The last two days have seen over 100 students from Harper Adams University College come through the gates at the Adventure Rope Course. With a large number of foreign students joining them for the third year of their studies, the staff have brought them to the Rope Course near the beginning of the academic year as a way of encouraging the students to mix and form friendships for the last couple of years.
With over 50 students on each day, they were split into five groups of 10 or 11. With five activities running and four time slots of 45 minutes each, the groups all got a crack at four of the five activities on offer.
With the Climbing Wall, the Jacobs Ladder, the Adventure Tunnels, the Leap of Faith and the Giant Swing, there was something for everyone. Some involved skill, others teamwork, others simply a head for heights.
On Thursday, I found myself putting groups through the Adventure Tunnels. This is the only activity on the Rope Course itself that doesn’t involve ropes and harnesses, but often turns out to be a favourite. With dark tunnels, trap doors, dead ends and various obstacles along the way, some groups can spend ages going round in circles before they find their way out! However, rest assured, there are a number of escape hatches that can be used if necessary. Not everyone fancies the dark or confined spaces but, for those that opt out, it’s usually quite fun to listen through the walls and hear the progress and exclamations of the rest of the group.
Friday was very much a repeat with a new group of students and this time I found myself operating the Giant Swing. This can often be hard work for the instructor, but the combination of a good system and co-operative students meant that the whole procedure of changing one pair over to another worked very smoothly and efficiently. This is one activity that seems to require a lot of effort for a relatively short thrill, but tends to be one that many participants want to do again and again if given the chance. Unfortunately, 45 minutes only allowed one blast each but it certainly left a lot of smiles on faces!
I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Harper Adams groups for the last two years, and they have both been great fun due to the students’ willingness to get stuck in and have a laugh. I hope they keep coming back!