Challenge by choice

Venture Out’s teambuilding activities help students and others grow as groups and individuals.

Venture Out coordinator Thomas Worsham on the Venture Out course
Venture Out coordinator Thomas Worsham said the program emphasizes the role of experiential learning, which helps participants use and develop intuition to solve problems. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

By Jesse Berlin

Whether you’re part of a class, workplace, student organization or community group, on or off campus, Venture Out can help you develop a more cohesive team.

“It’s a way to really test your skills and work on a lot of the team dynamics that are super important in building trust,” Venture Out coordinator Thomas Worsham said.

Located at Epple Field in Columbia, Venture Out had to shut down last year due to the pandemic. Worsham was brought on this summer to get it back up and running for the fall semester.

Venture Out will resume operations Sept. 13, with the Team Challenge Course open to small groups of eight to 15 people. The Odyssey High Ropes Course and Alpine Climbing Tower will open once the Venture Out staff has had a chance to do some refresher trainings.

When operations resume, Venture Out will be both a facility and a service, with Venture Out staff leading and supervising groups in teambuilding activities. Either way, groups sign up on the Venture Out website.

Worsham said the program helps participants begin to think “more introspectively about what you do and why you do it,” using and developing intuition to solve problems.

Want a fun challenge for your group or team? Request a Venture Out course today!

“We focus heavily on Challenge by Choice with our Alpine Tower and our Odyssey High Ropes Course as a way to step out of your comfort zone but not so far out of your comfort zone that you’re not going to learn something or enjoy yourself,” Worsham said.

After groups complete their activities, Venture Out staff hold debriefing sessions so participants can reflect on what they’ve done. Groups discuss how they can become more collaborative, strengthen team bonds and improve communication.

Worsham hopes participants walk away with a feeling of accomplishment, having discovered something about themselves and becoming closer as a unit.

“The objective is to climb the tower, but the goal doesn’t have to be, ‘Get to the top,’” he said. “Go as high as you want or try an element that you think you might be good at or one that you may have never done before.”

By challenging themselves, Worsham said, teams “leave our facility with that mindset or that memory of, ‘I was able to do this here at Venture Out. I’m able to do similar things at work or at school.’”

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