Inspire Youth Project strives to provide our teenagers with unique experiences that allow them to express their individuality and learn about themselves and each other, all while having fun. Judging from the amount of laughter, chatter, and reflection we observed, the Waterhouse Center Ropes Course proved to be the perfect combination of all these things.
Eager to reunite with friends made through support groups and Camp Rise n’ Shine, fourteen teenagers gladly gave up a few hours of Saturday sleep to venture north to Monroe for the Ropes Course. Upon arrival at the Waterhouse Center, the group was split into two – one half to navigate their way through a series of team-building challenges, the other to test their personal limits on the zip line. As the groups headed in each direction, some eagerly brainstormed solutions to the upcoming obstacles, while others seemed more preoccupied with the prospect of climbing high into the trees, only to leap off onto the zip line.
During the team-building challenges, the groups faced a variety of obstacles ranging from maneuvering the whole team through a hula-hoop as fast as possible to using a rope swing to get everyone safely across “shark-infested waters.” With each task, the facilitators guided the group through reflective conversation aiding them in improving their communication and collaboration skills. These conversations allowed the quieter teens to grow in confidence and assert their strengths, while assisting the more outgoing teens in supporting their teammates by listening actively. Occasionally, one of these conversations would be punctuated by shrieks of exhilaration as a member of the other group leapt off the zip line platform on the other side of the ropes course.
The zip line challenged many of the teens to face their fear of heights, while trusting the rigging and equipment to do its job. The ladder-climb up a tall pine and the jump onto the zip line required physical strength, concentration, and determination. As each teen conquered the task at their own pace, the rest of the group watched from the ground providing words of encouragement and comic relief as needed.
A pizza party in the evening allowed the group to relax and celebrate the many accomplishments of the day both as a team and as individuals.