Creating Leaders 40 Feet in the Air

On-campus ropes course welcomes 4,000 annually

You can learn a lot about yourself when you’re 40 feet in the air, dangling above the ground while swaying on a two-inch-wide guide wire. You’ll also learn more about the people surrounding you. Those are the goals at Georgia Tech’s Leadership Challenge Complex, an innovative, on-campus educational lab that welcomes nearly 4,000 people a year. The course and accompanying workshops are specifically designed for groups.  

The Georgia Tech Leadership Challenge Complex is an innovative, on-campus educational lab that welcomes nearly 4,000 people a year. The course and accompanying workshops are specifically designed for groups. Participants climb cargo nets, walk a tight rope and hop from suspended platforms. The course ends with either a zip-line ride or leaping off the 40-foot high structure (while harnessed).

Groups of all sizes can reserve a session by contacting the Georgia Tech Leadership Course at 404.585.1585.

“We want individuals to walk away with a clear understanding of how they can work more effectively as part of a group,” said David Knobbe, assistant director for the campus recreation at Georgia Tech. “The experiences we provide challenge individuals to evaluate their own behavior and contributions to the group. Our goal is to help them to use insights gleaned from the experience as a base for planning more effective behavior in the roles they play at work and in every aspect of their lives.”

The complex is open to Georgia Tech, community and corporate groups for half-day (four hours) and full-day (eight hour) sessions. Participants climb cargo nets, walk a tight rope and hop from suspended platforms. The course ends with either a zip-line ride or leaping off the 40-foot-high structure (while harnessed).

It’s not as easy as it sounds though. Course facilitators create complex challenges for group interaction. For example, an instructor may require that all team members must be on the small platform before anyone can move to the next one. Or all team members must be within an arm’s reach while walking the tightropes.

Georgia Tech staff members and students supervise the course and teach the leadership skills.

“Those skills have been invaluable for me while working at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI),” explained Austin Ward, an Electrical Engineer undergraduate student who has served as a course facilitator since 2010. “I’m better able to read the personalities of my co-workers and the dynamics of our GTRI groups because of the principles I’ve learned and taught at the complex. Working as a facilitator has made me a more effective leader overall.”

Groups of all sizes can reserve a session by contacting the Georgia Tech Leadership Course at 404.585.1585 or by completing the online registration form. To learn more, visit the Leadership Challenge Complex website.