Cooperation, collaboration and communications are all skills that our bosses, project managers, or colleagues expect from us and each other. However, as we all know, we don’t always get what we want. Would you be surprised to hear that these traits and skills should, and can, be instilled at a young age?

A great way to work on your child or student’s leadership skills is out on a low-ropes course. What are the important factors of leadership? The ability to efficiently and productively communicate and collaborate. At 2nd Nature Academy and Camp Lovewell, we start every camp week, school year, and even staff training with a trip to our low ropes course.

Low ropes courses are a learning tool that is not only skill-building, but fun! Using trained facilitators, children are engaged in a variety of team building games, activities, and low ropes elements that can challenge participants both physically and emotionally (following the Challenge by Choice philosophy, where participants have the right to choose the level of participation in any low ropes element). You’ll often times find that a simple run through a low ropes course builds on more than just communication and cooperation–it plays on the participants compassion, critical thinking, and creative problem solving.

All of these challenges are designed to help participants overcome weakness, rely on other members of the team for support, focus on how they communicate with others, and improve trust. The end goal is to experience success as a group and learn how to utilize the skills gained in everyday situations and environments.

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Element Name: Mohawk Walk

Physical Description: A series of foot cables strung between trees or poles, oftentimes in a zig zag formation.

Objective: Challenge the entire group to get from the first tree to the last tree, without touching the ground, and without the help of props or outside objects.

Quick Tip: To make it harder, have participants carry an object from start to finish. To make it easier, make use of spotters on both sides of the participant

Element Name: Wild Woozy

Physical Description: Two foot cables that form a “Y” between trees or poles.

Objective: Challenge partners to work as a team to try to go as far along the cables as they can, without falling.

Quick Tip: Partner with someone of similar height and weight to cross the span.

Element Name: Porthole

Physical Description: Suspended tire between poles or trees.

Objective: Challenge a group to work as a team to lift, pass, and spot a participant from one side of the porthole to the other without actually touching the porthole.

Quick Tip: Provide enough time so that the team can use their problem solving skills, instead of rushing through. This is about strategy, not urgency.

Element Name: Spider’s Web

Physical Description: A rope element constructed between trees, or on stand-alone structures.

Objective: Challenge participants to cross from one side of the spider’s web to the other without touching the web, making use teamwork to lift, pass, and spot.

Quick Tip: Use clips or pins to mark holes that have been passed through, to remember which holes are available.

Element Name: Whale Watch

Physical Description: A large platform that works like a see saw, imitating the rocking motion of a ship.

Objective: Challenge a group to perform various functions on the platform without letting the edges of the platform rock to the ground.

Quick Tip: Make a rule that nobody can speak, to increase difficulty.

Element Name: Islands

Physical Description: Two larger raised platforms with a smaller platform in the middle, all separated by about 7 feet.

Objective: Challenge a group to (without jumping or touching the ground) get from one large platform to the other large platform, by using the smaller platform and two boards that do not reach the entire length.

Quick Tip: Have the team put together a plan before embarking on the challenge.

Element Name: Nitro Crossing

Physical Description: A rope swing between two platforms.

Objective: Challenge the teams to cross a “bottomless chasm” without knocking trip wires of falling in.

Quick Tip: Have the participant transport a cup of water without spilling it to increase the difficulty.

Element Name: Triangle Traverse

Physical Description: A triangular shaped cable.

Objective: Challenge a participant to work together to go as far across the cables as they can without falling, attempting to traverse each side of the triangle.

Quick Tip: Change up whether your spotters stand on the inside of the triangle or the outside of the triangle. Or, have a participant on each side, and have them rely on only each other for support.

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