Tucked next to the intramural fields, University of Richmond’s ropes course hosts a variety of groups for challenging, team-building events.
The course is managed by Challenge Discovery, a partner of the university, and offers several different experience options for group of 10-100 people. They can customize an entire program depending on the nature of the participants and desired outcomes or can even go to groups with Challenge Discover Mobile.
High ropes courses can be found at other schools such as James Madison University, George Mason University and Eastern Carolina University, but having one at a school the size of Richmond is particularly unique, said Lucia Anderson, Westhampton College '12 and the university’s manager of Outdoor Adventure and Facilities.
A significant amount of the Challenge Discovery participants come from outside the university, including sports teams, churches, youth groups, schools, private parties, other universities and corporate groups, Anderson said. In the past, groups have visited from Capital One, Genworth Financial and Virginia Commonwealth University among many others.
While the most visible part of the program is the high ropes course, the Challenge Discovery experience goes far beyond just the use of the course and focuses on building relationships within student, staff and outside groups, Anderson said. “It’s really a team-building experience, not just a ropes course.”
Challenge Discovery programs typically begin with icebreaker activities and ground-level team challenges before moving on to the high ropes course and last between two and a half to six hours depending on the group size. Trust becomes extremely important in the experience, Anderson said. “When you’re 30 feet in the air, you have no choice but to depend on the person next to you. It breaks you out of your comfort zone.”
The course is generally open for 10 months of the year, closing only for December and January. “We would love to see more use on the challenge course,” Anderson said. Groups of at least 10 can receive a customized program quote, and university students and staff receive a discounted $15 rate. The Challenge Discovery experience allows classes, clubs, athletic teams and Greek life organizations to strengthen their groups right here on campus.
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