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Challenge Program FAQ

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What Is the Challenge Course Program?

At the Challenge Course, we create a carefully sequenced progression of hands-on activities that help groups explore team-building and leadership skills. These may include non-competitive games that set the tone for the day, problem-solving activities, low to the ground elements featuring our Team Development Course (or low ropes course), and high elements featuring our Odyssey III course where multiple groups of 6-8 participants work together through a variety of group challenges.

Who can participate?

The Team Development Course (low to the ground initiatives) and the Odyssey III Course (high elements) are appropriate for a broad range of participants, including:

Corporate groups
Non-profit organizations
Community groups
University academic classes, organizations, and departments
Middle School and High School students
Athletic teams

The minimum group size is 8 persons, while larger groups can be divided into groups of 12 to 15 for low elements and in groups of 8 for high elements. Programming is designed for persons 12 years of age or older. We welcome persons with all abilities, so please inquire about the availability of accommodations for special needs. Also, we operate using "Challenge by Choice" as our guiding principle. Participants are not forced to do something they are not comfortable doing, but are encouraged to challenge themselves.

Is it safe?

Safety is emphasized from the start of the day to the conclusion of your program. Your safety is a priority for everyone on the course. Instructors and participants both have a role in making the day successful and safe on the ground and up in the air. Course elements are inspected and maintained on a regular basis in keep with the standards of the Association for Challenge Course Technology.

What type of program is best for our group?

A good choice for introducing groups to the basic concepts of teambuilding is our Team Development Course, also known as low ropes. The TDC involves a series of low to the ground activities, including warm-up activities, teamwork challenges, and trust initiatives. Groups looking to go to the next level are encouraged to participate in our Odyssey III high ropes course, a state-of-the art course, with a high participant capacity to accommodate multiple groups of 6-8 participants.

How much time does it take?

Like most experiences in life, the more time spent at the Challenge Course the greater the rewards for each team member in terms of growth, insights and new skill acquisition. Programs lasting 2 to 4 hours typically address the elementary concepts of teambuilding, while groups spending 4 to 8 hours on the course are afforded the necessary time to progress through the various stages of team development.

Each low element can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete; high elements take longer due to the technical equipment that must be used for safety.

A typical day may begin with icebreaker activities that last from 15 to 30 minutes, 20 to 30 minutes engaged in warm-ups, then 2 to 3 hours on the Team Development Course or other low elements. After a break for lunch, the afternoon may be spent on the Odyssey III high ropes course, covering from 2 to 8 high elements. The high ropes course concludes with a zip line.

Why should our group use Challenge Programming?

Challenge Programming is a fun and powerful medium for individuals and groups to step out of their Comfort Zone and into their Challenge Zone. This is where members of your group will learn new insights and accomplish tasks they did not know they could do. Each activity provides opportunities for personal growth.

What should we bring and wear?

The Challenge Course program is conducted outdoors. Please make sure that your group is prepared for the outdoors during your time at the course. Sunscreen, close-toed shoes, and comfortable clothing are recommended. Loose fitting pants or shorts that allow for a full range of motion are best for both high and low elements. Click for more information.

It would be prudent to check the weather before you come. You may need sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Depending on the month you may need to bring a wind/water proof layer and an insulating layer. We provide drinking water. You may choose to bring a water bottle to refill. If your group will be on the course for a full day, we do have catering options at an additional cost or you may bring a cooler to keep your food fresh. Because we will be active outside, please leave all valuables at home or in vehicles. Cell phones and wallets may be placed in a secure building and will be returned at the end of the day. You are welcome to bring your camera.

Can we have food at the Course?

If your group would like to eat a meal or snack while at the Challenge Course, we have catering options for your group. You are also welcome to provide your own food. Our staff can help your group transport coolers and food from the parking lot to the course. Drinking water is provided; please bring your own refillable bottle.

What is your policy in event of bad weather?

Our staff is willing to work in a variety of weather situations, keeping your group's comfort level in mind. If weather conditions become unsafe, we will be forced to cancel the scheduled program. For example, we do not work during thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings, hail or lightning. Depending on programming, heavy rain may make it unsafe to continue. For groups coming for teambuilding programs we are able to take our portable activities indoors if space is available during inclement weather events.

What about the curriculum? What do you teach?

Our primary goal is to teach groups about the fundamentals of Teamwork: effective communication, cooperation, decision-making and "solution-finding," with an emphasis on learning by doing through reflection to capture that learning, and then exploring ways to ensure the transfer of learning by participants' to other areas of their lives, whether it be work, school, athletics, etc.

What does that translate into? Actions that may include:

Providing assistance to others when they need it
Acknowledging the efforts of others
Sharing ideas or expertise with others
Giving and receiving positive, constructive feedback to improve processes or outcomes
Working toward solutions that the entire group or team can support
Demonstrating trust in others' abilities and ideas

Can we request a custom designed program to meet our specific needs?

Absolutely. By conducting a Needs Assessment of your group and organization, we can custom design a program specific to the needs of your group. We realize that a Corporate group has very different goals and objectives than a Middle School class. Our challenge course leadership is committed to provide you with an experience that will exceed your expectations.

How do we get to the Course?

The University of Arizona Experiential Learning Campus Challenge Course is located at Rincon Vista. Turn into the parking lot at 2300 15th Street, Tucson, Arizona 85721 (South of Broadway between Tucson Ave and Plumer Ave). Click here to display a map.