What I Learned on the Challenge Course: Overcoming Fear

Overcoming FearPresident Franklin D. Roosevelt once famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”1 Simply put, in many instances in our life, fear holds us back. It stop us in our tracks. Maybe fear stopped you from pursuing your dream job. Maybe fear kept you from asking a cute girl out on a date. Or maybe fear kept you from joining your friends on their latest adventure. Whatever the scenario, fear can be crippling and, in many cases, prevent us from truly living our lives to the fullest. Here at Terrapin Adventures, our guides and facilitators encounter fear on almost a daily basis.

Human beings are born with two phobias, two fears: phonophobia, the fear of loud noises, and basiphobia, the fear of falling.2 Another common phobia is acrophobia, the fear of heights, which affects between 2% and 5% of the entire population. As you can probably imagine, we deal with basiphobia and acrophobia quite a bit on the high ropes challenge course – 40 feet in the air. It’s only natural. But the truly amazing thing is what can happen on the challenge course when a person or a group faces their fears and, in many instances, overcomes those fears.

Overcoming Fear on the Challenge Course

For those of you who don’t know, a challenge course, sometimes called an adventure course or ropes course, involves several high-flying elements, such as climbing walls, zip lines, and more, designed to entertain and challenge participants. These courses are usually 25 to 50 feet tall, and requiring belaying.

“The elements produce powerful memories and provoke deep thoughts and emotions, while challenging physical abilities,” write Brent D. Wolfe and Diane M. Samdahl.3

Challenge courses can also be great for another reason – conquering personal fears. This is something we see all the time here at Terrapin Adventures, and it is just as rewarding for us to watch our customers confront their fears and overcome their anxieties as it is for those zipping, climbing, swinging, and crawling their way past their phobias.

The zip line and giant swing were thrilling and fun; they pushed several of our teachers to face their fears and many enjoyed the experience.

– Bonne Berry, Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School

Each and everyone of us had a wonderful time and great things were taken away from the event. I received excellent feedback from the warriors about their experiences pre and post the event. In addition, many spoke about their fears and anxieties that they faced and conquered with the activities provided at Terrapin Adventures.

– Denise Hamlin Glover, Wounded Warrior Project

I can’t tell you how wonderful the Soaring Adventure’s program for our Girl Scout troop was. Everyone LOVED it and we have many folks who want to come back. The entire Terrapin Adventure team was wonderful, working the group, keeping things moving along and making everything exciting and fun. What really impressed me was how this experience really pushed the girls to test their limits and face their fears. While not everyone made it to the top, I know they all learned a lot about themselves and teamwork.

– Suzie Egolf, Leader Girl Scout Troop 5315

Conquer Your Fears with Terrapin Adventures!

Overcoming FearConveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course with three levels taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! Each of our 19 traverses is designed to entertain and challenge participants. But what makes our ropes course truly unique is our continuous belay system. You only have to secure your safety line once for each level, letting you focus on your next challenge with confidence.

We also have a course specifically designed for children ages 5-10 – our  Terrapin Explorer kids’ course.

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All adventures are led by our expertly trained Aerial Adventure Guides and Facilitators who will be there for you every step of the way.  Everything you need including harness and helmet is provided.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited:

  1. “”Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address.””Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address. Web. 25 May 2016.
  2. “The Facts & Statistics Behind Our Most Common Phobias.” In The Nation. 2014. Web. 25 May 2016.
  3. Wolfe, B. D., and D. M. Samdahl. “Challenging Assumptions: Examining Fundamental Beliefs That Shape Challenge Course Programming and Research.”Journal of Experiential Education 28.1 (2005): 25-43. Web.
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