4-H challenge course first in an urban setting

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010
By Betsy Fradd, WSU Extension 4-H

PUYALLUP - The first WSU 4-H challenge course in an urban setting will be built at Camp Long in West Seattle.

A memorandum of agreement between WSU Extension 4-H and the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation will provide outdoor facilities for youth to experience hands-on activities designed to help them develop decision making, teamwork, and leadership skills.

Scott VanderWey, WSU 4-H adventure education director, said the activities will help increase the teens’ self confidence and positive risk taking.

“Our learn-by-doing method engages teens so they understand what it’s like to make healthy decisions for themselves and their peers,” said VanderWey. "The research based approach, known as social emotional learning, is proven to increase student motivation, student attendance, mastery of subject material, and a more positive school climate."

Seattle Parks and Recreation and WSU Extension have been partnering for almost three decades to serve youth and adults through 4-H clubs, Master Gardener programs and community outreach. City of Seattle naturalist Christina Gallegos has advocated for a challenge course on Seattle park property since the early 1990s.

“As a challenge facilitator, I am convinced that there is no better method to help connect youth with nature, leadership and problem solving skills,” she said.
Since 1980 WSU 4-H has run adventure education programs in 19 of the state's 39 counties. Camp Long will be the state's ninth 4-H challenge course.

Other courses are located in North Bend, Chelan, Leavenworth, Yakima, Gibbs Lake in Jefferson County, Pan Handle and Saint Pete’s in Thurston County, and Twin Lakes in Ferry County on the Colville Indian Reservation. More than 250,000 youth have participated in the challenge program.

Groundbreaking for the challenge course at Camp Long is set to begin in spring 2011, and the facility is expected to be open to the public in the fall.

For more information on the WSU 4-H Adventure Education Program visit:

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