Ropes courses for all: creating a universally accessible challenge program.The time for universal concepts and inclusion in ropes courses has arrived. While not every camp can meet every inclusion need, every camp director can begin to incorporate universal concepts into their camp's challenge activities. Imagine a team of campers working together to help each other to balance on a platform that tilts in all four directions. Now imagine the same team - one blindfolded blind·fold
tr.v. blind·fold·ed, blind·fold·ing, blind·folds
1. To cover the eyes of with or as if with a bandage.
2. To prevent from seeing and especially from comprehending.
1. , one in a wheelchair, and one not permitted to talk - trying to accomplish the same task. Whether simulating disabilities or including campers with actual disabilities, you can develop low and high ropes courses that are accessible to everyone.
Adapting Your Low Ropes Course
Low ropes course elements can be adapted to universal design by using additional spotters, making minor construction changes, or utilizing specialized equipment. Research has found that sixteen modifications to low ropes elements are currently being used or developed for use in camps.
The Nitro or Prouty's landing
A commonly modified ropes element is the Nitro or Prouty's landing, where a team of participants hold a rope and swing across to a platform or landing area. Modifications include using a mechanical advantage pulley pulley, simple machine consisting of a wheel over which a rope, belt, chain, or cable runs.
A grooved pulley wheel like that used for ropes is called a sheave. system that lifts wheelchair participants in full body harnesses and allows them to swing across to the landing using a swinging or traversing platform (Mil.) a platform for traversing guns.
See also: Traversing , a rope chat, or using a rope with a rubber stabilizer stabilizer: see airplane. in the bottom of a loop to hold the loop open and provide for easier foot removal.
Tension traverse element
A tension traverse element is easily modified by the use of a cable chair with outriggers to help stabilize a seated participant. A rope attached to the back of the chair will allow a partner or team to pull the chair while the seated participant maintains their balance. The cable chair can be used by campers without disabilities; the challenges of maintaining balance and working with a team remain the same.
Other universal designs
Other examples of elements designed for use by populations with disabilities include a maze with wide chutes to accommodate wheelchairs. Impaired ambulation am·bu·late
intr.v. am·bu·lat·ed, am·bu·lat·ing, am·bu·lates
To walk from place to place; move about.
[Latin ambul obstacle courses with ramps/tracks of various inclines and declines, swinging tracks/platforms, ridged tracks, platform teeter-totters, and a burma bridge with an attachable mat provide additional challenges.
Modifying Your High Course
For several years Bridges, a leader in the development of universally accessible ropes courses, has used mechanical advantage systems to create access to high ropes course elements. The system can be adjusted from a 2:1 to a 5:1 advantage. A 5:1 advantage system, which allows you to exert one fifth the force for five times the distance of rope travel, is preferred for high ropes due to its versatility. A 2:1 pulley system requires one half the pulling force, but the rope must travel twice the distance a standard climb would take. Combine a mechanical advantage system with ascenders, and climbers using a 5:1 advantage system can easily pull themselves up to any high element. Climbers may also be hoisted by a team to an element, or a team may give a "boost" to a climber.
This technique is also used when climbers ascend to the Eagle, an accessible chair designed by Bridges to enable physically challenged physically challenged
Having a physical disability or impairment, especially one that limits mobility. See Usage Note at challenged.
n. (used with a pl. climbers to use most wire high ropes elements. The chair rests on four steel wheels that are locked onto the cable. There is a stabilizing wire running from the back of the chair to a two-wheel pulley attached to the belay be·lay
v. be·layed, be·lay·ing, be·lays
1. Nautical To secure or make fast (a rope, for example) by winding on a cleat or pin.
2. cable. Once climbers are in the chair, they are secured into place with a seatbelt.
The Jay seat
Bridges also uses a Jay seat, a gel-pack seat that is attached like a harness and protects the person's buttocks buttocks /but·tocks/ (but´oks) the two fleshy prominences formed by the gluteal muscles on the lower part of the back. from abrasion abrasion /abra·sion/ (ah-bra´zhun)
1. a rubbing or scraping off through unusual or abnormal action; see also planing.
2. a rubbed or scraped area on skin or mucous membrane. . When combined with the advantage system to ascend, climbers can participate in a catwalk element by sitting on the log and lifting their bodies up and moving sideways or sliding.
Bridges has moved beyond modifying high ropes courses and is now developing a universal ropes course that will be fully wheelchair accessible and can accommodate anyone. A 42-foot climbing wall A climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall with grips for hands and feet, used for climbing. Some are brick or wooden constructions, but on most modern walls, the material used is a thick multiplex board with holes drilled into it. and zipline system, which minimize shock to the body at initial takeoff, have already been built.
The Easter Seal Society has used the specially designed zipline for four years, enabling more than 400 participants with varied and extreme disabilities to experience something that most non-disabled individuals will never know. Following the experience, Brian Bost, president/CEO of the Easter Seal Society of the Inland Counties, wrote, "[The campers'] personal self-confidence and self-esteem went so high it was off the charts."
A Growing, Untapped Market
Camps practicing universal concepts are experiencing full capacity and often have waiting lists. The disabled population in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. is more than 54 million. Discretionary income Discretionary Income
The amount of an individual's income available for spending after the essentials have been taken care of.
Essentials are things like food, clothing, and shelter. for people with disabilities is $176 billion. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Society for the Advancement of Travel for the Handicapped, individuals with disabilities spent $81.7 billion on travel in 1995. Universal concepts in ropes courses would allow the disabled population, their families, friends, and caregivers, the opportunity to participate in a residential setting.
These camps can also serve older Americans seeking a challenge. Senior citizens currently make up 13 percent of the population and are easily served with universal accessibility. Fifty-five to sixty-four-year-olds have the greatest wealth and the most discretionary time of all age groups. Forty-five to fifty-four-year-olds have the highest income of all age groups. This market represents more than $150 billion per year in discretionary income.
Now is the time to adapt your ropes course to meet the needs of individuals of all abilities. Universal accessibility can provide opportunities for campers and adults whether disabled or not - to learn communication skills and gain self-confidence.
RELATED ARTICLE: Bridges Connections
If your camp doesn't currently include campers with special needs, basic initiatives can be adapted to raise a level of appreciation about disabilities. A unique activity called Bridges Connections can open communication about special needs and teach campers to include every child equally.
Campers are divided into teams, and some members are given a temporary disability - for example, rubber bands around fingers, feet tied together, arm tied to the body, or a wheelchair - before beginning the activity. Using an 18-inch long plastic channel with a quarter- to half-inch-wide groove, the team passes a marble over the given distance. In doing the exercise, the group will often exclude or minimize the involvement of a person with a disability, whether the disability is temporary for the activity or not. The activity makes readily apparent the challenge of communication and meeting everyone's needs and can open all participants' eyes to the way individuals often treat people with disabilities.
For more information on Bridges, visit their Web site (www.pineknot.com/~bridges/index.html).
Karyn Martin is a site principal for an Orange County Outdoor Science School in Big Bear Lake, California This article is about the city. For the lake, see Big Bear Lake. For the census-designated place, see Big Bear City, California.
Big Bear Lake is a city in San Bernardino County, California along the south shore of Big Bear Lake. .
Bob Fulton is the founder of Bridges and a ropes course and adaptive equipment Adaptive equipment are devices that are used to assist with completing activities of daily living.
Bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and feeding are self-care activities that are including in the spectrum of activities of daily living (ADLs). designer and builder. He also runs workshops on empathic em·path·ic
Of, relating to, or characterized by empathy.
Adj. 1. empathic - showing empathy or ready comprehension of others' states; "a sensitive and empathetic school counselor"
empathetic skills and consults on course modification to attain universal concepts.
The low course modifications suggested in this article were found through research conducted by Heidi Holm holm
n. Chiefly British
An island in a river.
[Middle English, from Old Norse h , a middle school physical education teacher and ropes course modification and accessibility consultant who is pursuing her master's degree master's degree
An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon those who complete at least one year of prescribed study beyond the bachelor's degree.
Noun 1. .