Well, TFC, if you haven’t heard talk of the excitement, here it is: ROPES COURSE ON CAMPUS! No lie. After speaking with Professor Ernie DeWitt, instructor of Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness Medicine, here is the info you may be interested in that we can leak to your ears and eyes! DeWitt has answered a series of questions as follows below:
From where has the ropes course been acquired? The ropes course was donated by Shane Sullards, one of the adjunct Professors for OLE.
Where will it be located? It will be located in the flood plains, opposite the end that leads to the married student housing.
How will it get there? We have a class this semester called Adventure Based Education that teaches students how to design, construct, and facilitate experientially based learning initiatives. For part of this class the students will help with the design and construction of the course.
What purpose will it serve? The course will be used to develop and enhance skills that may be weak or lacking within a group. In addition, it can highlight the positive aspects of a group. Most of the initiatives will require a group to work together to complete. Within this process can come many thoughts and emotions that can be beneficial or detrimental to the group. Ropes courses like these can help bring all these issues out and allow the group to process them thus allowing the group to be better equipped in life to deal with challenges that may arise in the future. This is called transference of learning and can be very beneficial to the individual as well as the group.
Who will have access to it? It will be open to groups on and off the campus, but will require an OLE trained facilitator to use it. This is simply for consistency and safety.
How will it be assembled? The Adventure Based Class will walk through the process of how to build a ropes course including supplies needed, engineering principles, safety issues and other considerations. After this the class will be divided to work as groups on specific sections of the course. Once the course is completed they will have a chance to facilitate a group using the course.
How much time goes into assembling and strategically placing a ropes course? It depends on how large and complex the course. If I were to take a guess at how much time we will have in this course I would guess about 1000 person hours.
Who will be responsible for tending to the care of it? The instructors of the OLE program will be responsible for safety checks and keeping up the equipment.
If it is not accessible for all students, will there be fines or some sort of negative outcome for using it aside from adequate supervised activity? This is an issue that I could not fully address because I do not deal with fines or disciplinary action. I can say that the course will have signs indicating no one is allowed on the course without permission from administration and/or the OLE professors and can only be used with trained facilitators. Many people assume that because it is a low ropes course it is not dangerous, but this is a misconception.
When can TFC expect the entire course to be up and running? The goal is to have it up and functioning by summer of 2013.
What kind of ropes course is it? This course will be a low ropes course. All elements will be under three feet high. It will be designed in a three triangle configuration with each triangle being more challenging than the other. This will allow a group to choose their challenge, which opens the group up to many additional experiential learning issues related to challenge.
In addition to the low ropes course, the Adventure Based Education class will be constructing a bouldering/rock wall with a three part low elements course for preparation beside it. This will be located next to the Christian Education Building, where you may have seen a lot of cement and rubble torn up recently. The excitement on campus is building; literally!