Building Teamwork Skills and Self Esteem on the Ropes CourseApril 5, 2019
Ropes courses have been utilized in therapeutic adventure programs stretching all the way back to the 1960’s. They are a fun, challenging way to push people outside of their comfort zone and work through anxiety.
At Trails Momentum, students have the opportunity to engage in ropes courses each month during the Spring and Fall.
For many students, this is an amazing growth experience that they would never have considered taking part in before joining the program. Students have the chance to participate in both high ropes courses and low ropes courses.
High challenge ropes courses: what are they and how do they help young adults?
High challenge ropes courses provide an opportunity for students to push through feelings of discomfort or anxiety and work through the course at their own pace. These courses take place far from the ground and have a dynamic or static belay system that keeps you connected to the course.
The ropes course program at Camp Greenville works with Trails Momentum students to individualize each course for the specific needs of students. For example, if a student is struggling with anxiety they may be given an extended period of time to work through the high ropes course.
High ropes courses provide a chance for young adults to work on their own individual goals, whether that be pushing through anxieties associated with heights or completing the ropes course in record time. There are also opportunities to turn high ropes courses into a team initiative that encourages team building.
Low challenge ropes courses build teamwork skills
Low challenge ropes, as their name implies, are closer to the ground. The low ropes course that Trails Momentum students participate in are never more than 4 feet from the ground.
These courses provide an opportunity for students to build team building and communication skills.
For example, students participated in an activity that involved working as a team to move a set of logs from one side of the low ropes course to the other. They all had to stay on the log while carrying out this activity. In order to complete this task, they needed to communicate and work together to move the log and make sure that no one fell off. Students had to think quick on their feet to choose a leader and work together to keep everyone balanced while trying to accomplish the goal of getting the log across the course. This activity, and other activities on the low ropes course, help promote leadership skills, build trust among the team, and strengthen communication skills.
Adventure Programming at Trails Momentum
At Trails Momentum, our adventure therapy programming challenges students to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. Every weekend, students participate in adventure activities such as:
- Backpacking and hiking expeditions
- Rock climbing
- Mountain biking
- Whitewater rafting
Each activity is intentionally designed to encourage personal growth and reflection. After every adventure outing, students process their experience with peers, field instructors, and therapists. These processing discussions help students better understand what they learned about themselves through their experience and what new skills they’ve gained.
In addition to all of the therapeutic gains adventure programming provides, it also helps students find outdoor activities they love and will continue to take part in after they graduate from Trails Momentum. For example, we’ve had students who became really passionate about rock climbing during their time with us who went on to pursue that as a serious hobby after Momentum.