First came the dream, then the concept drawings and finally the back hoes and the cranes.  Today YMCA Wanakita campers have a spectacular new challenge course! Adding a new component like this  is a major undertaking.  After five years of planning, the final hurdle was crossed with support through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, which funded $100,000 of the $250,000 cost.

“The challenge course can hold up to 24 campers at a time,” says Andy Gruppe, General Manager, YMCA Wanakita. “That’s a game changer to be able to have so many people participate in this type of activity at once.  This course has really been thoughtfully designed to support our program and values.  For example, it allows for both individual pursuits and team pursuits, where campers must work together to achieve goals.”

“This challenge was designed specifically for YMCA Wanakita, which has a broad camp community of children and adult campers,” explains Nick Owen from Adventureworks Associates Inc., the specialists who designed and built the course.  “It has to have something for everyone.  One person may be inactive and over-weight and another may be super, strong, fit and agile. If an adventure is too easy, then it really doesn’t deliver on the ‘adventure’ aspect. Everyone can have the adventure experience on this challenge course.”

Part of that adventure is a perceived risk. Participants are safely harnessed, but the perceived risk adds to the sense of challenge as participants tackle elements with names like “bongos” and “swinging bridge.”

“When a camper sets a challenge for themselves and conquers it, their self esteem and confidence grows. That’s a really wonderful thing that we witness here at camp.” says Andy. “The challenge course is a really good fit with our camp program and it’s going to be a ton of fun. We can’t wait to see it filled with campers.” 

Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program also enabled the resurfacing of YMCA Wanakita's ball courts. "Traditional camp is such a part of our culture," says Andy.  "Helping us maintain and add to that experience is a wonderful way to mark Canada 150. We are very grateful for the funding."

Funded in part by