse and get more involved.
Have you ever taught young people in your sport? I can tell you it’s one of the most rewarding and refreshing things you’ll ever do.
So let’s hold off on any calls to further segregate them from the adult world – although, if I could have the little noisy ones checked in as hold baggage, I’d probably pay a premium.*
*Please note – I’m already getting enough grief from colleagues with kids for that last sentence, thank you very much!