Fifty feet above the ground, with a only a thin cable underfoot, balance ropes barely in reach, with just a safety harness to calm the nerves, each Scout's or Venturer's task is simple: Just make it across to the next platform. This trial of strength and agility is part of the invigorating challenge course at the Ropes, one of the many activity areas at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
"These courses are something you've never seen at your home camp," says Ropes staff member Sherry Davis. "You're going to have an amazing time and walk away wishing you had these elements at home."
Created by Bonsai Design, a world-renowned adventure activity company, the challenge course area offers Scouts and Venturers a 45-minute adventure high in the trees, traversing bridges, cables and logs. There are three courses available; two are open to those who chose the Ropes as their curriculum activity. The other is open for elective participation.
Scouts interested in the Ropes should be prepared, Davis explained. Do not wear baggy clothes and bring plenty of water. Participants must weigh 70-250 pounds, she says, and should budget time for the walk out, which is approximately 30 minutes from the AT&T Stadium. The last person harnessed in will be at 4 p.m. each day.
"The absolute hardest element on the challenge course," says Davis, is the space walk, in which participants must make it across a series of ropes by criss-crossing their feet in loop foot holds while relying on upper-body strength.
"We all had to do extensive training" to assure participants' safety, Davis says. The Ropes staff is trained for activity safety and rescues, and gives all participants a basic "ground school" safety orientation before they take to the trees.
Davis also invites all Scoutmasters and Venturing Advisers to volunteer time at the Ropes and assist the staff, which offers in exchange a chance to try the course themselves.