A Division of Student Affairs

FAQs - Adams Campus

What is a challenge course?

A challenge course is a series of activities consisting of real and imaginary obstacles typically presented to a group in a natural outdoor setting. Challenge courses, often referred to as ropes courses, are thoughtfully organized series of experiences using trees, logs, ropes, cables, and other tools, some of which are at ground level and others which are high off the ground. The course at the Adams Campus Outdoor Education Center is constructed in a beautifully wooded rural area, and offers groups a unique opportunity to work together on a series of initiative games, problem-solving tasks, and risk-taking activities in a controlled environment. Such activities bond the group and improve communication skills, cooperation, trust, supportive feedback, and leadership. The team-building challenge courses are powerful developmental tools for any type of group. No two courses are the same - each program is designed to suit a particular group and its members' goals and needs, and may be changed to best fit those objectives as the day progresses. The challenge course program at Adams Campus is organized to allow for ample time between activities to process the events that participants experience. During these processing sessions, relevant metaphors are shared and the group is able to identify what has been learned and how that might be applied to future activities and to the school and/or work environment. The program activities also presents unique physical and emotional challenges for group members creating a one of a kind learning experience that is both fun and rewarding.

Where does it take place?

KU Recreation Services Adam’s Campus Challenge Course takes place in a naturally wooded environment Southwest of Clinton Lake. The outdoor setting provides the opportunity for groups to develop their skills in an environment free from the distractions of everyday life. Most aspects of the course are low elements, taking place on the ground or on small structures only a few feet above the ground. Spring 2007 marks our first season to utilize our exciting new high element, the Power Pole, which takes place over 30 feet in the air. All activities are facilitated by staff trained in risk management.

What is the point?

The challenge course is designed to meet educational, developmental, and recreational goals (learn new things, self discovery/confidence, fun); goals actively constructed by groups/individuals and facilitators, explore group interaction/leadership, problem solving, success determined by willingness to participate/grow, not by finishing task.

What should I expect?

The challenge course is designed to meet educational, developmental, and recreational goals actively constructed by groups and the facilitators. Below are some possible outcomes your group may experience after a day on the course.

  • Teambuilding: Through games, problem solving, and learning new skills, groups develop stronger bonds with one another that lead to a more efficient and positive atmosphere in future interactions.
  • Empowerment: Overcoming personal fears and self-doubt in a supportive environment leads to increased confidence. Groups that experience success as a cohesive team lead to higher efficacy, preparing the group to take on future challenges with poise.
  • Leadership skills: When all members of a group feel comfortable contributing their talents and initiative, everyone benefits from the greater possibilities.
  • Communication: An open forum of ideas leads not only to unexpected insights, but enables the group to interact positively and effectively.
  • Stress management: Persevering through difficulty builds resilience among team members and helps build a supportive network that alleviates tension when future problems arise.
  • Fun: All of these goals and more can be incorporated in exciting and enjoyable activities we provide at our beautiful outdoor campus.
  • Flexibility: A major attraction of challenge-based programming is the adaptability of activities for each group�s goals. Possible points of interest include bullying or conflict prevention, increasing employee satisfaction, or female empowerment. We realize the multitude of possibilities and encourage clients to discuss these goals with us.
Do I have to participate?

The Outdoor Pursuits philosophy is "Challenge by Choice." Participation is always voluntary. Participants are not required, forced, or coerced to participate. Each participant makes their own decisions and commitments based on what they are willing to risk. Outdoor Pursuits believes in taking one more step than previously thought possible is far more important than attaining the apparent goal of a given task. The impact of this approach will be felt within the whole group. This will have a profound effect upon the individual.

Is the challenge course safe?

Taking risks is a vital component for adventure activities, but it must be understood that sensible risk taking is contained within the boundaries of good judgment, common sense, and the established principles of safety for the Challenge Course. Challenge Course Supervisors will explain the proper procedures for all the activities. Remember that safety is based on each participant�s obligation to be safety-minded at all times. Please cooperate with your supervisors and your experience will not only be safe but also enjoyable.

What are the Course Components?

The Challenge Course is comprised of two main areas: The Games and Initiatives area and the Low Elements area.

Participants of all ages in reasonable shape can use the facilities safely. One does not have to be an athlete to experience the Challenge Course. The genuine challenges are in the mind.

Games and Initiatives

These activities take the participants from a simple warm-up to more complex problems requiring the group to plan and execute strategies for successfully completing each task. This time is devoted to stretching, getting-to-know one another, and providing an opportunity to take participants and their groups through emotional as well as physical activities.

Low Elements

Participants work through a set of activities that are carried out just above ground level. Each course element presents a unique degree of difficulty and challenge to the individual. Group members graduate through a series of activities that will work on developing trust and team work in both physical and emotional environments.

What can be accomplished?
  • Increase mutual support within a group
  • Develop teamwork and problem solving skills
  • Develop an increased level of agility
  • Enhance the participants' self-confidence and group cohesion
Who can attend?

The challenge course is designed and built for older youth and adult age populations. Younger groups may be able to utilize selected components, but discretion must be exercised. We recommend calling our office to discuss the options for younger people.

How many people can be in a group and what time does it start?

Most groups arrive at 9 a.m. and finish in the afternoon, depending on the group size. Other starting times can be arranged. Ideally, groups include 15 to 40 participants. If you have a larger group, and want to complete the workshop in one day, please contact us at 785-864-1843 or outdoorpursuits@ku.edu for some suggestions how we can best meet your needs.

What about bad weather?

The challenge course rule of thumb is to dress for the weather. KU Recreation Services will not cancel because of rain. Challenge Course Supervisors feel that if you are willing to get wet, then so are we! However, we do reserve the right to cancel due to weather conditions so uncomfortable that goals cannot be accomplished or conditions that jeopardize the safety of the participants. We request that you cancel by noon the day before so we can notify the Challenge Course Supervisors. During inclement weather we will have a building available for lunch breaks and temporary shelter. Otherwise, participants have a picnic lunch on the course.

What should we wear?

Loose fitting clothing allows for freedom of movements. Shorts can be worn during hot weather, but they increase abrasion risks. Tennis shoes or light hiking boots are the best footwear, and open toed shoes or other unsecured footwear are prohibited. Also, leave all jewelry at home.

How do I make a Reservation?

Reservation can be made by completing the Reservation Request, contacting outdoorpursuits@ku.edu or 785-864-1843 at KU Recreation Services to discuss calendar dates, group objectives, and activities that will have best interest for you group. You will be sent confirmation of the date. Please make inquiries about specific exceptions and amounts.

What are the course rates?

For course rates, please contact the Adams Campus Outdoor Educational Staff at outdoorpursuits@ku.edu or 785-864-1843.


Daily Hours

Ambler SRFC Building

Friday: 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Monday: 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Saturday: Noon - 8:00 p.m.

Sunday: Noon - 11:00 p.m.

Thursday: 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Tuesday: 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Reduced Hours 8.5-8.19
Fall Semester Hours 8.21-12.15

Administrative Office Hours

Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Monday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Saturday: CLOSED

Sunday: CLOSED

Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Reduced Hours 8.5-8.19
Fall Semester Hours 8.21-12.15

Outdoor Pursuits Office

Friday: 3;00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Monday: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Saturday: CLOSED

Sunday: CLOSED

Thursday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Reduced Hours 8.5-8.19
Fall Semester Hours 8.21-12.15

"The Chalk Rock" Climbing Wall

Friday: CLOSED

Monday: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Saturday: CLOSED

Sunday: CLOSED

Thursday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Reduced Hours 8.5-8.19
Fall Semester Hours 8.21-12.15
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