Among Alley Pond Park’s secrets, “The Queens Giant” (an American Tulip tree, the oldest, tallest living thing in New York City), or the best mushroom picking around (if you know what you’re doing and don’t poison yourself), the Park’s “Adventure Course Program” is no longer a mystery. While walking her dog, teacher, swim coach, go-getter, Rosemarie Slaymaker noticed the park’s climbing apparatus and pounced at the chance to expose New York City Students to “The Great Outdoors” right in their own borough.
Jamaica High School recently participated in a special program of group games and course challenges. Climbing and belaying, students “had a blast” as they fostered problem solving skills and group cooperation. Along with Rosemarie, Scott Pecorino and Steve Heiss, Park site supervisor Ralph Perrado helped make things happen, “The program builds effective communication, leadership skills and teamwork. Students can also apply for jobs and become group leaders.”
“The Alley Pond Park Adventure Course is the first challenge course in New York City, the largest challenge course in the metropolitan region, and perhaps the most state-of-the-art challenge course in the United States. Built by Project Adventure, course elements include a “zip-line,” a climbing and bouldering wall, a trust fall station, swings, nets, leaps and balance platforms.”
Rosemarie looks forward to the Jamaica High School physical education department’s implementation of the program this fall. She points out, “In order to grow, students need to be exposed to more of the world around us. Some of these kids have never left the neighborhood. The thrill of overcoming new challenges builds confidence, and this exposure to nature is a welcome sight. They get exercise and have fun, and without electronic games.”
Time to go Green and get with the excitement: