• Challenge Education participants
  • Challenge Education participants
  • Preparing for Challenge Education Course
  • Challenge Education staff at the Pamper Plank

Some Common Questions

Where are programs held? Most Challenge Programs are held at Hartwick's Pine Lake Environmental Campus, located just eight miles from the main campus. Pine Lake is the site of the low and high challenge course, and provides a retreat atmosphere – a chance to get away from campus or the work setting, and gain a fresh perspective. Occasionally, shorter programs are offered on the College's main campus.


Is it safe? The challenge program is very safe. Facilitators are trained by nationally recognized Project Adventure, Inc. to manage safety issues and are experienced in teaching, social and human services, counseling and environmental education. Participants are taught how to keep each other safe emotionally and physically. The challenge course is inspected annually by Project Adventure. Participants wear approved climbing harnesses and helmets on high events and are protected there by a rope safety system called a belay.


How long does it take? It depends on what components you want in your program. The more time you can spend, the more your group will gain because there will be more opportunities for people to try out new skills and behaviors. Most standard programs are 4-8 hours long. Please contact the Director to discuss your needs before setting a time frame.


What group size is necessary? Under normal circumstances we prefer to work with groups of between 9 and 30 people. Please contact the Director for more information.

Do I have to be in great shape? No, not necessarily. Anyone can participate. Cooperation and mutual support, rather than competition and physical prowess, are emphasized. Although the program may be physically demanding, each person chooses his or her own level of challenge.


What should I wear? Older, looser clothing is recommended for freedom of movement and activity. Extra layers are useful in the cooler forest climate; plan to be outdoors for many hours in a row. Sturdy tied shoes or boots are a must.

How would a Challenge Education program benefit myself and my group? Our programs are designed to help create a sense of unity within the group by getting to know one another better and developing a sense of community. The program will focus on respect, trust, support, and most importantly, having fun. Our programs can be used to develop important skills such as problem solving, cooperation and collaboration, conflict resolution, group awareness, effective communication, coping with stress and achieving goals. Leadership is another key component. Participants will be exposed to different leadership styles and situations, and will have the opportunity to practice being a peer leader, and a supportive follower. These experiences are geared to also effect the participants personally by promoting self confidence, self reliance, speaking up, and an awareness of self and others.