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This is a photo of a man sitting in an adaptive swing seat, while he reaches out to grab hold of various hanging rope vines to propel himself forward.

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Applications in Related Settings

Challenge Initiatives can be utilized in a wide variety of locations and settings. Different organizations make use of courses and initiatives in various ways. Listed below are settings where you can often find challenge courses. Some companies and organizations have challenge facilities on-site utilizing their own facilitators, whereas others might contract out with other organizations or groups to provide the experience they would like for their group.

K-12 School Settings

The use of challenge/ropes courses can help create community within the classroom to provide a safe learning environment. Whether a public, private, or alternative school, ropes courses may be found in the curriculum. Schools across the nation utilize ropes courses in a variety of ways. Some schools may have their own private ropes course, possibly in the gymnasium; while others may use outside facilities to administer challenge activities. Ropes courses may also be used in adventure clubs within the school system. The fundamentals of the ropes course can also be implemented in the classroom through the use of initiatives and cooperative games to enhance learning. Ropes courses can be a supplemental or integral part of a school’s curriculum. Ropes courses promote hands-on learning, problem solving, decision-making and positive growth. For these reasons ropes courses are beneficial in the school setting. Ropes courses can also help make students more self-aware, as well as build character and leadership roles.

Camp or Conference Facilities

Camps and conference centers offer prime locations for challenge courses and many offer programs year round. These facilities often have their own facilitators that work with a variety of guest service type groups who rent out their facilities. Team development and leadership trainings are often held in this setting.

Recreation and Parks Departments

Challenge courses offered through state and or local governments can offer a wide variety of opportunities to the community in which it resides. These types of programs are typically less expensive for people to participate in. Community programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, etc… can really benefit from these types of experiences.


Challenge courses in hospitals can offer a wide variety of opportunities for the hospital and the community in which it resides. Some hospitals might provide the opportunity for health purposes based solely on the patient’s treatment plans, goals and objectives. Facilitation of these initiatives is typically provided by someone who is part of the patient’s treatment team. Other hospitals have maintained the benefits based process for their staff development and have opened up the facility for the use of the community to experience the benefits of challenge initiatives.

Residential Treatment Facilities

Residential treatment offers a unique setting for ropes course implementation. As the staff get to know the residents and as ropes courses are used in a more therapeutic way the outcomes are significant. Ropes courses can be implemented with more individualized and specific goals. Through adventure-based therapy one can build self-esteem, teamwork, communication skills, creative problem-solving, improved life-skills and coping strategies.

Addiction and Recovery Services

Similarly to residential treatment, ropes courses utilized for addiction and recovery services focus on a single goal: maintaining a sober lifestyle. Through the use of ropes courses one feels empowered and confident in their decision-making and problem-solving skills. Ropes courses can be implemented with any age group that is struggling with these issues. Again, the ropes course is used as treatment tool to increase positive growth by focusing on the accomplishments of the individual.

Military Bases

The military have been using “commando courses” for many years to build cohesion, trust, strength, and endurance in among their troops. These types of challenge courses tend to be more of the extreme endurance and challenge as they push participants to the ultimate breaking point in preparing them for the ultimate challenge of combat or war.

Correctional Facilities

Many juvenile correctional facilities are using ropes courses as preventative measures for negative behaviors, such as delinquency, substance abuse and violence. Ropes course may also be used to promote pro-social and positive behaviors, such as good decision-making, self-esteem, responsibility, self-control and effective communication.

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