Challenge Courses have been in existence in the United States since the 1970’s. Since this time they have been used for the purpose of experiential education. Experiential education was originally based on long expeditions to create artificial stresses and obstacles for participants to overcome and gain confidence. Educators realized they could offer the same type of stresses and challenges in a shorter amount of time creating the first challenge course. These courses were originally constructed of rope, wood, trees, and cable hence the title - ropes course . The industry continues to grow in popularity and program development. Corporations and athletic programs utilize these courses to build teamwork, trust, communication, and problem solving. The industry has evolved into utilizing the challenge courses for therapeutic recreation, rehabilitation, and counseling.
Adventure Experiences, Inc., one of the original full service challenge course construction companies, is recognized nationally as well as internationally for its expertise in designing and building state of the art challenge courses. AEI offers services which include: consultation, design, construction, inspection, facilitator training and certification, and challenge course equipment and material sales. AEI is a Professional Vendor Member of ACCT. Tim Kempfe M.A. Ed., director/owner of AEI, has served ACCT since its inception. He has served on several committees which field tested many of the systems and equipment we use today, and has served as President of ACCT from 2000 - 2006.
The Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) is the professional organization that sets Installation, Inspection, Operational, and Certification standards for the challenge course industry. ACCT began in 1988 when representatives from several challenge course companies gathered to discuss issues of standards, certification, and accreditation. This resulted in additional annual meetings and eventually the formation of ACCT. ACCT now publishes a Challenge Course Standards Manual that is current with the constantly changing industry. For more information on ACCT: www.acctinfo.org