Impact Reports

4-H Challenge Course

2014

Developing capable, caring, contributing citizens through research-based, guided adventure exploration and experiential learning.

Partner

Washington State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is collaborating with Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide the residents of Seattle, King County, and beyond, the benefits of an educational partnership for school districts, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, businesses, and the public, resulting in the strengthening of community life.

Youth need more than knowledge to be successful and productive members of society—they also need social and emotional skills such as communication, leadership, cooperation, respect, trust, self-confidence, conflict resolution, decision-making, and problem-solving, frequently referred to as “emotional intelligence.” In today’s world of standardized testing and increasing pressure for academic success, students have fewer and fewer opportunities to develop these life skills (Source: “Using positive youth development to predict contribution and risk behaviors in early adolescence …” Int J Behav. Dev., vol. 31.). Currently, our country is experiencing a 30% to 40% dropout rate in our public education system. Nationally, the graduation rate for Caucasian students is only 78%; rates for minority students are lower still: 72% for Asian students, 55% for African-American students, and 53% for Hispanic students (Source: “Getting ahead by staying behind: An evaluation of Florida’s program to end social promotion.” Education Next 6).

Washington State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is collaborating with Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide the residents of Seattle, King County, and beyond, the benefits of an educational partnership for school districts, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, businesses, and the public, resulting in the strengthening of community life. As a result, an outdoor Challenge Course has been established in an urban setting, at Camp Long in Seattle. The hands-on learning and experiential methodologies used in the program are the tools for re-engaging students in the learning process.

In active development for seven years, Phase One—a low course and two stand-alone high elements—was completed in September 2011. Phase Two—a hub-and-spoke high ropes course—was completed in 2012. This has allowed both the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation and WSU Extension 4-H to meet strategic goals of strengthening relationships and building a sense of community while promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Camp Long provides a unique location, adjacent to a major bus route, making it accessible to all Seattle public school students. Open to the public, Camp Long also serves the largest school district in the state; Seattle Public Schools has 50,000 students in 95 schools.

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