Many parents of troubled teens are used to walking a proverbial tightrope with their child.
However, during a recent field trip to Taylor University, 10 Compass Rose Academy students had a chance to make this analogy a reality on the university’s high and low ropes courses.
A ropes course is a challenging outdoor personal development and team building activity. Low elements take place on the ground or only a few feet above the ground, while the high rope elements are constructed in trees and require a belay for safety.
Obstacle courses have been used by the military to train soldiers as far back as the ancient Greeks. From a therapeutic and community-building standpoint, they meet a number of educational, developmental and recreational goals, explained Mike Haarer, director of Compass Rose Academy.
“High ropes courses focus on personal achievements and ask participants to confront their personal fears and anxieties,” Haarer said. “They may be not only physically challenging, but emotionally or mentally difficult, too.”
On the low ropes course, tasks are catered more to the group dynamic, intended to explore teamwork, group communication, problem-solving and leadership. Compass Rose Academy chose the enrichment opportunity to help its students learn practical life skills like cooperation, decision making, self-confidence, positive risk taking, social cohesion, trust, self-esteem, leadership and goal setting in a challenging and fun environment.
“On the low ropes, the girls had to work together through a series of obstacles, and to really get out of their comfort zones,” Haarer shared. “It was a good way to challenge them to pool their resources and work together to find solutions.”
At Compass Rose Academy, these and similar activities are used to help teen girls learn how to conquer their own limitations, and to develop trust and confidence in others.
“It was a fun day – but more importantly, it was a day full of growth,” Haarer concluded. “It was exciting to see the pieces coming together right there on the course.”