Reprinted from The Sounder, a periodical of Warm Beach Camp
By Sarah Karstetter, Marketing Associate

In today's ever increasing technology craze, it is becoming easier and easier to accomplish task without ever saying a word. With the click of a mouse, messages can be communicated to the masses, meetings can be held, appointments made, and shoes bought. The age of picking up the phone and calling has been replaced with emails, blogs, and text messages. As the world's communication styles become more and more impersonal, the memory of the work it takes to function as a healthy group or team fades.

Warm Beach Camp recognizes the effort it takes to build a strong team and has developed a set of tools and experiences to facilitate this process. WBC's Challenge Course Experience combines three different elements - climbing tower, high ropes circuit, and low ropes/initiatives - to create a context for team members to examine their assumptions, communication styles, and learn how to work together in a supportive environment to achieve a goal. These elements are specifically designed to increase self and group confidence. From working together to solve a problem to cheering and encouraging one another to the top of the climbing tower, groups have the opportunity to get to know one another and build relationships. In terms of group development, one day of challenge course experience is equal to days in structured meetings.

Erik Lindblad, teacher and coach at Seattle Christian Schools, recently brought a group of students to the Challenge Course Experience. "Warm Beach Camp's high ropes and initiatives course is an outstanding tool for building team unity and helping young people learn to overcome obstacles in their lives. The staff uses the course and games as a tool to teach life skills that go far beyond just the fun of the event, they cause you to see God's work in everything that you do." Groups using the Challenge Course as a team-building exercise have ranged from Christian schools, churches and mission teams to public safety teams and drug and alcohol recovery groups.

Each element of the Challenge Course is led by facilitators trained to the standards of the Association of Challenge Course Technology and have undergone a minimum of forty hours of practical training and experience. Facilitators ensure the safety of the group on each element as well as work specifically to design beneficial learning experiences based on the goals and needs of the group. Facilitators also help the group process their learning through a debriefing after each session. Debriefing allows group members to reflect on and talk about their observations and experiences. Challenge Course sessions may be half-day or full-day and may be combined with lodging and meal packages at Warm Beach Camp. Space is limited to fifteen people per session, but larger groups can be divided and led by multiple facilitators.

As our culture becomes more detached from personal contact, it is becoming more difficult to have the interpersonal skills and knowledge necessary to work well in a group. Warm Beach Camp's Challenge Course Experience provides the tools needed to develop and strengthen relationships to help your group be successful.

If you like to bring a group to Warm Beach Camp's Challenge Course Experience:

For more information email the Guest Services Department
or call 360-652-7575 / 800-228-6724

What is the Warm Beach Camp Challenge Course?
The Challenge Course at Warm Beach Camp consists of three main elements:
  • High Ropes Circuit, suspended 25 feet in the air, consists of eleven separate elements. The elements are designed to challenge individuals as the team supports them. Participants are on a static belay system and wear harnesses and helmets.
  • Climbing Tower, a 3-sided, 40-foot climbing wall challenges individuals based on their needs and abilities, while being supported by their team. Participants on the Climbing Tower are on a belay system and must wear harnesses and helmets.
  • Low Ropes/Initiatives Course consists of problem-solving elements team members must work together to solve. This course does not require a belay system and no harnesses or helmets are required. Some elements require  self-spotting or team spotting.
Zip lines, team swing, skybridge, and the trapeze are also available as add-ons to the  facilitated team-building program of the Challenge Course.

team building initiatives gameTeam Building takes time and intentional effort to bring about lasting results. Issues of trust, respect, and communication need to be continuously examined for teams to function at their peak level. Understanding, mutual appreciation, problem-solving, and conflict resolution play a critical role in helping individuals function as team members working together toward a common mission.