The summer of 2016 will bring exciting changes and new programmatic elements to Camp Tanako. We are so excited to start construction on a high ropes course with four elements, a climbing tower, and zip line. A high ropes course is a combination of both vertical and horizontal elements or challenges constructed primarily from wood, galvanized cable, and ropes installed above the ground between trees or wooden poles. They are designed to be the ultimate challenge. Some are aimed at team building, cooperation, and communication. Others are designed to challenge an individual but still offer cooperation and communication benefits as well.

Camp Tanako currently has team building initiatives, but no formally designed challenges which directly focus on the development of an individual camper. With a ropes course, there is a great opportunity for campers and participants to learn about risk taking, their own perceived limits, how they perform and transform under pressure, how they give and receive support to and from others, and how communication and collaboration will help individuals achieve more than they thought they could accomplish. In other words, the body of Christ is set in motion.

People have different abilities, and a ropes course helps participants realize they can contribute their gifts to benefit themselves and the group on and off the course. A ropes course is a fun activity, but more importantly, it’s a tool used for discovery. Structured debriefing helps bring it all home, and campers will utilize what they discover about themselves during their remaining time at camp and for the rest of their lives.  Sparks ignited on the high ropes course creates an illuminating ripple effect as campers carry their new experiences back to their communities and local churches, igniting sparks in others they encounter.

The construction of this exciting new program at Camp Tanako has been made possible by several generous gifts. A grant of $20,000 was awarded by the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas.  A second grant from the Arkansas Annual Conference of $20,000 was also provided at the end of last year to get the process rolling.  Generous gifts have been provided by several individuals and community/private foundations.  Fifteen thousand dollars is still needed to complete the purchase of all the gear, hardware, and training needed for the course to be fully functional by summer 2016.  Please consider donating to this incredible new element of programming at Camp Tanako.  The use of this course will be available for summer camps and guest rental groups throughout the year.

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