Life isn’t always easy, and neither is the Challenge Course at Northwest Missouri State University's Mozingo Outdoor Education and Recreation Area.
The facility, consisting of dizzying cable walks and giant climbing towers, is a popular destination for area youth and school groups and is designed to promote both physical fitness and team building.
Seventh- and eighth-graders from St. Gregory’s School took their bi-annual trip to the Mozingo Lake course on Wednesday, where they spent the morning having some vertical fun and building closer connections with classmates.
Though the day was cool and windy, the weather didn’t stop the students, and a few teachers, from taking full advantage of the MOERA experience.
After instructions from MOERA Director John Gustafson, as well as Bearcats football players Shane Shade and Willie Dyson, the students geared up and started climbing.
St. Gregory's physical education teacher Kaila Ballard said the students have been looking forward to their MOERA trip for some time, but that the activity represents more than just a chance to have fun outside.
"We're trying to build teamwork skills and trust," Ballard said. "These kids already do a lot together at school anyway since we have small classes, but this goes beyond the school."
Climbing at MOERA requires a minimum of three people, a climber and two spotters.
Climbers rely on spotters to control their safety ropes and ensure that harnesses and other gear are properly connected and used.
Without a group effort, making it to the top of the towers would be dangerous as well as difficult. So one of the key lessons is that teamwork is often needed to achieve one's goals.
"We want them to be able to work together outside of the classroom as well as they do inside the classroom," Ballard said.