Less than four hundred yards off the west side of the parkway one can leave the hustle and bustle of traffic and encounter deadly mutant pygmy wolf spiders, treacherous pits of deadly poison peanut butter and experience “strange and wonderful things”. In truth all the mutant spiders are pretend and the only peanut butter you’ll actually get on you is from a sandwich. The reality of a challenge course is that the most difficult thing you will confront is yourself.
The Challenge Course experience is designed to bring groups together through a series of obstacles that produce innovative thinking, communication, problem solving and leadership. Most groups leave the course viewing it not as a series of obstacles but a series of opportunities. The Experienced based learning is designed so that groups and individuals learn to reach their potential. The goal of the course is not competition but cohesion. It’s not about being the best but finding your best.
The course has three phases: Initiatives and orientation, low elements and high elements. The initiatives provide some base line evaluation for the instructors to choose which activities are appropriate for your group. The eight low elements are designed to facilitate problem solving, leadership identification, communication and team building. The nine high elements are designed to use the principles of trust and teamwork to help individuals accomplish some amazing tasks. In the end the reality is that a challenge course is not about how high you climb but how far you go.
The Challenge Course is a cooperative effort between the Madison County Mental Health Center and Jones LPC & Youth Resources. It is the vision of the Mental Health Center to open the “campus for change” to a diverse group of our community and provide opportunities for growth and change. In a bold move they expanded their property to include the six acres north of their campus and establish a community resource for leadership training, teaching and inspiration. In order to accomplish this; a partnership was formed with Lonnie Jones of Jones LPC & Youth Resources. One of the resources from Jones LPC is the “vertical” section. Jones Vertical has been in Huntsville since 1986 and to our knowledge built the first artificial climbing wall in the area. From the humble beginnings of taking individuals climbing and rappelling to assist with student self esteem, confidence and transition management Lonnie Jones has been involved in adventure based, experiential teaching projects such as ASFL’s Science and PE, Lakewood Community center’s climbing wall program, LAUNCH, the Keel Mountain Project and even teaching rappelling to local city , county and NASA S.W.A.T .Teams.
The Challenge Course is owned by the Mental Health Center and they use Jones as the lead instructor and course manager. Former Director Brian Davis and CFO Andy Skelton were instrumental in the vision behind the challenge course use. It is their stated purpose to use the course as an educational tool to help strengthen members of our community. To date the course has been used by leadership programs from the Chamber of Commerce, Huntsville Hospital, ASI, Intergraph, United Way, Social Services Leadership, NASA, Youth Leadership, Various Sport Teams including Huntsville High Football, Volleyball teams include Huntsville Middle, Madison County High School, and Faulkner University Volleyball to name a few. In addition the course has offered trainings to church groups, at risk youth, couples retreats as well as the cadets from Huntsville’s Police Academy and the DA’s office. Essentially if you have a group we have a program to meet your needs.
To Schedule a group contact Lonnie Jones at 256.882.9799 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Once you decide on a date a reservation and registration/release forms will be sent to you.
Most programs are a combination of Low and High Elements. Participants should dress for the weather. But do not wear anything that restricts movement. Please do not wear open side, open toed or backless shoes. The Challenge course is a cell phone and smoke free area.
Group Pricing is as follows:
Corporate Rate: $1,500.00 per day for up to a group of 30 people.
There is an additional $25 per person charge for each participant in excess of 30.
Therapeutic Rate: $100.00 per person minimum group of 10.
Non Therapeutic Student Groups and Youth Programs: $500.00 plus $25 per person. (Minimum charge of $900.00)