Challenge Course Program Development Certificate Program

The Challenge Course Program Development Certificate gives challenge course practitioners the skills they need to successfully operate and manage a challenge course program at their school, community organization or corporate setting. This program of study will help challenge course practitioners gain the skills they need in the field to become professionally certified in accordance with the standards set by the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). The workshops include our Adventure Basics, Adventure Facilitation workshops, Beyond Basics and Managing an Adventure Program.

This area of study is designed for anyone developing a challenge course program or taking a leadership role on a challenge course. It is ideal for physical educators, guidance staff, camp counselors, and other community or business organizations involved in challenge course programming.

Competencies to be Demonstrated for Particular MEd Concentration Program Standards

Various major/concentrations in the Masters of Education degree at Plymouth State University require demonstrated competency in meeting articulated professional standards in a particular field.   As a basic requirement the challenge course program certificate themes bear a direct relationship to the standards of the Association for Challenge Course Technology. ACCT Challenge Course Installation Operational Inspection and Ethical Standards 7th Edition.

Candidates earning a certificate in the Challenge Course Program Development Certificate will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the significance of experiential learning philosophy methods including the importance of learning and responsibility for creation of a positive learning (ACCT Facilitation Competencies B3.2.1-B3.4.15, ACCT Certification Competencies B3.2.1-3.4.15),(K)
  • Give participants an overview of an adventure-based educational program through participation in a sequenced flow of activities ranging from icebreakers to high challenge course elements (ACCT Facilitation Competency B.3.2.1-B3.4.15, ACCT Certification Competencies B3.2.1-3.4.15),(EK)
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and competence in challenge course operations (ACCT Operational Standards Core Competency B1,Staff Competencies B3.2.1-B3.4 15/B2 Technical Competencies B2, Certification Competencies B3.2.1-B3.4.15),(EK)
  • Assess participant needs and skills on the challenge course and select appropriately sequenced activities to fit the group situation (ACCT Facilitation Competency B.3.3, ACCT Staff Competencies B3.2.1-B3.4.15, ACCT Certification Competencies B3.2.1-B3.4.15),(K)
  • Apply a practitioner's critical eye for managing safety on a challenge course. Group discussion will include strategies for reducing and preventing accidents on a challenge course (ACCT Operations Management Standards A.2.1-A2.17, Staff Competencies Standards B.1.1-B 3.4.15, Certification Standards A2.1-A2.17.),(HECK)
  • Demonstrate specific skills related to challenge course program design, safety and risk management, staff development industry standards, challenge course practitioner certification and industry trends (ACCT Operations Management Standards A 2.1-4.4,, Staff Competencies Standards B.1.1-B3.4.15), (HECK)
  • Emphasize the integral connection between thoughtful programming conducted by skilled practitioners and risk management issues ( ACCT Operations Management Standards A1.1-A4.4),(C)
  • Engage learners in reflective practice that helps connect challenge course experiences to real life and future learning (ACCT Facilitation Standards B 3.4.5,B 2.4.12, B3.4.13,ACCT Certification Standards 3.4.5, B 2.4.12, B2.4.13),(CHECK)

Challenge Course Program Development Certificate

Core Courses:

Students are required to complete 12 credits or more to complete the certificate program including the core courses plus electives.

All program courses are linked to the conceptual framework that underlies all teacher education programs at Plymouth State University. All course objectives and expectations meet the CHECK framework including the five conceptual goals of the program: Commitment, Holism, Experience, Collaboration and Knowledge.

  • EE 5110 Adventure Basics (3 credits)
  • EE 5150 Experiential Group Facilitation: Beyond Basics (2 credits)
  • EE 5120 Advanced Technical Challenge Course Skills: Beyond Basics (2 credits)
  • EE 5180 Managing an Adventure Program (2 credits)
  • EE 5130 Building Your Repertoire (choose 3 workshops for 2 credits)
    • Teachable Moments
    • Metaphors for Change
    • No Props No Problem
    • Games for Any Space
    • 10 Props 100 Games
  • ED 6900 Capstone Experience in Experiential Education (variable credit)


  • EE 5190 Individual Study in Experiential Education (1-2 credits)
  • EE 5170 Introduction to Low Challenge Course Elements (2 credits)
  • EE5150 The Experiential Learning Cycle (take all three one day course components to earn 2 credits)
    • Adventures in Learning and Teaching-Shaping the classroom learning community
    • Activities for Academic Success- Teaching curricular content in an engaging experiential way
    • Teachable Moments Maximizing Outcomes through Reflective Practice


Assessment for all courses will be based on attendance and participation in activities and discussion and completion of course assignments. Course assignments are assessed based on the application of material to the practitioners own classroom or educational practice including documentation of the impact new content is having on teaching practice and student outcomes. Specific assignments grading requirements will be outlined for each course.

Course Texts

Required and recommended texts and articles for each course will be chosen from the following list. Final list to be determined.

Association for Challenge Course Technology: Challenge Course Standards: Sixth Edition MI: Association of Challenge Course Technology, 2004.

Cain, J. Cummings, M. & Stanchfield, J. A Teachable Moment Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishers, 2005

Grout, J. & Hall, N. The High 5 Guide: Challenge Course Operating Procedures for the Thinking Practitioner Dubuque, IA Kendall / Hunt Publishers, 2007

Stanchfield, Jennifer. (2007) Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation Wood-n-Barnes Publishing

High 5 Adventure Learning Course Manuals: Adventure Basics, Adventure Facilitation, Beyond Basics, and Managing an Adventure Program. Copyright 2007

Ryan, Bob. (2005) The Guide for Challenge Course Operations. Beverly, MA. Project Adventure, Inc.

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