Experiences of youth at ropes challenge course camp

This study focused on one critical element of the California Community Partners for Youth (CCPY) program, its yearly January camp which encompasses the High Ropes Challenge Course. This is a 4-day residential camp where mentors, coaches, staff and volunteers encourage youth to engage in challenging activities. The purpose of this study was to explore CCPY youth’s experience at the High Ropes Challenge Course. This qualitative study was conducted with sixteen 9th grade students, ages 14-16, who were enrolled in the CCPY program at their high school in East San Jose, CA. Qualitative data were collected by CCPY volunteers who conducted interviews with the participants at the camp. This study used the existing data collected by CCPY. A major finding of this study indicated that changes in self-esteem, trust, teamwork, communication and relationships skill did occur as a result of engaging in the camp activities. Another major finding indicated that participants felt hope and a sense of purpose after engaging in activities at the camp. The study revealed that in order to for participants to have a consistent sense of purpose, hope, perseverance and motivation in life, they need to believe deeply in something and in themselves. The study also found that ropes courses can be a catalyst to forming relationships, building self-esteem and trust, and teamwork abilities. Findings presented in this study are meaningful to social workers because they give insight on useful activities, strategies or programs to assist promoting positive change for at-risk youth.