If you’re looking to re-energize your team and create a more collaborative environment, ropes courses are a great way to bring a team together. A ropes course is a series of challenges, usually in an outdoor environment among trees or utility poles, using a continuous belay system and incorporating low and high elements. Participants make their way through the challenges in a way that promotes group problem solving, trust, and team building. Team members help each other and encourage each other to accomplish each level of the challenge. Each team member must conquer his or her own fears to help the team reach the next level.
The benefits of attending ropes courses have been well documented and stretch beyond the ropes course and into the participants’ daily lives. Consider this study, conducted in 2010 by researcher Jenny Phan: “Of the 120 participants, 79 stated that the activities had some type of an impact on their ability to overcome fear, 76 noted a positive impact on self-esteem, 104 trust, 97 confidence, 83 empathy, 75 ease of stress, and 94 noted a positive outlook on life after their afternoon on the challenge course.”
The effect of completing a ropes challenge course for participants is a higher level of trust in themselves and in others. As researcher James Neill puts it: “The underlying psychological and educational assumption behind Ropes Challenge Courses is that if a person is supported to move out of his/her comfort zone and has a successful experience, then powerful conditions exist for positive change. This is a ‘development-by-challenge,’ “stress-inoculation’ or ‘resilience-building’ philosophy.”
While ropes courses are excellent for corporate retreats, the benefits stretch well beyond team building. Ropes courses have been used successfully to reduce anxiety in depressive patients, help with drug rehabilitation, build better family connections, and assist in trauma healing. A study of 247 psychotherapy patients showed: “…during follow-up, in the high-rope group, more patients showed reliable improvements and fewer patients showed reliable deteriorations in trait anxiety as compared with controls.”
Our ropes course at Brush Ranch is led by world-renowned instructor Phil Bryson and his company “On the Edge Productions”.