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Winter is coming!

29 November 2018 Chances are good that most of your courses are done for the winter and they won't see participants until the snow melts and the temperatures rise. If that's the case for you, our Challenge Course Manager, Mike Sallade, put together a few tips for you to consider when winterizing your course. While it may take time now, it'll save you time and money later.        Mike says to:Store soft gear in close topped bins.Exclude mice, moisture, dust and UV light from your ropes, harnesses, and helmets.Label the bins to make opening your course go smoothly in the spring.Keep your high element p-cords a little loose.Trees and pole wiggle a lot over the course of a winter, keeping those haul lines loose will reduce sawing actions on cable and tree bark, and save you from climbing to restring them in the spring.Not too loose! Too much travel can damage pulleys on traversing elements or allow p-cords to tangle around branches.Bring in anything that isn’t nailed down.Wooden platforms will last years longer if they don’t sit on the ground covered by snow.Meuse, Islands, and Zig Zag boards will warp less and last longer too.Low-hanging Hand lines, swings, rope ladders and the like can be an attractive nuisance. Weather also takes its toll on them.Make it easy on your inspectors.Make a list of things you want them to take an extra good look at.If you know your course will need minor repairs, let your vendor know when you are scheduling the inspection.Organize your gear: similar carabiners together, harnesses and helmets grouped by yearLubricate your locks.There is nothing worse than a lock that is frozen when the rest of the world has thawed.

Wildside Kit for the Win!

Austin Paulson weighed in about what his favorite props were to use with groups, and without a doubt, the Wildside Kit came in at number one. Inside or outside, lots of space or not much at all, it's not a surprise that our trainers turn to this prop for many of their programs. My go-to portable prop is the Wildside Kit. It is our most versatile, actively challenging, and easily modified tool that can bring to light a team’s learning outcomes. It can be briefed and physically set up in many configurations and can even be enhanced with other common gymnasium products like hanging ropes, adjacent climbing walls, and basketball hoops. Throw in a few more props like a crutch, rope, hula hoops, etc. and your imagination is the only limitation.My favorite publication/activity is Zoom and Re-Zoom. These picture books can be used in several ways simple and complex.  Many of my training, technical and team-oriented, focus on gaining perspective and knowing when to zoom in on a detail or out on the big picture. When training with complex technical systems or having challenging conversations with others, Zoom creates the perfect visual metaphor. I find that the activity, when done early in a training day, creates a common language that the group members refer back to consistently throughout the training. It's great to hear about what works best from the folks who are out there using the products. Their feedback can be useful when planning curriculum and budgeting for the year.

Back to School Shopping

Going back to school means new school supplies and activities to use that will engage your learners right from the start. We know that choosing the right activities and props can be difficult and often overwhelming, so we asked our experts to choose their favorites and explain why these items made the list. Camille Oosterman was quick with her list of must-haves before she heads out with a group. Her list includes rubber rings, Connectiles, and the Wild Side Kit, and here's why: Rubber rings - they are soft and friendly, just asking to be touched! They are great for activities like Group Juggle, Mass Pass, Sneak Attack, or as objects to retrieve along a Wild Side Kit or with Stepping Stones. And it’s a rainbow!!!Connectiles - great icebreaker or time filler! Really gets participants’ brains turning and working together. It’s also great that it comes with two sets of two different puzzles, so a large group can all work on part of it at the same time. Great way to start a conversation in a classroom about creating your own!Wild Side Kit - brings the adventure home! Lifts the level of risk, is visually appealing, so versatile and open to a variety of possibilities! I love that I can set it up differently depending on the level of challenge I want to pose to a group.  More trainer recommendations are coming, so stay tuned!

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