When people hear the words “Challenge Course” and “Goals” everyone has the same first thoughts: Teamwork, Communication, and Leadership. While all of those are important skills they are just a few that participants may learn. In fact there are some skills participants may not even realize they are taking back to the “real world” at the end of the day!
1. How to give helpful feedback
We often don’t realize that communication is more than just talking at each other, it’s about being on the same page. I often find that we, as human beings, are not so great at giving or receiving feedback. Why? Simply put, we are scared. We do not want to be told what’s wrong with us, or what we did wrong, or anything that could be viewed as negative. However, when we do receive feedback we also aren’t sure how to deal with the information or the person giving it to us. During De-briefing experiences on the challenge course we often talk about group feedback. How did we do as a group? What could the group improve on? As we continue to move through the program participants begin to realize that it’s not just about “The Group” it’s about the individuals that make up the group. These participants have to quickly learn how to give and receive feedback to both the group and the individual without pointing fingers, assigning blame, or having hurt feelings.
2. How to “Think Outside the Box”
We all know what the phrase “think outside the box” means. What we don’t know, is how to actually think in this manner. We often give groups activities that involve problem-solving in order to give them a common goal. While some of the “answers” are fairly straight forward, most involve “thinking outside the box.” Most people think you have to be talented, lucky, or have something the rest of us don’t in order to “think outside the box”. However, all that you need to do is learn to change your perspective, and look at the world a little differently than you’re used to. We all get into our routines (i.e. we wake up, eat breakfast, brush our teeth, etc.) and because of this so does our brain. When you participate in a challenge course program, nothing is a part of your normal routine, and therefore you must learn to change your perspective, and thus you begin “thinking outside the box”
3. Confidence in Others
When I think about helping with confidence on a challenge course, I often think of teaching someone to reach outside their comfort zone, be successful, and gain confidence. However, I often find I am also helping them build confidence in others. For example on our high ropes Odyssey course groups must learn to lean on each other (literally and metaphorically) in order to be successful. As they move through more sections of the course they begin to trust and have confidence in what others of their group say and tell them to do.
These are just a select few of the skills and benefits you can gain from a challenge course program. A list of all skills you could gain would go on, and on, and on, and….well you get the point. In the end what you take away from a program comes down to one thing: What you and your group need.