r CLAS Ropes Course is an adventure park on West Center Street in Provo nestled in a park-like setting on the Lower Provo River. In fact, it is one of the nation’s best. The name CLAS is an acronym for Challenging Leadership Adventure Systems. Its real purpose is more than fun; it is therapeutic and mind changing. CLAS Ropes Course is an experience for personal development as shown by their mission statement.
Mission Statement – Our mission is to improve personal effectiveness and group dynamics through comprehensive experiential challenges.
Vision – Our vision is to strengthen individuals and groups by offering adventure activities with the highest safety standards.
People learn more through experience than any other method of learning. The aim of CLAS Ropes Course is to allow the participants to view themselves as competent and capable. Each course is based on the belief that anyone who really tries will succeed. CLAS Ropes is a unique series of team building exercises
CLAS Ropes Course was built by Benjamin Allen. He is a licensed Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with a Master’s degree in Recreation Management from Brigham Young University. CLAS Ropes was constructed beginning in 1993 and its features and activities have been added every year since. It is just one of many ropes courses built by Benjamin throughout the country.
It has hosted more than 200,000 guests in various business, therapeutic and recreational settings. Ben emphasizes that what he does at CLAS Ropes “changes lives for the better.” It is not unusual for those who visit CLAS Ropes to leave with a transformational feeling.
Several years ago, when I worked at Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University), the group I worked with visited CLAS and ran through the courses. In one exercise, they had us stand in several lines. In turn, each of us was to fall backward and trust that the person behind us would catch us before we hit the ground.
At that time, because of my family of origin and first marriage, my trust level was very low. It was really hard to fall backward and trust someone I didn’t know well to catch me. However, when I did, it unblocked many of the feelings, and I started feeling more comfortable trusting. That made me more successful in my career.
On the day I recently visited CLAS Ropes, Diamond Fork Jr. High in Spanish Fork brought their National Junior Honor Society group and the Future Farmers of America group to CLAS. My husband, Ed, took photos of the different activities. He was really intrigued by the “Leap of Faith.” In this challenge, the participant puts on a harness and then climbs a 30-foot pole to a platform that is about 24” X 24”. From this platform, the participant steps forward off the platform into space.
There is a cable system that only allows him to fall about five feet before the rope stops him from falling. Then the supervisor of the event lowers him to the ground. Ed was fascinated by the facial expressions – some were terrified and some were excited about the challenge.
I watched the swing event in which the participant pulls a strap around him so he will be sitting. Then he is raised several feet in the air and dropped so he can swing back and forth. Some of the students tried to do flips, but some of them held on and laughed. For many, the initial response was a scream.
The favorite challenge is the 40-foot climbing wall. This wall has hand and footholds up the face at intermittent distances. The participant wears a harness and climbs the face of the wall. When they get to the top, they let go and are lowered to the ground.
During the month of October, CLAS Ropes Course has a Halloween Cruise on the Provo River that is fun for the whole family. Spooky holiday decorations and 100 hand carved jack-o-lanterns reflecting in the river add to the experience. The Captain of the boat tells a few stories in the spirit of Halloween. It sounds like a fun night on the river. The price is $8 per person. They do a similar event in December with Santa Claus and a Christmas theme. Check their website clasropes.com or call 801-373-8897 for more information.