The Recreation Management program at Lock Haven University held a Challenge Course Certification, in which nine students in the program and one professor participated in at the challenge course behind Zimmerli on LHU's campus.
The full-day training and certification course prepared facilitators of the low elements challenge course. It included training in general challenge course safety and risk management, course inspection and record keeping, incident/accident prevention and response, course policies and procedures, the experiential learning cycle, proper techniques for spotting and lifting participants, proper use of the specific low elements on the course, proper sequencing of activities, group processing and management (pre-briefing, activity facilitation, debriefing) and more, according to David Graefe, LHU professor and challenge course participant.
"Participants developed foundational knowledge on challenge course facilitation and adventure education, as well as practical and technical facilitation skills on the course itself," Graefe said. "The entire session was held outdoors and was very experiential, as participants worked together to traverse each of the low elements on the course."
Emily Kantner, of Reading, is a junior in the therapeutic track. She said she participated in the challenge course training to learn new skills that could help her in her future career, as well as a great addition to her resume.
"One of the tasks we had to do on the course was try to balance as a group on a long piece of wood while completing different tasks," Kantner said. "Another was one we called 'Up and Over,' which required us to use our strength and trust to get each of us to climb over a highly placed, large log safely. One of my favorite things about this experience was watching everyone grow together as a group and learn to trust each other."
Senior Colleen Hurst, of Ephrata, also is in the therapeutic track. She said she was interested in the training - pushing herself to do something that is out of her comfort zone.
"Some of the participants didn't know each other but had great team work skills and building each other up," Hurst said. "I learned I'm capable of doing more than I think. The most challenging part was the up and over log. I also enjoyed that the instructor stepped back and let us figure things out."
The training was run by LHU's challenge course vendor, The Adventure Guild, and students enrolled in the Recreation Management program at LHU were invited to sign up for the course. Participants were certified to serve as challenge course facilitators, under the supervision and guidance of the Recreation Management Department.
"For many, this was their first professional development activity relating to challenge course facilitation and adventure education," Graefe said. "While the certification only applies to the low elements of LHU's challenge course, the principles and practices that were learned are broadly applicable to a variety adventure education and programming contexts."
Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.
LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education
in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate
programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live
and work in Pennsylvania.
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