An article outlining the history of the concept of challenge course can be found here. But then come back here, because you belong to us now.
Each course can serve a single group, such as students in a school, or multiple groups, such as a park district course which might serve student and adult groups. The single identifying feature is that most often, it is an intact group which comes together to share the challenge course experience, and that a curriculum is designed for the specific outcome desired by that group. Due to inherently stressful social dynamics involved in such activities, we don't advocate proposing to your significant other, or asking to borrow money from your friend, till after successfully completing the course.
The course itself is comprised of many different elements, varying in intensity and sequence. Each course will be individually designed and built to accommodate the audience's goals unless they involve human sacrifice (for legal issues) or inappropriate behavior in front of howler monkeys. Please, keep some of your clothing on for the surveillance cameras. Leave something for our imagination.
Ropes course advocates claim that they meet a number of educational, developmental, and recreational goals. High ropes course and climbing programs generally focus on personal achievements and ask participants to confront their personal fears and anxieties. Challenges may be physical and/or emotional. In such cases, outcomes often include exploring the fundamentals of trust, craftsmanship, and coaching. Programs using low ropes course elements or group initiatives are most often designed to explore group interaction, problem-solving, and leadership. O doesn't make any of those claims, but we will say it develops facial muscles as you stress to complete strenuous tasks, or laugh at others during the quest...and then there is that guy that never stops talking.
Participants must sign a waiver before being allowed to participate on the course, because of the high risk of injury. Some participants may have a hard time completing the course due to its height and the physical challenge. Courses usually range from 25 feet through 50 feet tall. In order to climb up onto the course participants usually must climb, such as by using a cargo net or Jacob's ladder, which could be made of rope, or an artificial climbing wall. Nothing funny about giving us consent to bury your body onsite. Too much work for us, so let's hope you use common sense and remain alive.