Challenge Course

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The Challenge Course

The Challenge Course at Brethren Woods is a series of low and high elements designed to challenge groups of people to work together, solve problems, develop leadership, trust one another, and work to meet individual and group goals. Passive spectators become active participants as they face events with varying degrees of physical and/or mental challenge.

While the Challenge Course naturally addresses many areas of individual and group development, group leaders are asked to share their specific goals when setting up an experience. Our facilitators then work to tailor the day to meet those goals through the events selected, as well as the opportunities to debrief the group's experiences and apply learning to other areas in their lives

Basic Goals of the Challenge Course Program:
  1. Increase the participant's sense of self-confidence and self-esteem;
  2. Increase mutual support within a group;
  3. Develop an increased level of agility and physical coordination;
  4. Develop an increased joy in one's physical self and in being with others;
  5. Enable participants to transfer some of their learning into other areas of their lives;
  6. Develop an increased familiarity and identification with the natural world;
  7. To have fun.

For Christian groups, this may include incorporating and verbalizing Christian values, themes, and metaphors in the experience.


Safety is a primary concern in all areas of the Challenge Course. While our trained staff work to minimize risk, it is important to understand that all adventure programs carry some risk, including ours. Participants (and a minor's parent/guardian) are required to sign a waiver before participating, as well as complete a brief health history to alert our staff to any potential health concerns.

To ensure the physical and emotional safety of our participants, Brethren Woods has the Full Value Contract and operates under the Challenge by Choice guidelines.

The Full Value Contract is a tool to aid the group and each participant in reaching their stated goals. It is the first line of defense when it comes to the groups having a safe place to be. The Brethren Woods Full Value Contract consists of three points:

Each person agrees to:

A) Work together as a group and to work toward individual and group goals;
B) Follow safety and behavior guidelines;
C) Give and receive honest positive and constructive feedback, and attempt to change behavior as appropriate.




Challenge by Choice refers to the concept of challenging each participant, and the group, to go beyond their perceived limits with the understanding that they can say "no" when fear or other pressures are too great.

We summarize our Challenge by Choice as offering participants:

1. The chance to try a potentially difficult or frightening challenge in an atmosphere of caring support;
2. The opportunity to back off when performance pressures or doubt of their abilities become too great, knowing that in many cases a future attempt may be possible;
3. A chance to try difficult activities knowing that the process of the attempt is more important than the completion of the activity;
4. Respect for individual ideas and choices.





What Happens Next?

Before your time at the challenge course, camp staff will contact you via phone or email to see what specific goals you have in mind for your time at Brethren Woods. Usually this will happen one or two weeks before you get to camp. We'll discuss your group, goals, concerns, schedule, and whatever else comes to mind. It is our objective to make your experience as pleasant as possible, and this conversation is essential in that.