Thanks to St. John Lutheran Trust Fund and Roughrider Electric, Badlands Ministries now has a new low and high ropes course to replace its 14-year-old high ropes course by the river.
"They provided all the poles and they set the poles for us and the anchors and stuff, which is a huge part of the course. The course itself cost, through the trust fund, it was $60,000 plus the stuff from Roughrider," said Brent Seaks, executive director of Badlands Ministries.
Both courses will help the camp with team building.
"The low ropes is something you would do in a bigger group," Seaks said. "You could have probably anywhere from five to 20 people that could go through the different elements, and they challenge you in different ways, but in all of them, you have to work together to accomplish whatever the common goal of that element is for that particular part of the low ropes."
The high ropes course is 40 feet in the air.
"With this new course, we have a new system, Coudou Pro ... We have a rock climbing wall that from the ground, you belay someone up to the main platform of the climbing tower," Seaks said. "Once you're up on that platform, then you're clipped into that Coudou self-belay system, and what that allows you to do is go through the elements at your own pace around the course, and there's eight different sections or elements that you go through ... and it brings you back to the tower. Once you're at the tower, you get clipped onto the zipline, and you zipline down."
It also has a power pole.
"You would climb up with a partner, like a telephone pole. When you get to the top, you both stand and jump together and try to grab a free-standing trapeze in the air. They're definitely high adventure," Seaks said.
Staff was trained on the finished course last week, and the first group of campers went through the course this week.
"I think they really loved it. Some parts of it are more challenging than others, of course ... Depending on what you're looking for, the high ropes is much more thrilling because you have the added excitement of being that high up in the air, challenging yourself. The low ropes is less thrilling, but I think that's a lot of fun," Seaks said.
The low ropes course can be used by campers of any age, but the high ropes course is for campers who are at least 12 years old and can properly fit into the safety equipment, including harness.
Seaks sees the course as a draw to both campers and outside groups like sports teams, mission groups and businesses.
"The low ropes course, the day it was finished, we had a girls' softball tea from Bismarck come out and do that course together, so I think it's going to continue to be a very popular draw with sports teams. On the old course, we had businesses that would come out and do that together," he said.