The Cougar’s Catch of the Week comes from the students in Mrs. Houston’s class at Camp Hanes. The class was at the zip line. The activity was a “challenge by choice” activity. The camp staff encouraged all the children to participate even if they were frightened. They wanted the kids to go as far as they were comfortable, then challenge themselves to take one more step. This might be taking one step further on the rope ladder to the zipping platform or to step off the platform and zip down over the river.
There were a couple of kids who were scared and shared that they were not going to zip, outright. They were all kitted up in the safety harnesses and helmets. They were in line to go up the rope ladder. Three of the four students said that they would not be going past step one on the rope ladder. Well, three took the first step and then climbed right up to the top and with nearly no hesitation zipped right down. The smiles on their faces were fantastic. Those three students all took a second turn with no hesitation. The fourth child, a girl, got about halfway up the rope ladder before she froze. She was upset and scared. One of our chaperones skittled right up the rope ladder. With him right behind her, and her classmates cheering from below the tower, she was able to get up the ladder and onto the platform forty feet in the air. She became scared again when it came time for her to zip. Her classmates called her name and said cheers and encouraged her. But, she’d already pushed herself way past her comfort level to get up that ladder. She stayed up on the platform while the rest of her classmates took their second turns. She helped the counselor haul zipping pulleys up onto the platform from below. She encouraged her classmates and cheered their zips. She ended up getting off the tower by climbing back down the rope ladder that had terrified her on the way up, but she was so proud of herself for even getting up on the tower. Not one classmate lessened her achievement by making fun of her for not zipping. What a positive experience for everyone!