By Samantha Gifford, Staff Writer
Due to lack of interest, the University of Maine at Farmington’s high rope course is no longer being offered twice a month, but rather once a month.
The high ropes course program, which has been active for the past three years, “provides unique opportunities for people to challenge themselves and also to work together as a team to accomplish a goal and to figure things out,” said Jim Toner, the director of the fitness and recreation center, on Tuesday, September 24.
“It’s challenge by choice,” Toner explained, “We don’t like to put people in uncomfortable situations but we like people to challenge themselves. We don’t want them to feel bad about themselves because they couldn’t accomplish any particular aspect of the program but yet it’s a real sense of accomplishment when you do accomplish something that you didn’t think that you could do.”
This program is headed by Jacob Gerrie, a local physical education teacher in RSU 09. Gerrie explained the rewarding aspects of his position: “I like having fun. I like helping other people do something new, something different… I enjoy when people are enjoying being together.”
Mandy Ledue, a previous participant of the high ropes course explained that “it was something different,” as to why she enjoyed this program. “It was trying something new, it just seemed fun.” said Ledue.
Ledue described a typical night at high ropes. “We would get there, put on our harnesses, he would tell us what we were doing that day. If we needed to use new equipment he would tell us how, and then we would just get started. We would also have to wait and see who came because the numbers is a big part of the program and what we can do.” said Ledue.
High ropes offers multiple different structures that hang from the ceiling, offering a variety of challenges for participants, some of which can be completed individually and some that require teamwork. Most structures involve the acts of climbing and propelling.
The high ropes course is a program free to university students but is also open to the community for a small fee of $5.00 per session. Each session is held in courts 1 and 2 at the fitness and recreation center from 7pm to 9pm.
“If there is interest we could offer more programs. If there is demonstrated interest in the program we would offer more opportunity.” said Toner in response to what it would take to consider opening high ropes up to the possibility of running twice a month again.
Not only will demonstrated interest have an impact on the programs occurrence but it will also have an impact on future plans for the program. “Eventually we hope to be able to offer more training opportunities where students can participate in the administration of a ropes course program and learn about belaying, and the knots, and the safety, and all of the different aspects of the program,” said Toner.
The upcoming dates of each session are as follows: October 22, November 12, and December 10. Anyone interested in participating should contact the front desk at the fitness and recreation center. They can be contacted at 207-778-7495.