The Ropes Course

This past week has been a series of opportunities for the Beeson Pastor class to get to know and trust one another.  On Thursday, that idea was taken to the next level.  We were taken to the Asbury College Ropes Course.  Set on 60 acres of land outside of Wilmore, the ropes course is a tool for experiential learning, praticularly focused on team building and leadership training.

In the morning, we played games on the ground that were amusing and worth while.  Those games focused on knowing roles, working together, etc.  Throughout the morning, though, the tasks became more difficult.  We all played important parts in the challenges.  Then, we were led blindfolded out of the woods by a couple of team members (who were not blindfolded).  Steve Gober led us, while Mike Hoppe cleared paths and made sure that we knew when a step up or down was coming.

The morning activities were good and somewhat challenging.  However, no morning activity compared to our afternoon challenges.  Our first afternoon challenge was on a set of low ropes.  The low ropes were connected to a triangle of trees with only a couple of guidewires over head.  The goal was to get each team member around the low ropes, and we set the goal of 30 minutes.  For the first 10 minutes, we made a plan and strategically places team members at different locations on the course.  Finally at 13:30, we had our first team member finish the course.  We were almost half way through our allotted time, and we had nine more team members to go!  However, we had the plan in place, and we worked the plan pretty well.  It was such a challenge to finish that we nearly forgot the time factor.  However, when we all stood safely on the platform at the finish line, we had completed the course in 31:30.  We nearly made our time goal, but we learned alot in the process.

The challenge got more personal from there, as we set out for the high ropes course.  The high ropes course is a set of wires, wood, and ropes set 35 feet off the ground.  There are several different challenges that one can take on the high ropes course.  I didn’t want to take any of them.  However, at the end of the challenge was the opportunity to experience a thrill, swinging from a platform 35 feet off the ground.  I wanted to swing.

There were times on the way to the swing when I thought that I might head back down.  However, I knew to put one foot in front of the other.  It was amazing.  I knew that everything that I was connected to was safe.  However, my fear of heights and my distrust of my own steps combined to make it very difficult.  When I finally got to the swing, it was glorious.  Falling off of the platform and swinging through the trees was quite a rush.

The incredible part of the day was that our entire team was engaged the whole time.  No one ever opted out (which was an option at every step).  No one ever complained.  No one thought of themselves first.

The picture above was taken after we debriefed about the experience.  The background is a valley that holds the Kentucky River.  It was a fitting way to end a beautiful day.

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