Summer Camp

Knot Your Average Certification: Our Ropes Facilitators Rise to New Heights!


Over the past two weeks, the ropes facilitators have been tied-up in Challenge Course Facilitation training, going in-depth on the safety protocols of the ropes course. After completing the rigorous 80-hour training, and passing the final test, the facilitators gained their official Level 1 and Level 2 Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) certifications. 

This year, Cheley had the opportunity to host the training at our own course and welcomed camps and courses from all over the Western United States. Nestled atop the Land O’Peaks Ranch, the course overlooks the Mummy Range and Longs Peak. The course, which has nearly 20 elements for participants to tackle, allows campers to challenge themselves, trust each other, and get out of their comfort zones. Aside from the high ropes course, facilitators also oversee the low ropes course and climbing wall.

The training consisted of practical skills like belay safety, pulley systems, and learning more about Cheley’s specific courses. Emergency situations and rescue procedures were also a large part of the training so the ropes team will be confident in minimizing harm in the case of an emergency. 

Aside from hands-on skills, the training also dove into more abstract skills to equip the team for emotion-based situations that may occur on the course. Adaptability is crucial when it comes to leading the ropes program, as campers arrive at the course with varying levels of confidence and differing fears. To help with this, the ropes team employs the choice model: facilitators ask campers participating in the course if their choice today involves climbing. This aims to make campers feel welcome and comfortable while growing on the course. Ropes facilitator, Lexi Williams, stressed how important it is to define participation for each camper, “whether that choice is climbing an element or staying on the ground, we want campers to feel comfortable yet challenged.”

Allowing the participant to make the choice that best suits them is vital to growth.

Lexi Williams, Ropes Facilitator

On Tuesday, after gaining their certification, the facilitators led the sports counselors through the course during staff training. At the course, the sports counselors learned belay training and safety expectations and then got to participate in course elements for themselves. 

The counselors and facilitators also got comfortable working together during Tuesday’s activity. Ropes Coordinator, Jack Maud, enjoyed leading the counselor group through both safety and Cheley culture, helping them mesh with the facilitators. This collaboration between the groups is crucial since campers utilize the choice model by picking who belays them during program – either a facilitator, their sports counselor, or a fellow camper who has been briefed on belay safety. 

Grace Conety, a sports counselor in the Chipeta Unit, was a little nervous at first. “Before the bridge portion of the course, a ropes facilitator gave me a breathing exercise to calm me down,” said Conety. After participating in the course, the counselors were impressed with how much patience and empathy the facilitators had. 

The certification was a great kick-off to the summer, and the team can’t wait to lead campers through the course during the terms. “I’m thrilled to watch the facilitators get acclimated to the Cheley culture over the summer,” said Maud, “but I’m most excited to lead them through it and positively impact both my staff and the campers.”

Belay on!

Jack Maud, Ropes Coordinator