The LTC James D. Rogers Challenge Course at SMA

Today almost everyone knows what a challenge course is and many have enjoyed the thrill of going through one. Challenge courses, also known as “ropes courses,” offer a great way to help build team cohesion, improve self-confidence, enhance communications skills, develop problem solving skills and techniques and have fun at the same time. There are many challenge courses located throughout Texas; however, there are very few schools that own their own course. A school that has its own challenge course can allow students to use the course, under supervision, throughout the school year and can do so without having to travel or pay the fees for using the course. Additionally they can rent out the course for use by outside agencies to bring in additional revenue.

San Marcos Academy Challenge Course

San Marcos Academy is one of the few schools that has its own challenge course, the Lieutenant Colonel James D. Rogers Challenge Course. Lieutenant Colonel Rogers worked at the Academy from 1979 until 2002. During that period, he served in several different capacities, including Senior Army Instructor, Commandant of Cadets, Assistant Principal and history instructor. Throughout his life, LTC Rogers stood as a respected example of leadership, determination and courage, showing genuine interest in the lives of everyone around him. LTC Rogers passed away in 2009 and the course, named in his honor, was constructed the same year and features a total of 21 high and low elements.

Advantages of Challenge Courses

There are several advantages to having a challenge course right on the Academy property. First, students can be introduced to the challenge course and what it has to offer over a longer period of time rather than trying to rush through it in one or two days. By having students work in different groups each time they participate in the course, they can learn the skills of working in teams and identifying strengths and weaknesses of team members, figuring out how to best utilize each member’s strengths while countering any weaknesses. They also learn to depend on team members for assistance and encouragement.

Problem solving skills are taught through challenge course activities, and these can carry over to schoolwork as well as to solving everyday problems. San Marcos Academy uses the well known philosophy of “challenge by choice” for their students. This means that each student is encouraged to push himself beyond his comfort level when taking on the events; however, no student is forced to complete an event he does not wish to. Students often are initially apprehensive about many of the elements, but once they see their friends safely complete them, they are willing to try. Their self-confidence takes a huge jump once they finish the event, and they are more confident to take on the next one. Those not able to complete an event are congratulated on whatever level they were able to handle. They are taught that whatever level they were able to achieve is a success, and many times they are willing to push themselves further on the next event. Additionally, students may be willing to push themselves further when they have multiple opportunities to use the course with different groups over a period of months or even years.

Learn More About Challenge Courses and how San Marcos Academy Can Help

If you son or daughter is interested in having access to a challenge course and is looking for a great school that can provide them with the academic and social advantages that can lead to success, not only in college, but more importantly in life, then check out San Marcos Academy. You can contact our Admissions office by using our handy Contact Form and a member of our staff will be in touch with you to discuss your needs. If you are interested in using the San Marcos Academy challenge course check out the Course Fees or give us a call at 512-753-8074.

by Harold Compton, Guest Blogger

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