DELAVAN — Delavan-Darien High School’s adventure courses have been a hit with the students enrolled in them. Now the public is invited to experience what students are doing in and out of the classroom.
The new 40-foot high-ropes Adventure Course at DDHS will be open to the public to use for free this Sunday, June 2, from noon until 3 p.m.
Anyone wishing to try out the course on that day should simply show up (the course is located near the entrance of the DDHS soccer complex behind Borg Memorial Stadium, 150 Cummings St., Delavan). Parents must accompany any children under 18 who wish to use the course, including Delavan-Darien students. A liability release form must be signed before using the course.
The course will have the following challenges available during the free preview: Outdoor rock wall climbing, zip lining, a 40-foot rope ladder, a multi-vine traverse across a tight rope, a traversing line, bosun chairs, and a giant swing.
Other elements of the wall visitors can learn about are the leap of faith, the giant’s ladder, hanging climbing walls, the flying squirrel, team beams and the portable pamper pole.
“It should be a lot of fun,” said Ben Herland, DDHS adventure program director and physical education teacher. “I hope a lot of people take advantage of this. Trying adventurous activities like this for free doesn’t come around very often.”
Students have been using the challenge course and other adventure gear for months in the school’s new Adventure Course that Herland teaches.
Just this school year, DDHS students have had the opportunity to challenge their climbing skills on the rock wall inside the school’s west gym, go snowshoeing in the winter months, go canoeing and kayaking on Delavan’s Lake Comus, learn safety skills for city bicycle riding, and go mountain biking on trails in the city and at the John Muir biking trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest Lower Unit near La Grange.
“They’ve loved it. The students have been really excited about this class, especially the outdoor challenges, testing themselves and their peers,” said Herland, , who also noted that Phoenix Middle School students have already started using some of the course’s low-level elements to strengthen teambuilding and communication. “They’ve been supportive of one another, breaking personal barriers, conquering fears, and building trust among one another.”
Herland said the Adventure Class activities, especially the high-ropes course, have helped improve the atmosphere at DDHS.
“The backgrounds and experience of the students in the course is very wide,” Herland said. “The course is designed to get them to all communicate, work together and respect one another no matter who they hang out with regularly during or after school. They do that on the course and it has translated to being done in the school, too.
“At the end of the semester, I have them reflect on how they’ve grown personally and interpersonally after these experiences and it really helps them change and grow together as peers.”
Herland said students are quick to offer encouragement and help to students who may be timid, and they’re learning to work together as a team to overcome challenges presented by the course, whether they’re on the ground or 40 feet up in the air.
Course rentals now open
The high-ropes adventure course at DDHS will be open this summer for groups to rent. For more information, email Herland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for more information about the high-ropes course and other DDHS adventure activities on the Delavan-Darien School District website (www.ddschools.org), coming later this summer.