New challenge course developed to enhance well-being initiatives
The Venture Out Challenge Course, a part of Recreational Sports, is a state-of-the-art high ropes challenge course opening this fall. The course is located behind the Marching Virginians Practice Field and the Sport Clubs fields and can be seen from the Huckleberry Trail. Activities will be open to Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students as well as off-campus and corporate groups.
“We’re incredibly excited to offer the Venture Out Challenge Course as a new means for enhancing student well-being at Virginia Tech,” said Chris Wise, assistant vice president for student affairs. “We’re proud to be able to provide this opportunity as a dynamic and innovative addition to the student experience.”
Designed to make adventure recreation and team-building facilitation more accessible to Virginia Tech and the larger community, the course will host groups that are looking to enrich their group development through communication, trust, teamwork, coaching, self-esteem, craftsmanship, leadership, problem-solving, civility, and fun.
“When a participant steps onto the course, they will literally be venturing out of their comfort zone and venturing out into a world of new-found self-confidence and potential,” said Matt Lattis, assistant director for Venture Out.
The course will also be utilized for open recreation events where individuals who desire a new challenge or personal thrill can spend time working on one element of the course, such as the rappelling wall, zip line, or adventure course.
The hope is that groups and individuals will experience something new on the Venture Out Challenge Course, increasing their confidence, resiliency, and grit.
“The Venture Out Challenge Course provides a great opportunity for unique recreation and team-building experiences,” said Lattis. “Many individuals have vast experience in traditional recreational sports and activities, but the challenge course allows these participants to get out of their comfort zone in a safe and controlled manner and try something they may never have done before. On an individual level, finding the personal confidence and courage to overcome the obstacles of a challenge course has strong ties to developing courageous leadership and personal wellness.”
Opportunities at the Venture Out Challenge Course will allow students to continue focusing on their own well-being.
“Much research exists about the impact of recreation in natural spaces on mental health and well-being,” said Steve Creech, Venture Out coordinator. “At a time when college students are reporting feelings of loneliness at higher rates than ever before, these recreational activities emphasize social interaction, empathy formation, and the sensation of being on a team.”
As the course nears completion, Venture Out staff members are participating in 40 hours of training to prepare for the grand opening, which will take place Aug. 26 from 3 to 6 p.m. The event will be free and open to all faculty, staff, students, and community members. More information will follow.
Written by Megan Hughes
Renderings provided by Challenge Design Innovations, Inc.