August 27, 2008

RSU Ropes Course Reopens

RSU Hilltop Challenge logoStreaming down a zip line while coworkers cheer below, pushing yourself a little further than you thought you could and connecting with the people you work with every day in a whole new way are just a few of the experiences offered by the Rogers State University Hilltop Challenge.

RSU recently renamed and reopened its ropes course located on the RSU Conservation Education Reserve on the Claremore campus, and has named Dr. Susan Payne director of the Hilltop Challenge.

The Hilltop Challenge course is an exhilarating maze of cables, ropes, trees, logs, platforms, games, and activities that sharpen physical and mental skills in a cooperative environment. The course will strengthen teams and individuals using a combination of games, obstacle courses, and initiative/problem-solving activities.

"I am excited for the community to begin using the Hilltop Challenge course because of the opportunities it and our staff provide for team building, leadership development and personal success," Payne said. Payne is also an RSU professor and head of the Sport Management Department.

Corporate leadership teams, volunteer organizations, school groups, church youth groups, sports teams and families are just a few of the groups that could benefit from experiencing the Hilltop Challenge, she said. Although portions of the course were closed for several years due to lack of staffing, today the program has nine certified facilitators.

"This kind of experience gets you out of your normal setting and teaches your group to work together in a way that can't be done indoors," Payne said.

The underlying principal of the Hilltop Challenge is that if a person is supported to move out of his/her comfort zone, and has a successful experience, then powerful conditions exist for positive change both for the individual and the group, she said.

The course philosophy can be summarized in one phrase: "Challenge By Choice," Payne said. The Hilltop Challenge is an educational and recreational activity intended to facilitate participant growth and development in social, emotional, mental, and physical areas. Instructors have been taught to use strategies that encourage trying without generating additional pressure.

"Each participant voluntarily and freely engages in any given activity. The degree and extent of participation remains the individual's own choice, based on what the person can comfortably and willingly risk. No one is required, forced, or coerced to perform any activity," she said.

Full and half-day sessions can be tailored to your organization's needs. Minimum group size is 10 and discounts are available for nonprofit groups.

For more information or to reserve your Hilltop Challenge session, call (918) 343-6802. More information including the fee scale is available by visiting