Elements Frequently Answered Questions

FAQ Prior to the Program

What is a Challenge Course?

The MSCR Elements Challenge Course consists of structures that allow for a range of activities to take place. These activities can be a few feet off the ground or up to 40 feet off the ground, and while some opportunities are very physical in nature, some are based more in problem solving and trust. We also use mobile equipment including props, ropes and mobile structures giving us hundreds of options to choose from when working with your group.

These options allow us to design programs based on group needs and provide an opportunity for groups to challenge themselves in ways that are best suited to them.

What kinds of programs do you offer?

We offer half day and full day opportunities at our Challenge Course or Mobile Programs at your site.

Half day programs typically last 3-4 hours and give participants the opportunity to work together to meet specific goals. The focus is on the group development process; activities get progressively more challenging throughout the day. We work with you to tailor these programs to your desired outcome. We frame experiences based on skills that participants can use back at work, school, or home environment.

Full day programs last 6-7 hours and participants take the skills and group awareness they gain in the morning to new heights. After being properly outfitted and trained to help with safety procedures, groups have the opportunity to climb, swing, jump and zip up to 30 feet off the ground. Full day programs offer an opportunity for groups to engage in positive risk taking while challenging members in a safe, supportive environment. Everyone has a role in the process, so if some are more comfortable staying on the ground they still fully participate with the group.

Mobile programs offer an opportunity for indoor programming and can be hosted at a site of your choosing. We can accommodate anything from 30 minutes of ice breakers to full day sessions. We bring the equipment and props to your site and all we need is open space. If you don’t have available spaces we can help arrange accommodations for your group at an indoor site or a park in the Madison area.

What level of physical fitness is needed?

We customize every experience to fit the needs of each group and can accommodate people of all abilities and skills. We can design the experience to be highly physically or sitting the entire day. You tell us what you need. Either way, our goal is to make sure all participants are comfortable and safe throughout the day.  

Do you operate in the winter?

We do offer programs in the winter, weather permitting. Typically, to maintain safe operating procedures of our course, we do remove equipment from the High Challenge Course during the winter months, around early November. However, we are happy to program on our low course and still run mobile programs. As soon as weather allows, we put equipment back up, typically around early April.

Who are the facilitators?

Elements staff are trained in group development and awareness, group processing, and technical safety procedures for the challenge courses. They come from a variety of different backgrounds ranging from professional rock climbing, teaching, youth work, leadership development, and organizational development. Our goal is to serve your group with the most appropriate staff possible; therefore we match our staff and their skills to your group.

Where are you located?

Our Welcome Center is located at 5025 Sadbury Way in Madison. The course is located down a trail next to the Welcome Center, behind Kennedy Elementary School on the east side of Madison, adjacent to Kennedy Park.

How do I book a program, and how far in advance should I book?

Contact the MSCR Experiential Programs Specialist, Emily Peffer, eapeffer@madison.k12.wi.us or 608-204-4580. We work with you to determine the best program for your group then get you on our calendar. 

We suggest being in touch with us at least a month prior to your program, so that we have time to coordinate logistics and get your group on the calendar. Our calendar does fill up quickly, so the earlier the better.

How much do programs cost?

Pricing is dependent on the type of program and number of participants. For a quote based on a program please contact the MSCR Experiential Programs Specialist, Emily Peffer, eapeffer@madison.k12.wi.us or 608-204-4580

FAQ The Day of the Program

What should I wear?

Plan to dress comfortably and for the weather. Our programs take place outside; therefore there is the potential for weather to change and for clothes to become dirty. Layers are always suggested, so you have clothing options as the program continues. We do require that all participants wear closed toed shoes with a heel. We have a limited space in the Welcome Center available as an indoor programming area if need be, but that space has no air conditioning or heat. It does, however, have a water fill up and flush toilets.

Please do not wear long earrings or jewelry, sandals, flip flops, or shoes with toes separated, shirts with offensive language or graphics, or clothing that is uncomfortable to move in.

What should I bring with me to the program?

We suggest that participants bring with them a water bottle, sunglasses or hat, and snacks/lunch as needed. You are also welcome to bring along a portable camp chair as well. Every participant needs a completed Health and Liability Waiver in order to participate or observe programming. At the course we provide sunscreen and bug spray, and on sunny hot days a tent shelter area. Participants have access to running water and flush toilets in the Welcome Center.

What happens in adverse weather? 

Our calendar for the outdoor course fills very quickly, therefore we make every attempt to maintain the program schedule. If threatening weather arises during your program, we may move to the Welcome Center. We immediately seek shelter in the case of thunder, lightning, torrential rain or other immediately hazardous weather.

If MSCR cancels your program due to hazardous weather, we work with you to re-schedule.

What if I don’t want to climb or I am nervous about an activity?

Our programs and staff maintain a Choice Philosophy that believes individuals perform to their highest level when they are empowered to make choices for themselves. We offer varying choices with each activity that allow for a range of participation and encourage everyone to make good choices for themselves throughout the day. We do not pressure any one to do anything that makes them uncomfortable. We do ask that participants remain engaged with their groups and participate at a comfortable level for themselves.

What is the space like at the Challenge Course? 

The Challenge Course is next to Kennedy Park on the east side of Madison, WI. The park offers large open spaces for activities and a Welcome Center is available for indoor space, although the space is very limited. The Welcome Center has flush toilets and a drinking fountain with a water fill-up option, but has no heat or air conditioning.

Our low course is set in a shaded grove of pine trees, however, our high course is not shaded and can be quite hot in the summer, and windy in the spring and fall. We have activities that are universally accessible. Please let us know in advance if anyone in your group needs additional accommodations.