Challenge course opening soon

Activities include 3-story tall climbing wall, 42-foot zip line just off of Anderson Street

Construction on challenge course across from the Health Education Building

Kirk Lawler

Construction continues on the challenge course across the street from the Health Education Building.

Mouna Algahaithi, News Editor

Madison College is now the only technical college in the State of Wisconsin to have a challenge course on campus. The course includes a number of high and low challenges such as rappelling, zip lining and rock-climbing. Construction is on schedule to be competed before the end of the month.

“We’ve never had this before in our history of this campus,” Fitness, Health, & Recreation Director Scot Vesterdahl said. “It’s so convenient as it’s just a short walk from the Health Education building. We, as administration groups, have done these types of leadership building and found it has great value…so why not attempt to build a challenge course on our campus?”

Challenge, or ropes courses, have become increasingly popular. Their numbers have risen to 20,000 around the country today, up from only 5,000 at the turn of the century.
“It is a challenge course designed to help facilitate leadership training and team building. It gives people the opportunity to breakthrough and challenge the conceptions they have about themselves. It requires a great deal of communication and teamwork.”

Education, military, and business groups often seek out the courses. They are used to enhance leadership training, teach effective communication, and as a team-building exercise. Most importantly, they allow individuals to face his or her fears. Many people are somewhat afraid of heights, and are disinclined to jump off of very high things. The idea of stepping off a wooden stand into the air, with nothing but a harness strapped onto a tight chain, is gut-wrenching for many.

“It’s for everyone…students, faculty, the community, protective service people, athletic teams, any group can benefit from this leadership training, communication, and team building,” Vesterdahl adds.

There will be two, three, and six hour programs available. The two-hour program will focus on group initiatives and include icebreakers, effective communication skills, and a few low challenge courses, according to Vesterdahl. The three-hour program will build off the two-hour program, adding a three story climbing wall and rappelling.

“The six hour program is essentially two 3-hour sessions, building up from the low to the high challenges, such as zip lining 42 feet off the ground,” Vesterdahl said.

Each activity will be lead by a professional facilitator. All participants will be strapped into a secure harness.

“We’ve hired people who are trained to facilitate. … It usually breaks to down to one facilitator per group of 8-10 people. For example, the men’s basketball team is 20 guys, so it’ll need two facilitators,” Vesterdahl said.

Whether you’re an individual student, a group, a staff member, or even community members in search of some adventure, all are welcome at the course.

A few groups, such as the men’s basketball team, will be trying it out in October to help the Fitness, Health and Recreation department figure out the best way to utilize the course. The course will officially be a part of a Madison College program next spring.