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Outdoor Group Challenges

The Diakon Wilderness Center’s mountainous campus provides the ideal setting for groups to face challenges that build relationship skills and effective teams. Schools, business and industry teams, colleges, and governmental agencies are among the groups that have taken advantage of the dynamic environment our setting and experienced staff members forge to help them be more effective as they work together.

Adventure Challenge and Team Development

Outdoor adventure challenges are developed based on the needs of each group and provide a variety of low- to high-impact activities that refresh, invigorate, and challenge group members to build meaningful relationships that, typically, last long after their experience at the Diakon Wilderness Center.

Safety First

Our top priority is each participant’s safety. Every piece of gear we use is inspected regularly and kept up to date. Our group facilitators are fully trained to make sure gear is used correctly and are vigilant at anticipating any possible problems.

Moreover, we strive to make all activities inclusive, meaning everyone will be able to participate, and challenge-by-choice, meaning each individual will have the freedom to determine how he or she can participate within individual physical and emotional capabilities.

The Choice is Yours

The following challenge options are available on our campus:

High Challenge Course — Built in August 2011, the high-challenge course is one of our more exciting elements. Entrance is via a cargo net that participants climb to get to the first platform. Once at the first platform, a participant has the option to choose one of three avenues of travel. These range from less to more challenging, but all require facing fear, trust in oneself, and trust in the gear. Arriving at the other side of the course, the participant can ride a zip-line down or use one of the other three avenues of travel. These events can be experienced on an individual basis or as a team.

Alpine Tower — Shaped like a 55-foot hour glass, the Alpine Tower offers many experiences. Participants can climb to the top and be lowered back to the group ... or climb up and rappel down ... or climb up and take the zip-line down ... or walk across the Burma Bridge and zip down. Three climbing routes are available, with each having several optional challenges. Participants learn the skill of belaying, improving their ability to communicate and focus while gaining confidence.

Low Challenge Course — Low-challenge activities are low to the ground, but still high on challenge, trust, and team building! Groups and individuals are challenged to overcome physical obstacles or achieve a goal together that might not be possible without the help of others. Participants remain on or within a few feet of the ground during these activities. Examples include a gigantic teeter-totter the group must balance, a space shuttle, or a blind maze the group must navigate together.

Portable Challenges — In these activities, group members work with one another to accomplish various goals, generally utilizing “props” and equipment the Diakon Wilderness Center provides. Portable challenges may be incorporated throughout your experience in a variety of locations, such as a grassy field, wooded area, or indoors. These challenges include such activities as moving objects from one place to another without touching them, or getting your group across an area without anyone touching the ground.

Climbing Wall — Participants climb this 25-foot wall with rock-climbing holds attached to it. The climbing wall challenges a participant’s confidence and trust. Participants will learn the systems of rock-climbing..

In addition, the program offers off-campus challenges based on group desires. These include:

Rock Climbing at White Rocks — This climbing site is a half-hour hike from our campus. This is the real deal— real rock climbing. Participants have the opportunity to master three different routes. All are challenging but vary from fairly easy to very difficult. If time permits, participants can rappel.

Canoeing — Taking place at such sites as Laurel Lake, Long Pine Run Reservoir, the Yellow Breeches, and the Conodoguinet, canoeing allows participants to learn the basics of carrying, launching, and paddling a canoe. They also become familiar with canoe nomenclature. If time permits—and participants are willing—the canoes are capsized and rescues are taught.

Special note concerning the high challenge course, Alpine Tower, climbing wall, and rock climbing ...
Because of safety considerations and equipment-usage requirements, participants weighing more than 250 pounds will not be able to participate in the zip-line experience. In addition, if deemed necessary by Diakon facilitators, certain participants may be required to wear a chest harness in conjunction with a seat harness. Usually dictated by a person’s body shape, use of this configuration is to prevent a participant from flipping upside down.

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