Base Camp Adaptive Climb Training

Base Camp Adaptive Climb Training
Posted on 09/27/2023
Student and Trainer Doing Adaptive Climb Training
After attending Challenge Course Manager Training at Camp Courageous in Iowa, and experiencing adaptive programming and climbing, Alex Boylan, Director of Base Camp at the Genesee Career Institute (GCI) requested to incorporate a similar training program at our GCI Base Camp. 

A certified trainer from Experiential Systems Inc. (ESI) came to our Base Camp location and personalized an adaptive training program for our unique course. Adaptive climbing, or Universal climbing is a method used to take the already existing abilities of a participant and help them engage in the activity or climbing element. Once our course is fully equipped, we will be able to open our doors to more types of groups and cater to those students/participants that may come in a wheelchair, have limited mobility, or another type of physical or cognitive impairment.

Base Camp staff were trained on the usage of three different types of harnesses, as well as some new equipment that is designed specifically for this type of experience. Staff learned new industry skills and had lessons regarding their approach and consideration for participants relating to cognitive, physical, sensory, or emotional impairments. 

“So much of our “normal” is very abnormal for these communities,” stated Alex Boylan, Director of Base Camp at GCI. “We discovered a lot about our building and programming in order to make adjustments to at least make it more intentionally inviting for those individuals. We had a lot of conversations with our trainer about the different situations/scenarios, good and bad, that could play out while working with this demographic, as it’s incredibly important to understand and be prepared for the unexpected.” 

We learned that these adaptive climbs require more staff, and lots of helping hands from start to finish. Three volunteers from our Elmer A. Knopf Learning Center (EKLC) participated in the training to give their personal perspectives on the programming and working with the specific demographic. They were extremely helpful and by the third and last day, we even had two of their students to test the adaptive climbing equipment and processes. The climbs were a huge success and both students loved the experience of getting lifted in the air and zipping across a cable. 

We are so grateful to the staff at EKLC and hope that they will be able to assist once we are able to host some adaptive climbs. We are hoping to kick off the new programming in early 2024, as we are still in need of the necessary equipment. 

To learn more about the Base Camp at GCI, visit