One of the most popular activity periods for Starlight campers every year is our ropes course. The highly trained and certified staff instructs campers of all ages in the art of scaling the rock wall, shimmying up the Star Jump, and leaping to an exhilarating ride on the zip line every day. However, during these activities, campers are not simply learning the ins and outs of outdoor adventure. As they leave the ropes course each day, they take with them several lessons in life application.
Upon approaching the ropes course for the first time, Starlighters probably experience a few butterflies in their bellies. However, our staff spends time with them teaching safety procedures and climbing terminology. They also, of course, pump them up with some pep talk. By the time the campers are fitted into harnesses and belayed up the wall, the sense of anxiety has disseminated into excitement! When children secure their sneakers into the first step, they take a big step in life as well. Maneuvering the ropes course for the first time teaches campers to try new things despite having a sense of reservation about the unknown. The importance of instruction and preparation is a lesson in safety and demonstrates to campers, ‘Yes, we are going to have a blast! But it is critical to be ready and educated so that it is just as safe as it is fun.’
There are many other benefits to a period spent at Outdoor Adventure. At Camp Starlight’s rope course, you can always hear cheers coming from the ground up to campers advancing up the rock wall. Kids are constantly telling their bunk mates, “YOU CAN DO IT! TRY ONE MORE STEP!” and “WAY TO GO!” This experience is teaches the campers on the ground a valuable lesson in encouraging others. It also gives the climber a sense of support from other campers, and it bonds the group by giving them the opportunity to play both the encourager and receiver of praise. Whether children make it to the fourth step instead of the third like last time or they swiftly navigate to the top of the wall, there is a sense of accomplishment. When campers walk out of the gates of Outdoor Adventure they take with them the praise received from onlookers and the acknowledgement of their success, which is a vital boost to self esteem.