Universal Challenge

Making challenge courses accessible and usable for all

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This is a photo of a group of people standing on a wooden beam in the woods‚ as they hold hands to keep their balance.
Activities and Adaptations

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High Challenge Course Activities & Adaptations

Facilitating challenge activities or ropes courses requires the proper training and experience. Please do not attempt to replicate any of the following activities until you have received training from a reputable source.

There are many activities and adaptations that can be utilized when planning a universal challenge program. While this section only provides a limited list of these activities and adaptations‚ more activities can be found in books listed on the resource page.

High Elements

High ropes course elements are activities that take place high in the air which requires more extensive equipment to ensure the safety of all involved. Helmets‚ harnesses‚ and belay ropes are utilized to create a system of protection so that even if a person falls from an element‚ the support system will keep them from contacting the ground. There are many uses for a high ropes course from recreational to purposeful programming. Courses are designed to provide a challenge to those partaking in the activity. Some potential outcomes are: an increase in self confidence‚ an increase in trust‚ and the the realization of the need to rely on others for support.

Application Examples:

  • A team might use a high challenge course to create a bond among members by providing a memorable experience in which they must challenge themselves and rely on the support of one another to accomplish certain parts of the course.

  • A physical therapist might utilize a high ropes course experience in order to build confidence in a patient and to prove to that person that they can still do things that they might never have dreamed possible.

  • Families could utilize an experience to work on issues of supporting one another and going to the limits of their comfort zone to prove how important their child is to them.

  • An individual might want to go through a ropes course experience simply to challenge herself mentally and physically.

Climbing Tower

This is a photo of a climbing tower with four sides to provide different levels of challenge.  Red dots represent the path of a counter–balance weight system used in conjunction with the climbing tower.
The path for the counter balance system is represented by red dots. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

Matted Bridge

This photo shows a woman in a full body harness hauling herself up to the top of the matted bridge utilizing a 4 to 1 haul system with a sling seat.
A group of participants works together to complete a ground based challenge activity.

Sky Surfer

This photo shows the sky surfer/ body board attached to cables between trees.
Sky surfer on cables.

Levitation Platform

This photo shows a girl wearing a harness and helmet.  As she stands on the levitation platform‚ her teammates pull on ropes‚ hoisting her up off the ground.
Group participants lift their teammate off of the ground on the levitation platform.

Burma Bridge

This photo shows the Burma Bridge challenge element.
The Burma bridge element.

Zip Line

This photo shows a participant taking a ride on the zip line from the top of the climbing tower.
A facilitator looks on as a participant goes for a ride on the zip line. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

Flying Squirrel

This photo shows a man “flying” through the air with cables and poles in the background.
A participant takes a leap on the flying squirrel.

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