Wednesday, June 28, 2017
College Park, MD ()
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MAP Challenge

Challenge Course

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation" -Plato
The UMD Challenge Course is the premiere program for offering adventure-based learning experiences to the university and surrounding communities. We specialize in workshops that provide opportunities for individual growth and group development. Participation in this education-focused program may result in cultivation of leadership skills, problem-solving abilities, team effectiveness, and/or individual self-confidence. Our student facilitators design each program based on the group goals. 

Activity Options can include: 

Ice breakers:  An ice breaker is an activity, game, or event that is used to welcome and warm up the conversation among participants, get people moving or loosen them up.  When participants know each other, laughter and conversation generated by the ice breaker, warm up the group. When participants are strangers, the ice is broken and participants learn something about each other.           

Team initiatives: Initiatives are best described as team building challenges that focus more on planning, problem solving, and creative thinking, than on physical ability.  Initiatives are a great way to challenge groups, begin or enhance the team-building process, or simply have fun!

Low Ropes Course:  Low ropes courses consist of a series of real and imaginary obstacles designed to challenge groups and individuals to work together to accomplish a task. Low Ropes Elements often consist of a series of cables, ropes, and obstacles strung between trees or poles, 12 to 18 inches above the ground. Low rope elements present tests of physical strength, stamina, agility, balance, and flexibility, and invite participants to confront such emotional issues as the fear of falling, the fear of failure, and the fear of losing control. Risk is managed by group members who assume critical spotting roles.

 Climbing Program: Climbing with our program can be either on our Alpine Tower or High ropes Course.  The options will depend on your program goals, group size, and interest.  Please let us know your preference.  The climbing wall is not normally included in a challenge course workshop.  It may be able to be included by special request, but it will depend upon the time of your workshop as the wall has its own normal operating hours.

For a program that is no longer than 2 hours, we may not be able to accommodate a low program in addition to climbing.  This will depend on the size of your group so please let us know your preference to focus on.


Challenge & Support

Whatever your goal is, we will provide you and your group with a hands-on learning experience that will be fun, meaningful and engaging. Our trained facilitators will lead you through a sequence of physically and/or mentally challenging activities that will enhance your working relationships, improve problem solving and communication skills, and offer plenty of opportunities for smiles and laughs.

We realize that not every activity will be suited for everyone. We encourage all individuals to challenge themselves to a healthy limit and no further. It is important for everyone to find a role that will allow them to contribute to personal and group success. It is also critical for the rest of the group to support everyone's choices and roles in the experience.

  • A place where participants can learn to communicate better with each other
  • A place to learn the value of cooperation and group encouragement
  • A place where groups can work toward a common goal
  • A place to have a shared group experience outside of the group’s normal environment
  • A program filled with individual and group challenges designed to help a group learn how to better work together and utilize the strengths within the group or discover new strengths within yourself.
  • An obstacle course or a survival course. While there are climbing portions or elements, this is only a portion of the ropes course experience.
  • A place for competition against others.  The activities are designed around group participation and discovering what you’re capable of.

Planning Your Workshop

  1. Talk with your group about the benefits of a challenge course experience
  2. Please read the FAQ and pricing sections of our website
  3. Decide upon 2-3 optional dates (we appreciate at least a 3 week notice from when the date is secured to the start of the program, otherwise we may not be able to accomdate the reservation)
  4. Email or call us to secure a date
  5. Complete necessary paperwork (release forms, pricing agreements, Insurance requirement (if Non-UMD group) and goals questionnaire)
  6. Fill out and return goals questionnaire prior to the day of the workshop or meet with our facilitation staff to discuss workshop goals and design
  7. Enjoy a great day of adventure learning with us

PLEASE NOTE: All non-university groups must provide proof of your organization's general liability insurance policy.


Reservations & Pricing

Each row has pricing for each group
Group Type Workshop Type Price Per Person Description

UM Student Group

Half Day up to 4 hours


10 person minimum. Workshops can include a combination of portable group challenges, low elements and high elements depending on group goals. Sample groups: academic classes, residence hall floors, sport teams and clubs, fraternities and sororities

UM Student Group

Full Day 6-8 hours


10 person minimum. A broader range of activities including portable group challenges, low elements, high elements, trust activities and up to an hour break for lunch or snacks. Sample groups: all staff trainings, retreats, conference groups


Non-Student or Off Campus Group

Half Day up to 4 hours


10 person minimum. Workshops can include a combination of portable group challenges, low elements and high elements depending on group goals. Sample groups: high school and middle school groups, sports teams, church groups, day camps, non-profit organizations and community programs

Non-Student or Off Campus Group

Full Day 6-8 hours


10 person minimum. Explore the entire challenge course sequence of portable group challenges, low elements, high elements, trust activities, and up to an hour break for lunch or snacks. The full day program allows for more in-depth discussion to enhance the learning experience. Sample groups: staff retreats, conference groups, groups with specific goals or issues such as change in leadership, conflict resolution, or setting long term goals


Contact Mike Phaneuf

Challenge Course Program Request

Reservations must be made a minimum of three weeks prior to the program. 

Where is the Climbing Wall?

It is located on the north end of the Eppley Recreation Center, near lot SS3 at the end of South Farm Drive. We are just down the stairs from the Outdoor Aquatic Center. The Adventure Center has a separate entrance and is not accessible from the ERC main entrance.

Find us!


“Everything was challenging yet we were always encouraged by the leaders, never felt my life was in danger.”
-American University Resident Life

“I think we all bonded and we now have a higher level of trust.  We really connected and learned where each other’s weaknesses were.  We had a great time!”
– Kappa Delta Sorority

“My group rapidly gained trust among each other and also began to work together as a team as the day progressed.  This was beneficial because most team members were new acquaintances at the beginning of the day.”
– BSE Scholars

“I think that our communication got better as we got further along in the exercise.  We all had fun and I think we were all challenged, either mentally or physically.  We trust each other and do work well as a team.”
– Gemstone: Urban Planning