Learning the Ropes

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Located near the Barbara Ying Center, the Challenge Course may look like fun and games, but it serves as a way to determine how people face difficult tasks, communicate in groups and solve problems in real time. 

Out here, people learn that there are different types of leadership skills. Not everyone leads out front, and that’s OK. Some people like to lead by example, others like to lead from behind the group.
Nathan Vink, outdoor adventure assistant director for the Recreation and Wellness Center





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With the high-elements course, which combines climbing and balancing, participants learn to work together and face their fears while developing physical and mental problem-solving skills. 


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These same skills are honed with the low-elements course — for those wanting a challenge, minus the heights.
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The Challenge Course uses the Odyssey III high-elements course, which starts with a climb up a rope net and finishes with a zip line.
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About 1,200 students use the Challenge Course each semester.
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The high-elements course takes an average of 3 hours to complete per group and has a maximum height of 40 feet.
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A student climbs up a rope net onto the first platform of the high-elements course. 
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A group of RWC staff members try to complete the high-elements course as a part of their training and to test their abilities to work together as a team.