Sep 052012

Author: Logan Martinez

Heart pounding in your ears, knees shaking, reaching up to the next peg until it is time to climb to your feet at the top of the 24-foot pole. It is time to jump and the cries of encouragement ring through the air from fellow group members.

This 24-foot pole is in the center of the 1.9-acre plot at 1717 Center Ave., where the CSU Campus Recreation Challenge Course sits. This challenge is referred to as the trapeze jump or the leap of faith, where the person must jump from the top of the pole and attempt to grab a trapeze baton that hangs several feet out in front of the pole.

The leap of faith is one high element challenge out of 12 low and 19 high element challenges the course offers. Other challenges include a climbing wall, crossing a log that is mounted 25 feet in the air and several low balance elements.

“If you look inside [of the course], it looks like some sort of obstacle course or something. It has even been described as a prison yard by some people, but what it is about is personal challenge and personal growth,” said Rodney Ley, assistant director of the challenge course.

Alongside personal challenge and growth, the course serves as a course for on-campus or off-campus groups to utilize for team and community building along with support and personal challenge in four-hour blocks of time.

“It is bonding, teamwork, and feeling like you are a part of a community. Police and firefighters have a deep sense of community and are protective of each other because they have short intense experiences together,” Ley said. “This is a little artificial and certainly not a SWAT team experience, but that is what we do. We provide intense group experiences and allow them to have that time to share. So, virtually 100 percent of the people want that for their group.”

Stephanie Sabga, CSU’s Daniel’s Scholarship Relations Officer, brought her new group of students to try the course for the first time Aug. 26 to help the group come to recognize each other on campus.

“We came to the course predominantly for team building,” Sabga said. “We have about 100 students that go to CSU and 31 in the new class, and a transfer, so we thought it would be a great way to spend some time together.”

Chloe Christell, freshman microbiology major, experienced some personal growth during her time at the course.

“It definitely put me out of my comfort zone and I think going outside of your comfort zone is a growing zone,” Christell said.

The Challenge course is a rare experience and that is something Ley likes to utilize as a motivator for growth in people on the course.

“We transition the groups after two hours to high elements, talk about support and use a lot of phrases like ‘what would it be like if you take one more step,’ or go by guiding principals like challenge by choice,” Ley said. “It is your choice to take the challenge, but we like to point out, when are you going to have this opportunity again?

We often say ‘I wish I had a nickel,’ for every person who walked in the gate and said, ‘you are not getting me up there,’ but of course, two and a half hours later that is right where they are. There is a difference between what people say and do.”

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