What it is
A challenge course, is a graduated series of events that presents physical, psychological and social challenges to individuals and groups. It is a confidence-building and problem-solving tool that emphasizes teamwork and communication while testing and stretching personal limits. Also known as ropes courses, challenge courses provide unique opportunities for groups to foster positive attitudes, self-discovery and trust. Life-shaping experiences can occur on the course, even for those who do not respond to traditional programs. Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Challenge Course is committed to this ideal.
How it works
The Challenge Course follows the Adventure Based Learning philosophy that we learn most effectively through actual experiences. Each activity reinforces relevant concepts to working in teams. By removing groups from typical classroom style environments, participants begin to think conceptually. Our workshops provide a challenge for successful team performances, and trigger learning that is transferable to the workplace and personal lives.
Why bring your group?
Your group will love the opportunity to interact outside their normal environment. Through the power of play, participants will:
- foster cooperation/teamwork
- develop communication skills
- create leadership skills
- build trust & cohesion
- demonstrate decision making skills and goal setting
- form stronger bonds
- and have a great time in the process
No prior skills, experience, or knowledge is required. It does, however, demand a sharing of common purpose among participants. The group plays both an active and supportive role throughout the challenge experience. Individuals discover they can bond together by their own uniqueness. Not everyone needs to be physically strong or a genius. The unique talents of each individual and group cooperation foster success.
Is it safe?
The groups and individual’s physical and emotional safety is our number one concern. Our facilitators are trained in safety procedures and work hard to ensure an atmosphere of trust and respect. Our well-planned program gradually leads participants from one step to the next and encourages the outward expression of trust by the participants. By emphasizing support and understanding over competition within the group, we create a healthy atmosphere for personal challenge. In addition we follow the principle of “Challenge by Choice.” This means that while our facilitators will encourage participants to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and into their learning zone, it will ultimately be up to the participant to choose how far they go.
Who can benefit from a program?
Everyone! The Challenge Course is the place to be for fun and creative learning opportunities. Whether they be leadership, management, communication, trust, or fun we have the right activities to meet your goals. Here are just a few of the groups which could benefit from a challenge course:
- Staff Training Seminars
- Core Management Teams
- Family Reunions
- Birthday Parties
- Teacher Training
- Classroom Retreats
- Sports Teams
- Scout Troops
Games and Initiatives: While teamwork and problem-solving strategies are required, the activities can also increase enthusiasm to participate, break the ice among members and stimulate creative thinking.
Low Course: Elements that are no more than several feet above the ground, focus on building an individual’s confidence and group skills at problem solving, communicating and trusting.
High Individual Elements: A part of the course that requires a roped safety system (belay system) that allows an individual to work on self-esteem in a supportive group atmosphere.
High Team Elements: Also part of the high course, belayed elements that require two or more individuals to complete. Focus is on assisting your partner or teammates.
In the Community
If you can’t come to us then we can come to you. The ITC (In the Community) program is intended for groups who cannot come to our course, or groups who simply don’t do the Outdoors. The ITC program is a sort of traveling ropes course, the idea is to bring the challenges that develop certain skill sets to our user groups. The ITC program operates very similarly to the challenge course so if your group wants to come to the actual course you won’t lose the progress they’ve made as a team! The ITC program only includes aspects of the Low Ropes/Group Initiatives course. Participants will go no higher than 2 feet off the ground. Please contact us to discuss your group’s specific goals and set up a date and time.
We offer a variety of program formats to fit your needs. From an action packed half-day to multi-day experiences, we provide the right experience for your group. As a county parks & recreation program we are committed to equal access regardless of budget. Let us custom design a program for you!
Scheduling a Group
The Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department would like to offer a challenge course experience to your group. Fees are based on the number of people in the group and the number of staff needed to run the course. Options for lunches are available from several nearby locations.
To find out more:
Greg Velzy, Adventure Programmer
Jan Olson, Challenge Course Manager