Challenge Course Team-Building Programs

Challenge Course

What can our programs do for your group?

The Challenge Course provides adventurous, personalized recreational and team building experiences for your class, team or organization.  We will work with you to create a customized experience with the greatest opportunity for the growth and development for your group. 

The activities will help your group:

  • develop problem-solving skills
  • generate mutual support and trust
  • enhance each participants' self-confidence
  • improve interpersonal communication
  • overcome fear and doubt
  • cultivate an awareness of personal roles, responsibilities, and accountability
  • have fun in community and personal life
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Our Philosophy

We believe that each program participant comes to the course with a rich background of knowledge and experience. As facilitators it is our responsibility to create an emotionally, mentally, and physically secure environment where participants are challenged to share ideas and learn from each other. In order to create this space and work toward the group’s goals we progress through a series of activities while practicing experiential learning theory.


The Challenge Course is a place and a program. You can visit our scenic campus location with scenic views of NAU and the San Francisco Peaks or we can bring programming to you.

Typical Elements and Activities

Northern Arizona University’s certified facilitators will lead your group through collective and individual challenge activities that involve play and hypothetical experiences.There are five types of activities on the Challenge Course. Each one builds on the others and has a specific purpose.

Introduction, Goal, and Expectation Setting

Facilitator’s begin each program with introductions and interactively setting shared expectations, goals, and a vision for the program. This is the first step in creating a positive and secure environment for challenge, growth and learning.

Games and initiatives

Examples of games and initiatives include: tag games, icebreakers, complex logical problems, and physical tasks. During these activities participants begin to loosen up and apply the expectations set at the beginning of the program.

Low elements

Conducted at ground level, participants work through activities designed to target goal areas such as communication, problem solving, and trust. Many of these activities, such as the Trust Sequence, Wild Woozy, and Spider’s Web, will help each participant build confidence in the other group members.

High elements

The high elements provide the opportunity for individuals to set a personal goal which will require the group’s cooperation and support to achieve. Through the use of perceived risk and total support, individuals begin to realize how to succeed. Each of these activities begins at ground level and culminates on obstacles 35 to 45 feet off the ground.


Facilitators lead conversations throughout and at the conclusion of the program to connect the experience to the group’s larger goals beyond the program.  Participants are encouraged to express their opinions and thoughts through use of props, questioning, and metaphors.    

A meaningful final debrief wraps up the experience and sends the group off with new perspectives.

Safety and Perceived Risk

We go to great lengths to make sure physical and mental risks are minimized on the Challenge Course.

At the NAU Challenge Course, we:

Many of our activities involve perceived risk to create a learning experience while minimizing the actual risk to the participant’s wellness.

For example, climbing to the top of a telephone pole and jumping off seems risky, but with the support of trained staff members, high quality equipment, and a cooperative belay team, the actual risk is minimal.

In addition, the “challenge by choice” philosophy empowers participants to choose their level of participation based on their comfort level. Individuals will not be forced to do any action, unless their wellness is in danger. For example, a participant can decide whether or not to climb on a high element, but must wear a helmet while climbing.