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Recreation and Wellness to Unveil New Physical Challenge Course at Whitehurst Beach

By Noell Saunders

Old Dominion University's Department of Recreation and Wellness celebrated the official opening of the Courage Miller Partners Challenge Course at Whitehurst Beach with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, April 13.

The low ropes challenge course has 13 intensive activity stations which are designed to enhance confidence; trust and personal growth through dynamic challenge opportunities; teambuilding skills; and cohesiveness among participants. Some of the features include a tilting platform, a climbing wall, a human spider web and a multiuse area.

"I think the number one benefit is having a facility to support a more inclusive program. It's an excellent opportunity for us to build on the 21st century. We have an opportunity to work more with campus and community partners," said Mike McFall, assistant director of ODU's Outdoor Adventure Program and manager of the course.

The challenge course was constructed through a generous donation from Courage Miller Partners LLC, a financial investment firm in Norfolk. The plan developed after Ralph Courage, a partner in the company, discussed the idea with Bridget Nemeth, director of Old Dominion University's Department of Recreation and Wellness, during an emergency response training class in 2011.

"Mr. Courage has been a great supporter and shared the vision of this project since our first conversation. I'm excited to celebrate the impact he and Courage Miller Partners have had on ODU during the upcoming grand opening," said Nemeth.

The Department of Recreation and Wellness compliments the academic mission of the University by providing an experiential learning environment where students and other participants can gain personal and team benefits to carry with them beyond ODU.

The course at Whitehurst Beach will serve ODU students, staff, professional groups, clubs and organizations as well as the community.

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