Ropes Course Fosters Teamwork Among Students

The recreation department at Saint Leo University in St. Leo, Florida, wanted to provide students with more than just the opportunity to work on their health and fitness.

Three years ago it installed a low and high ropes course to aid with the ROTC program, but decided the course could serve a greater purpose. It expanded use of the ropes course beyond ROTC to also include the campus recreation program. Who wouldn’t want to fly around on ropes like Tarzan and get their adrenaline pumping?

It just so happened that lacrosse coach Bradley Jorgensen had a background in high ropes and could serve as instructor to the program. The ropes course is available to students during open hours or groups can reserve time on the course.

“We have groups that reach out to us who want to do some type of team building exercise whether it is a fraternity, sorority, athletic teams or specific department on campus,” said Jorgensen.

Overall, the ropes course promotes teamwork and communication, but according to Jorgensen the outcome of the course depends of the desires of each group. “There are some groups that want the ropes course to serve as an ice breaking situation, some where it is team building exercises or we also use it for orientation,” explained Jorgensen. “It really depends on the desired outcome of the group that scheduled it.”

While participants might break a sweat throughout the course, all fitness levels can participate. “We get various demographics that use it, for instance we will have a group at the high end of the spectrum like one of our athletic teams, but we also have groups like our business administration team that come out.”

Before taking any group out onto the ropes course Jorgensen will determine what their goals are and of course what each individual’s physical limitations are.

According to Jorgensen, incorporating the ropes course as part of the recreational offering has been a success. Both students who have used the course during open hours and groups programs have given positive feedback.

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Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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