Low Rope Challenge Boosts Connections

I recently had the opportunity to help facilitate a large group of UC Davis student leaders on a low ropes course at the Community of the Great Commission in Northern California. The 48 young women were at the camp for a Fall Kick-Off retreat to get to know each other and do some team building before the Fall semester started.

At CGC, the low rope elements are the Spider Web, Plank Walk, Nitro Crossing, and MULE. We divided the group into 4 smaller groups and set them on a circuit so each group could experience each element.

The Spider Web is a web of bungee cords stretched between two trees creating a web. The team must get everyone through the web without touching the ground. The Plank Walk is a set of 2x4s with ropes attached to the flat top down the board. Each team uses 2 planks to stand on and each person holds onto attached ropes so the group has to walk together. 2-3 teams race to a finish line. The Nitro Crossing is essentially a well balanced rope suspended straight down from a high wire mounted about 20’ up between 2 trees. The group challenge is to get all team members across the “lava pit” without touching the ground. It’s basically an awesome rope swing! The MULE is a “multi-use” element. A cable is mounted between two trees about 2’ off the ground. Ropes and cables are mounted above. The groups walks the cable using (or not!) the ropes for assistance. There are a number of team activities that can be done on the MULE.

I was facilitating the Nitro crossing. 4 groups of 12 gals came through and successfully got their team across the nitro lava pit! It’s a fun chance to have everyone use their imagination and have a silly time.

Beyond the imaginative fun, there was a coming together of the groups as they worked together amid laughter and cheers and strategic planning. It is a fairly basic set of activities that simply build morale and support. The majority of these women did not really know each other very well. This 2 hour circuit helped them relax, be giddy at times, lead, follow, and enjoy a beautiful late summer afternoon in the Sierra Foothills.

I asked the leader if they had done this before. She told me that while they have had retreats in the past, they usually go to AirB&B’s. “This experience was really different for them” and she expressed “what a great decision it was to do this.”

There are so many good things about this: Team building, establishing new friendships, laughter, leadership and the sierra sunshine.

~ Tina Heck