Recently in Builder's Corner Category

Last spring we got a call from a director from an overnight camp in New Hampshire who we had never worked with before, hoping we could help get his course and staff ready for the season. We love new customers, but the few weeks before camps open are one of our busiest times of the year. We are a mission-driven; non-profit organization we do our best to accommodate everyone, however, long-term High 5 clients have scheduled training, course inspections, new installations and repairs months in advance. Calls like these can create challenges for us: the last thing a director wants to hear in June is that his camps' practices and equipment are not up to standard. But based on what we heard about their program, we wanted to help, knowing that we may find less than acceptable practices. Sure enough a few things left us uneasy, especially their giant swing construction and the ability of their staff to effectively operate it.

We know education is important, especially in order to help the camp director become better informed. We began by sharing best practices and offering advice on the changes necessary to meet ACCT industry standards. With the support of our building team, the director became informed. We sent lead Builder Lucas Germano out to work his magic to bring the course up to industry standards and further educate the staff. And within a week of camp opening we had the course up to speed and their staff trained and ready for the opening of camp.



Just a few days ago, the camp director called again this time asking to get on our schedule for inspection and book training for summer 2015. Collaboratively, the director and Ian developed a plan that included scheduling the inspection early enough so any upgrades or training could occur well before the start of camp. The director indicated that he wanted High 5 to be his vendor moving forward. He indicated that based on his experience this spring, he trusts our judgment and honesty.


In the words of their ropes course leader

"...the giant swing went great, the kids felt better on it and had so much more fun and the staff did a great job. Over all they excelled on the ropes course this summer, thank you. I look forward to working with all of you again".
And she added, "I just used the Ubuntu cards today for some team building!!!"


Do you run a challenge course program? Is your program focused on education, growth and development? Are you committed to following best practices? Then, just like our newest client, maybe your site is ready to join the High 5 family of adventure education sites! If so, call soon and talk with our installation staff so we can understand your program needs and get you a spot on our schedule!


We can't wait to hear from you.

Ian, Todd and the installation team can be reached at 802.254.8718.

How often is your challenge course professionally inspected? Industry guidelines recommend at least once per year. But it is the responsibility of everyone who facilitates on a challenge course to know what to be checking for in between professional course inspections.

Professional well trained practitioners are always scanning their challenge course with a critical eye toward safety. High 5's Ian Doak shares just some of the places everyone who facilitates on a challenge course should be checking out.

1. Overall structure - Look for changes to the course. On tree course look for limbs that could have come down or are hung up in the trees. Look for lighting damage to the trees. Bark blown off the trunk. On pole courses also look for lighting damage or wood pecker damage to the poles. On all courses look for wear and tear to the footing surrounding elements. Especially where participants could trip.

2 - Cables - Look at the cables to see if any changes have occured. Are they tighter or more loose then normal? This includes your guy cables. If you see changes, call your vendor as this indicates something else is going on.

3 - Connections - Do the cable connections look normal? (compare to other connections) If serving sleeves were used, are they currently in place or is the cable end frayed and needs addressing.

4 - Wildlife - Check under platforms, behind climbing walls, in tires and surrounding ground area for nests. These could be anything from your friendly robin to bees, squirrels or snakes. Our animal friends can do unintended damage and will need to be removed. Check local guidelines and/or consult a professional. Then create barriers to keep them from returning.

5 - Belay Systems - Are the pulleys and shear reduction devices set up correctly? Are they on the right cable and is the p-cord and or rope running through it correctly? It is particularly important to verify this after gear rescues.

7.- Equipment - Inspect all participant equipment before use. Look for rodent damage or wear that occurred last program and was not reported.

Join us at High 5's Managing an Adventure Program workshop to delve deeper into this topic.

If you spot anything on your challenge course that is out of the ordinary or concerning, report it to the person responsible for the course locally and contact your Inspect and maintenance professional ASAP.

The information shared above is intended as a supplement to proper training and annual inspection and maintenance by a professional vendor.

Questions or comments....enter them below or give us a call at 802.254.8718 or 877.356.4445

Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter @high5adventure . We love to hear from you!

Recent Comments

  • Rachel Sampson: I would like to try this but can't find where read more
  • Jen Ottinger: Hi Ryan! Great words to live by. read more
  • markcollardinc: Ryan, I saw Michelle Cummings present this exercise earlier this read more
  • markcollardinc: Ditto! We - Ryan, Nate and me - all reading read more
  • markcollardinc: Hey Ryan, why is this activity called Ubuntu CIRCLE when read more
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