Finding Their Inner Courage

One of the more popular activities on Enterprise campus of the Children’s Home is the high ropes course, complete with zip line. The youth participate in the high ropes course under the supervision of our trained and certified staff, and all the necessary precautions are taken to ensure a safe experience. But that doesn’t stop some of the children from being hesitant and even fearful.

Lucas, who is about fourteen years old, decided he would give the zip line a try. He was encouraged by the other youth in attendance as well as the staff. He had already been through the basic safety briefing, so he strapped on the harness and helmet and was ready to go. Our staff double checked everything and connected him to the belay line that would prevent him from falling as he climbed the fifty foot pole. Bravely, Lucas took a deep breath and began his climb. In no time he was at the top, and the staff connected his harness to the zip line. It was at that point that Lucas began to doubt his decision.

As he sat on the edge of the platform, feet dangling over the side, he wondered why he agreed to do such a thing. The staff standing next to him on the platform as well as those on the ground reassured him. His friends and house parents on the ground cheered for him, shouting, “You can do this! You got it!” He was given the standard 3-2-1 countdown several times, but couldn’t muster the courage to push off from the platform. No matter, everyone was there for Lucas at that moment. Everyone continued to cheer and shout their support, everyone wanted to see him succeed. Finally, after a few minutes, Lucas found his inner courage.

A few seconds later he was at the bottom of the zip line, and nothing could remove the huge grin on his face. The first words out of his mouth were, “I want to go again!” Triumphs like this mean a lot for youth like Lucas. And whether they realize it or not, the staff is helping them rebuild the confidence they lost before coming to the Children’s Home.

The high ropes course at the Children’s Home is used to help the youth in many ways.

  • You have to take a risk in order to reap the reward. In general, risk-taking can be anything that gets the youth out of their comfort zone. And when the high ropes course is used in conjunction with low ropes, youth can learn problem solving skills and teamwork as well.
  • Getting beyond their comfort zone. Having been through their own trauma, our youth often have an irrationally small comfort zone. Accomplishments on the ropes course usually help the youth to expand their comfort zone.
  • Building trust. Participating in activities on the ropes course are excellent for building trust. That can come in the form of trusting others who are helping you on the course as well as trusting in yourself.
  • Learning that surrender doesn’t mean weakness. Stepping off a platform onto the high ropes or zip line requires that all important leap of faith. By learning to “let go” of fears on the course, it helps the youth to learn how to let go of other things that are holding them back.
  • Overcome their fears. While fear can alert you to danger, it can also hold you back. Youth learn that being brave is not about the absence of fear, but the ability to manage it and move forward.

Bottom line, facing some of their fears on the ropes course and winning helps the youth to become more successful in facing their other fears. And that helps them to become more successful in life. Just ask Lucas.