How the challenges on our ropes course help kids grow
To the casual observer, the ropes course and aerial adventure course at Camp Walt Whitman might just look like elaborate, elevated play structures. But as campers navigate their challenges — like catching a trapeze bar 35 feet high in the air — they learn to push through their fears and hone their problem-solving skills.
Schools, camps, even companies use these adventure courses to foster team-building, build confidence, and improve communication skills and self-awareness. We debuted our first course in 1996, and now have 35 challenges overall in our circuit. The first level, a low ropes course just off the ground and a high ropes course 15 feet high in the air, includes 15 different challenges. Our brand-new Aerial Adventure Course, which debuted last summer, adds 20 new challenges to the circuit—ten that are 15 feet in the air and ten that are 35 feet high.
Our low ropes course is designed to foster teamwork. Each element — such as the spider web, the trolley, the nitro crossing, cat walk, and pirates crossing — demand teamwork from the group as elements can only be solved successfully by the group planning, listening, and working together.
On the high ropes and aerial adventure courses, campers gain self-confidence through a myriad of individual challenges. The pamper pole, for instance, requires campers to climb to the top of a telephone pole, stand up on the pole, and then jump out 8 feet and catch a trapeze bar.
Everyone is aware that even if they miss the bar (or lose their footing anywhere along the course) they are safely secured to the belay system that will slowly lower them to the ground. Even still, the courage required to jump is a terrific accomplishment, and campers gain a tremendous amount of self-confidence by overcoming their fear.
Solving these scenarios — surrounded by our licensed, expert instructors throughout — is a lot of fun for our campers. But it’s also one of the many experiences at camp that have a positive, lasting impact, too. When your camper returns home a little more sure-footed and self-confident, you’ll know why.