The Alaska National Guard sought us out from far away to help them incorporate a challenge course into their Drug Demand Reduction Program at Camp Carroll near Anchorage, Alaska. Part of the various community outreach programs they run are Camp E3 (Encounter - Encourage - Experience), a free, four day-day camp focused on key components of the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents.
Specific components such as communication, responsibility, accountability, risk assessment, conflict resolution, self-esteem and resistance skills towards negative peer behavior are the end goals of daily instruction. They determined that a challenge course was a logical next step in offering the ultimate in personal challenge and group development.
In 2006 our building team built them a state-of-the-art course on utility poles, and we began training their staff. Since then, the DDR staff--a unique and dedicated group who are committed to their mission--bring us to their site to inspect and improve the course, and to continue the development of their adventuring skills. They also send members to our open-enrollment training here in Vermont and to industry gatherings such as the ACCT Annual Conference.
Their facilitators keep in close and regular touch with our team to seek advice, expand their skills and also to share their experiences. They do not limit their adventure education and challenge course skills to Camp E3; they also apply their training to many other programs:
"(Throck is) our point man for our new rural Alaska outreach program, The Mentor on The Trail. We coupled up with the Iditarod Education Programs' Teacher on The Trail. Along the way he's interacting with kids from the villages and speaking with them about positive decision making, individual and cultural respect and a host of other life skill developmental processes. And of course a rubber chicken and some fleece balls round out his tool box. ...we're happy to be expanding into rural Alaska with the race and more importantly, because High 5 has started us on this amazing journey, we're proud to be introducing others to it. It's an infection of the best sort and as you know, watching and feeling it connect with others is priceless. The youth we're engaging in this new adventure are just soaking it up as it creates the opportunity for self worth through self efficacy. The days of us visiting a village and leaving rubber balls and pencils are long gone. We're now leaving them with an instant in some of their lives that will be with them for years."