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SWU dedicates challenge course

    SWU Religion major Micah Sparrow falls into the arms of university faculty and staff members and University President Todd Voss (second from left). The trust fall platform is one of the challenge course elements built by local Boy Scouts along with SWU students, faculty and staff.

    On March 25 Southern Wesleyan University Social Science and Religion majors packed onto a hayride, SUVs and ATVs to travel the muddy, rutted road that leads to a new challenge course, which will literally take leadership education into the woods.

    With the wind rustling through the trees and the sounds of birds in the air, Roger McKenzie, religion professor, explained the importance of giving students hands-on experience in order to learn. Dr. Mari Gonlag, religion professor, read scripture and University President Todd Voss dedicated the challenge course.

    The challenge course is located in an area known by the students and the faculty as the “Hundred Acre Wood.” For several months, McKenzie, along with Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Daryl Couch, worked alongside Eagle Scout Nelson Rosenberger to develop the course. SWU students Andrew Hochhalter and Jonathan Stegenga assisted in building several of the challenges.

    Moving from one element to another, the students learned how to use teamwork to achieve most of the challenges that were presented.

    “As a student myself, we have to learn to trust the professors and administration of Southern Wesleyan University,” said Will Henderson, a Youth Ministry major from Brevard, N.C. “Today, we experienced that we can trust the people who are there to support us, learn how to work as a team with our fellow students, and find out how learning never stops outside the classroom.”

    Additional challenge elements are being added this spring and future plans include a hiking/biking trail, a high-ropes adventure course, and a base-camping site.

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