Just in time for the busy spring and summer months, Blue Ridge Assembly is excited to introduce groups to our new Low Ropes Course! The outdoor adventure facility is the most recent addition to our program lineup that is intended to strengthen the Y mission of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
The new course was designed and built by Blue Ridge’s own Program Field Coordinator, Andrew McKinney, and Program Leader, Wayne Hines. Both staff members have undergraduate degrees in Outdoor Recreation and have extensive professional experience with challenge course construction and facilitation. The course is ACCT certified and also authorized by local challenge-course management firm Alpine Towers International, who built and inspects our other 6 climbing structures.
The new Low Ropes Course consists of 11 elements scattered throughout an intimate wooded setting adjacent to Lake Laurel and the Camp Cousins Challenge Course. These new elements include industry standards such as the “Spider Web”, “Whale Watch”, “Mohawk Walk”, and the “Flying Squirrel”. It also features our older Team Development Course which includes the popular “Trust V“.
The new Low Ropes Course rivals some of our high-ropes facilities in terms of physical and mental challenge and team-building potential. Each element has a specific objective, and when done in sequence, the entire course can be the perfect option for mature youth and adult groups wanting to focus on leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving in groups of 8-12 people. The Low Ropes program encourages new and different ways of thinking and pushes the group to pool their resources and work together to find solutions. Every session includes a debrief, where a facilitator leads participants in an open discussion as they reflect and process their experience. Our Low Ropes program can also be combined with Group Initiatives for a well-rounded and fun team-building adventure!
Recently the Program Staff attended a training and orientation to the new course. Here are some great photos from the field!
A HUGE thank you to the Ruth Camp Campbell and the Camp Younts Foundations in allowing this exciting program opportunity to happen!
High Ropes vs. Low Ropes
All challenge courses consist of a series of real and imaginary obstacles designed to encourage individuals or groups to work towards a common goal and accomplish a certain physical task. These challenges are designed to increase communication and break down physical and emotional barriers. Participants are often pushed beyond their normal comfort zones, which is when the most personal growth and empowerment occurs. These activities give members the opportunity to demonstrate their trust in facilitators, equipment, other members of the group, and most importantly, themselves!
Low Ropes Courses include a series of elevated cables, platforms, ropes and wooden beams one or two feet off the ground. Throughout a typical low-ropes session, participants will swing, step, climb, reach, balance, traverse and encounter other tests of physical strength, coordination, balance, and flexibility. The challenges focus on problem-solving and cooperation, requiring the involvement of very member of the group in order to succeed. These team-building activities are based on a sequence of events that progressively become more difficult to complete. Participants will even realize that “failure” can sometimes be considered a positive outcome and a learning experience! Though close to the ground, these challenges do still present a slight element of risk and danger, therfore all activities are monitored closely by trained program staff. Oftentimes group members must assume critical spotting roles for their team-member’s safety.
High Ropes Courses are pre-fabricated vertical climbing structures usually 25-50 feet high, constructed with utility poles, cables, bolts, and ropes. In a static course (such as our Odyssey, Diamond Extension, and Indoor Linear Courses) participants are attached to an overhead wire with fixed ropes and carabiners for safety. On a dynamic course (such as the Alpine Tower or Carolina Wall) participants go through the course connected to a rope that a trained facilitator will belay from the ground. High Ropes courses allow for the most individual self-discovery and personal growth from participants because of their extreme height and physical challenge. The adrenaline-rush associated with setting and achieving personal goals, and overcoming fears helps to build confidence, self esteem and foster a sense of unity among groups.
All of our programs have the ability to inspire, motivate, and change lives! Of course, the most important element in all of our Challenge Course facilities is FUN! Both low and high ropes courses promote physical activity, personal development, and relationship-building, helping us to better serve youth and guests as we fulfill the YMCA mission.
To learn which type of challenge course would best fit the needs of your group, please contact Danielle Tocaben, Sales Director at (828) 210-8457.
In other Program news…our Predator & Prey woodland course has undergone a recent makeover. The food and water stations have been repainted, new boundaries were established, and several fun new “twists” were added to the game. Predator & Prey is the perfect program option for 5-8th graders, where participants simulate the food chain and survival in a typical forest environment through a fast-paced and educational game of “tag” in the woods.
To learn more about our diverse Program offerings, please visit our website or contact Program Director, Peggy Eckel at (828) 201-2142. We look forward to seeing you out on the field!