Friday, July 5, 2013

Low Ropes & High Ropes

This past week, I and 26 of my favorite middle schoolers (seriously, I love all middle schoolers - life is so weird at that age) and a few other adults traveled together to Milwaukee with a stop at LutherCrest Outdoor Ministries in Alexandria Minnesota. As part of our trip our youth (and the adults and I) had the opportunity to spend some time on their low ropes and high ropes challenge courses. I love love love taking my youth on challenge courses. It is amazing to see the ways in which they are able to work together, to overcome adversity, to rise up with leadership skills that boggle my mind, to problems solve, to believe in each other, and most importantly believe in themselves.
   I could tell you countless stories of kids who upon seeing the high ropes course told me that they wouldn't go past the ladder, or would only climb the pole, and successfully completed the entire element. Were they scared, probably. Is it hard work, yes. Did some come down part way through, yes. Was I proud at how hard they worked and how they pushed themselves past where they thought they could, yes, I was over the top thrilled for them. We don't force the youth to do anything, they are free to choose their own challenge and name when their challenge is over, however, I do allow myself the freedom to push them a little, to have them take just one more step if they can or climb one more rung higher, or try to get onto the floating islands. These youth are AMAZING. 
   These skills that the youth gain while doing crazy challenge activities feed them for a life time, they realize they are capable of more, that they can do hard things, that they do have leadership skills, that they are rockstars. Middle school is tough. Life is hard. Life is messy. I love the opportunity to provide youth with the chance to succeed to do more, and to celebrate their victories. I was so impressed with my youth as they supported one another, as they worked together, and as they celebrated everyone's victories no matter how big or how small they were. I wish I could take more youth to these types of events. I want everyone to be able to experience them. I also am hoping to get something set up where we can take entire families (middle school kids on up and their families) to ropes courses, I think it would be amazing to see how the families could come together, rally, and work together to overcome big obstacles. 
    While we were at LutherCrest our youth got to experience three different elements, a floating board type element where people on the ground got to help hold the board in place. There was one youth on each end of the board and they could turn the board and spin the board and pull them closer and further away. The kids got to work on communicating and to help one another. They worked their way across the planks and got to hit the wall and then were lowered down. On the other element we walked across this small wire and held onto small ropes which helped to provide supports. At the end of the wire we then climbed up on a plank and got to zip line down to safety. It was ridiculously fun. It is hard to hold still while up on the wires and my legs, abs, and arms were all clenched in tight in order to help stabilize. It was wonderful.
   I highly recommend if you ever have the opportunity to experience a high ropes or low ropes course - DO IT. I know I am always looking for adult leaders to come alongside the youth and myself to help with our youth. I have gotten to see many an adult experience ropes courses for the first time several times. Much like the youth we all have fears that we get to overcome and expectations. I am thankful for these types of experiences. 

Have you ever gotten to do a high/low ropes course?
Have you ever been on a zip line tour? (My family did one in Cancun a few years ago, it was awesome too)
Do you like heights?

1 comment:

  1. What a fun week! Glad your kids were able to learn life lessons through it all, too! Never completed a high ropes course...sounds like fun though!