Challenge Course


SSM has both high and low Challenge Courses. 

Programs are available for:

  • Corporate Groups
  • Executive Teams
  • Team Building Programs
  • Leadership Programs
  • Youth and School-Age Groups

Program topics may include:

  • Planning within a group context
  • Understanding differences between individual and team approaches
  • Selecting of leaders
  • Identifying of roles
  • Supporting each other
  • Demonstrating the need for a common vision
  • Setting goals and benchmarks
  • Learning from one’s mistakes
  • Interdependency
  • Trusting others
  • Risk taking
  • Challenging self-limits
  • Letting go of control
  • Facing challenges and fears together

Programs of varying length are available to meet the objectives and requests of your group. Facilitators cater specific challenges and activities to address your organization’s needs. For more information about ropes courses programs, please contact Laura Stelter at [email protected].

Challenge Course FAQ

Q: What elements does the course have?

A: The SSM Ropes Course has eight high elements and seven stationary low elements. The high elements include a zip-line, four traverses, the Giant Swing, the Giant Ladder, and the Power Pole. These elements all require a belay system (harnesses, rope) to keep participants safe. The Giant Ladder, which is climbed by two participants together, and the Power Pole are belayed by the participants themselves, which make them good options for group development. The Giant Swing also requires the whole group to participate in the challenge. The zip-line and traverses are more individual challenges, though they are surmounted with the support of the team below. The low elements are used to promote group development in a variety of ways, depending on the emphasis requested by the participants. A number of portable elements and initiatives are also available.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: The non-profit rate is $10/hour/person, at minimum covering $50/hour/facilitator. The corporate rate is $15/hour/person, with the same $50/hour/facilitator minimum.

Q: How many facilitators do we need?

A: It depends on what you want to do and the size of your group. Estimate one facilitator for up to twelve people. It is possible to have only one facilitator on low ropes, though you should have two if you have more than twelve people. You will need at least two facilitators for any group that wants to do high ropes.

Q: Where should we park and where do we meet?

A: Park in front of the SSM Sports Complex and walk out behind the soccer dome to meet your facilitator at the entrance to the course. You can either walk through the Sports Complex and exit through the door next to the dome entrance or walk outside around the dome.

Q: What should I wear?

A: Please wear comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the weather. Long pants are preferable if it is not too hot, since they prevent scrapes, slivers, and insect bites. Jeans, khakis, and athletic wear are all acceptable.

Q: How about on my feet?

A: Closed-toed, tie-on shoes are a requirement for your safety.

Q: What should I bring?

A: You will need to bring your completed and signed health and release forms. You may also wish to bring a water bottle, bug spray, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Note: You will need to remove jewelry and anything in your pockets, so leave home anything that you would not feel comfortable leaving in a bucket in the ropes course shed.

Q: What if I’m afraid of heights? Do I still have to do the high ropes?

A: Shattuck-St. Mary’s Challenge Course adheres to the “Your Challenge, Your Choice” philosophy. You are in control of your level of participation. We encourage you to try things that may be somewhat outside of your comfort zone as part of the personal challenge involved in the course, whether that means climbing five feet in the air, or climbing thirty-four feet. However, we will not pressure you into doing anything that makes you feel truly uncomfortable. If you choose not to climb, you will still be an important part of the experience, involved in supporting your group members from the ground.