Last year, I wrote an article about the open enrollment challenge course program. We’ve been through an entire season now of running Discovery Challenge, the open enrollment program for the Bellevue Challenge Course, so I thought it appropriate to do a followup of my thoughts on these programs. Naturally, my view of these programs has morphed as I’ve managed and facilitated our open enrollment program. Last year, I focused on the idea of growth through self discovery. As I’ve experienced a variety of groups and days on the challenge course, I’ve come to recognize several traits of a powerful open enrollment challenge course program.
I was recently asked by a client about the age limit on our challenge course. As soon as that question had been asked, I realized I no longer knew the answer. What was the age limit on a challenge course, and perhaps more importantly, how would I have a conversation with the client that would help fit them with the best program for their group?
I think I, like many of my colleagues, had a preconception of what an open enrollment ropes courses would be like. I spent one summer working with an open enrollment zip line, and the customers we got were oft focused on “fun” and nothing else. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when talking about the rules and goals for the day, fun is always among the top three. But a program solely founded on fun seems to lack a depth that I feel obligated to deliver. So, when presented with the opportunity to manage Discovery Challenge: an open enrollment ropes course experience at the Bellevue Challenge Course, I tried to get my head around what I was here to offer that would give this program the relaxed fun nature it needed while taking it beyond just a recreational activity.