Clayton Davidson is a senior at Syracuse University studying Accounting and Management. Originally from New Jersey, Clayton will be working for Crowe Horwath LLP in New York City after graduation. Clayton was a member of the first group of facilitators hired to work on the outdoor challenge course and has been working programs since his sophomore year. Now, Clayton works as a supervisor for the challenge course, working programs regularly on the weekends as well as assisting with training for new facilitators.
Here at Syracuse, we are “fortunate” enough to experience both the highs and lows of the temperature spectrum. Although we close the Outdoor Challenge Course during the winter months, the facilitators run programs in just about every type of weather, from the hottest days in July and August to the freezing cold wind and rain that comes every November. The weather creates an entirely new challenge to the course and it can often times create conflict for both the participants and the facilitators.
When facing the uncertainty of Syracuse weather, one of the best ways that a group can help themselves is BEING PREPARED! Bringing water and the proper clothing can make or break a group’s challenge course experience, especially when the cold weather comes. Additionally, when a group comes to the course with a positive attitude and continues to encourage each other, they are already set up for success.
Although we try and minimize all possible hazards on the course, the weather is one thing that we cannot control and sometimes, a group can allow the less than ideal conditions to ruin their experience. Whether everyone is sweating from the heat or freezing from the cold, the only way to enjoy your day on the challenge course is to keep their positive attitude, and the best way to do that is to stay focused on the task at hand. Staying focused allows the group to think clearly and complete tasks in a more efficient way and when a group is doing well, the energy that the group has is most often positive. And when a group is staying positive and having fun, not even the weather can stop them.
As facilitators, we attempt to keep the participants engaged in various ways: choosing more active activities to keep groups moving around in the cold, doing less taxing exercises and taking breaks when it is really hot out, or even something as simple as move the group to a shady or less windy spot when we have the option. Modifying a program or activity is something that facilitators do on a regular basis that participants may not even recognize. This is one of the best ways we can mitigate the weather and ensure that the group has a positive experience that they will remember for years to come.