Eastern Washington University is offering community groups an opportunity to build their teams through challenge courses that take place on an amped up outdoor playground. Located in Cheney, the grounds feature 40-foot poles, beams, ropes, cables, logs, tires, and other obstacles that are incorporated into organized activities geared toward each group’s objectives.
According to program director Chris Cindric, courses may take place close to the ground or high in the air, depending on goals. Even though participants may climb and belay, Cindric notes that no experience with these skills is necessary.
The program welcomes groups of up to 36 from Inland Northwest businesses, school districts, non-profits, and other such organizations. Participants are typically adults, but activities may be designed for students as young as third grade. The program does not accommodate activities such as birthday and bachelorette/bachelor parties.
Groups commonly come to the program seeking to practice communication and listening skills, says Cindric. They also want to develop trust, step out of their comfort zone, and improve decision making. The “Team Triangle” (which utilizes low elements) is one example of an activity that facilitates this type of growth. In this activity, groups start on a platform, move out onto pole-attached cables, then progress from pole to pole along the cables. To successfully complete the Triangle, the group must assess and plan before beginning and communicate well along the way.
Courses are led by EWU students working toward an Experiential Education and Group Facilitation minor. These students learn technical, leadership, and group management skills. Programs are typically scheduled for Fridays during EWU’s spring (April to June) and fall (September to December) quarters. Youth camps are offered during the summer. Pricing runs from $60 to $180 per hour depending on group size. Visit Ewu.edu/chsph/wellness-movement-sciences/challenge-course/ for more info.