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Print"Søndags portrett" Becky Stenersen from Washington State.

Becky was brought here for a couple of weeks last year, by Aud Åshild, to see if there was any activity that could be adopted from America in order to develop the available activities at the camping. They soon found out that a Challenge Course could be a good idea.



This summer there has been a guest at Uvdal camping, Becky Stenersen from Washington State, USA.

Becky was brought here for a couple of weeks last year, by Aud Åshild, to see if there was any activity that could be adopted from America in order to develop the available activities at the camping. They soon found out that a Challenge Course could be a good idea. Challenge Courses are very popular in the states so Becky was initially surprised by the lack of them in Norway, but after this summer that might be about to change. (Find out more about challenge courses at the end of the text).

Becky is currently studying biology at Western Washington University. She works as a wilderness guide for troubled youth and as a W-EMT (Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician) for Bellingham Mountain Rescue (search and rescue on Mt. Baker). This summer has been a different and unique experience and she has left her job in the States to come and visit Knut Morten and Aud Åshild at Uvdal. She originally planned to help out by arranging wilderness adventure trips, climbing trips and the like, but the interest was little and so she found herself with all the time she needed to begin constructing a Challenge Course. She explained that she is accustomed to interacting and impacting young adults and she really enjoys helping them discover their potential through what is referred to as adventure based experiential education. She realized that the Challenge Course was something she could give back to Uvdal so that once she leaves, in some way she could continue to impact others in a positive way through this new experience. She said, "No matter what I `m doing, I want there to be a fulfilling purpose." When I asked her how she thought the course would turn out she replied that initially, she did not know what to expect. She wanted to build a Challenge Course that met her high standards, yet she was concerned about the available resources to implement a successful challenge course. However, she was positively surprised to find out that no matter what was needed to build the course, she could find both the resource and a helping hand all within a few kilometers. Now that the course stands finished she is pleased that she has been able to express her creativity and that it exceeded her expectations. Already there has been much interest in the course and last Sunday a representative from KFUM (YMCA) Drammen visited and was impressed by the work. There are already arrangements being made for groups to come and use it.

I asked how she thought the summer had been as a whole, here in Norway. What she has been up to, how Uvdal differs from her hometown and if she plans to come back at a later point. She explained that apart from building the Challenge Course she has filled the days with exploring the wilderness, running, biking and enjoying late night swims. When asked about the difference from home the first thing she says "less people". She continued to say "at home there are always a lot of people around to interact with and so I was a little bit concerned the lack of people here could take some adjustment. But it has turned out great, the people I have come in contact with have become good friends and the language barrier has not been too much of a difficulty, 'quality over quantity'." Her family came over for a week at the beginning of August and they went to visit relatives in Bergen, Stavanger and Eiken. They also visited Kjerag Bolten where Becky dared 60km/h winds and stepped out onto the famous wedged rock suspended 1100 meters high. Her future plans are unknown; one day at a time she says. She reminded me that her biggest challenge is to give, "all of my presence to the present and not be stuck in the future or the past." There are too many factors to be sure of anything, but she hopes to be able to continue with the guiding on the side of her studying. She says that if the need arises for her to be here again, she will consider it for sure.

To finish the interview I asked her if she felt she had any unfinished business. The immediate response was "Accordion". She wants to learn how to play the accordion, and if anyone has an accordion lying around, she is desperately trying to buy one!

Tekst og foto Daniel Aasberg.

What is a Challenge Course?

In the early 1980` s, a new form of team work training was developed which had its roots in the specialty branches of the US Military and Navy. Elite groups such as the Navy SEALS needed a method that would train special task forces as a dynamic group; a group able to adapt and succeed in all circumstances. It was soon realized that scenario training and physical training could only bring a group so far in their potential as a team. An idea was brought forth that focused more on how the group processed thought, opposed to the solutions they came up with. The focus was more on the journey and not the destination. This idea, over the years, has been refined and modified to become known as a modern day challenge course.

A challenge course seeks to attain certain individual and team characteristics which are essential to personal and group success. There are countless opportunities to learn such skills in one`s own life, yet many of these opportunities are lost because they are overlooked. For example, while doing a project with a team of co-workers, the only thing important is meeting the deadline. This is the goal and the destination. Everybody works to meet this goal, and in the end the project is complete and nobody wants to think about it. What may be less apparent is the hidden dynamic of the group; the individual roles each person played. These roles can only be discovered when the focus shifts from the destination of the deadline to the journey of maximizing a group `s potential. The experience of a challenge course allows for an opportunity which is conducive to defining and articulating the different aspects of the team. The good aspects as well as the bad aspects of the group are recognized in activities, which is why these activities foster the characteristics which are essential to personal and team growth.

A Challenge Course:

· Improves Self-Confidence

· Enhances Communication Skills

· Develops Decision Making Skills

· Teaches Conflict Resolution Skills

· Leadership Skills

· Promotes Trust

· Increases Individual Responsibility

· Develops Group Cohesion

· Builds Awareness of Group Process

· Improves Physical Fitness

· It Is FUN!

Tekst: Becky Stenersen.


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