The Ropes Program for Schools & Groups

At Hale Reservation a variety of programs are conducted that utilize individual and group challenge activities to achieve a result. Often these programs are referred to as "ropes course programs" although frequently, no ropes are used and participants never leave the ground. It is common to incorporate team challenge activities, or initiatives, low ropes activities and high ropes elements into a single day program or to make them part of a multi-day event.

Successful programs have two key components. First, the "Challenge by Choice" philosophy is an underlying mode of operation. At no time are participants required to participate, and individual involvement is determined solely by each person. Second, group processing discussions or "de-briefing" sessions after activities allow for learning. It is these discussions that help participants review their group process, identify areas for learning and find ways to apply the learning to other personal or professional environments.


Activities: Initiatives consist of group challenges that require a variety of group processes. Participants may be asked to manipulate a maze while not speaking to others, de-bug a "computer" by touching "key pads" in a specific order, or navigate across a fictitious stream using "stepping stones". Activities consist of a challenge given to a group, group discussion and action to solve the challenge. In almost all cases, there is little or no physical challenge to accomplish the task.

Outcomes: Initiative problems require extensive team process. In some cases, group planning is the key to success, while in other activities flexibility is invaluable. Regardless, group members are given opportunities to problem solve, share acceptable means for communication, and enjoy successes.

Low Ropes

Activities: Low Ropes activities consist of group challenges that require some level of physical involvement, although the "Challenge by Choice" motto is always in place. Participants may carefully work their way through a spider's web, climb over a 12 foot wall or carefully carry a bucket of "nitrogen" over a rushing, fictitious river.

Outcomes: Similar to initiatives, low ropes activities require extensive team process. Groups are required to utilize their resources and work as a team to accomplish tasks. One of the greatest outcomes to low ropes is the experience of group success.

High Ropes

Activities: High ropes courses require climbing in trees or on telephone poles to walk across logs, wires or ropes. All activities require very safe equipment utilized in professional mountaineering environments.

Outcomes: Although some aspects of high ropes require team participation, many of the outcomes come from individual successes and behaviors when challenged. Group encouragement is a very important part of this aspect of high ropes and although an individual may be the one actually climbing, groups often feel a real shared level of success as individuals overcome fears and challenges.