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Florida TechFlorida Tech Challenge Course

Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” The Florida Tech Challenge Course does just that for a wide variety of people. From Olympic athletes to Boy Scouts, SWAT teams to birthday parties, the Challenge Course has provided a positive learning experience for team building and leadership events that will leave you tired, scuffed up and with a real sense of accomplishment.

Located on 86 acres in the Trailhead Preserve, the course is home to High Ropes, Marine Obstacle, Air Assault and Leadership Reaction Courses. These are all built to military specs and were originally put in to support the Florida Tech Army ROTC program. Since the course is on public-use land, it is open to the public, and all funds generated by the course remain there to cover facilitation, maintenance and improvement costs.

The High Ropes Course was designed as a Special Forces qualifier, and soldiers went through with no fall protection. Currently, all participants go through connected to an overhead cable for safety, but the “perceived risk” is very real; heart rates increase and people are challenged to overcome their fears. The course consists of elements that will test your balance, strength and ability to think clearly and persevere under the stress of being 30 feet in the air.

One participant looked at it and cried but was helping others get through before it was over — that is the kind of transformation in confidence this can provide.

The Marine Obstacle Course is a “sprint course,” with nine obstacles in 100 meters. This is the same course U.S. Marines use in boot camp, so it will present a challenge to the individual or can be done as a team. The Air Assault Course is nine elements over ¼ mile and can also be done as an individual or team event. These can be used as a warm up and initial assessment of a group, or a “smoke session” for the more athletic groups.

The Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) is a problem-solving/teambuilding course that consists of 16 elements. Teams are given a mission, a brief planning period and then time for execution of the event. Once complete, an After Action Review is held to help the team determine how they can improve and what they did well as a team. This is not a critique by the facilitator, but a process where the team figures out how they can improve. This is an incredibly effective tool that allows you to see group dynamics and how they work through a process that might otherwise take days or weeks to see. The military has been using the LRC to assess and develop teams and leaders for years.

The course is available by registration only to groups of 10 or more for $60 per person for four hours. The Florida Tech Challenge Course offers a special rate of $35 per person for all students, non-profit organizations, military and first responders. It also offers offer programs from four hours to one week in length; the multiple courses in one location allows for the flexibility to customize the event to meet the participants’ specific goals.

What can the Florida Tech Challenge Course do for you? It had the pleasure of hosting the Chinese National Softball Team, starting them off with some small team building initiatives and icebreakers. From there, they moved to the Marine Obstacle Course, where they were challenged physically and learned the importance of technique, teamwork and trust. They moved on to the Leadership Reaction Course, where they faced the more difficult challenge of critical/creative thinking and problem solving. These young ladies had fun while learning important lessons on how to be successful on the field and in life. When they were done, the coach said she would give up a game or a day of training to come out and do what they did at the course.

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