ROPES Course A Test Of Physical And Mental Strength

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - June 02, 2010
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Adam Jaber is the first to try out the new ROPES course Zipline at Kahi Mohala. Photo by Byron Lee, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Kahi Mohala Behavioral Health unleashed its ROPES program to the public May 11, and already folks are raving about this innovative form of therapy that uses the power of action-oriented experiences to help participants make positive changes in their lives.

ROPES, which stands for Reality Oriented Physical Experiential Services, was created to place individuals in physically, emotionally and intellectually demanding situations where skills of cooperation, problem-solving, goal-setting and self-awareness are developed at lightning speed.

“Conquering a great fear can imprint learning in a way that is powerful and memorable,” said Kahi Mohala CEO Leonard Licina.“Visitors to the ROPES course will gain a sense of pride in our community as well as pride in personal achievement.”

Consisting of a series of cables, ropes, pulleys and wood beams set between utility poles, the ROPES course has three types of activity areas from which to choose. A ROPES facilitator plans each session and goes over the play-by-play prior to the course. Each participant’s health history is reviewed beforehand so that appropriate activities can be planned around any physical limitations or medical conditions.


Once on the course, the ROPES activities progress in a sequence of increasing difficulty, from low-level courses in the Group Initiative and Low ROPES areas to events attempt 32 feet off the ground in the High ROPES area.

“Facing one of the most basic human fears, the fear of heights, is just one way that a course participant can discover, learn, move forward through a physical experience,” Licina explained, adding that one of the most important parts of the ROPES program is the group discussions held during and after the course.

“The benefits of well-directed outdoor recreation therapy are widely recognized. With our beautiful 14-acre campus, we have the perfect setting for this one-of-a-kind course and offer such a unique, therapeutic, educational, team-building experience for our patients and community groups.”

Construction of the course took approximately two years, and designer Tim Shaw, who Licina noted is well-known for his work in developing challenge courses on the Mainland, had input from both local kupuna and Kahi Mohala staff during course development to ensure a distinctly Polynesian look and feel to the ROPES experience.

“The course’s design evokes the shape of a giant single-hull canoe,” Licina stated,” a metaphor for the collaboration and teamwork that true
healing requires.”

He added that they initially want to make the ROPES experience available to Kahi Mohala patients and at-risk youths from the community, which will be made easier thanks to the HMSA Challenge Course Community Access Fund, established with a $50,000 grant from HMSA Foundation to underwrite 100 percent of fees for the program for qualifying youth groups.

“Over a five-year period, 1,000 of our island’s next generation will be able to navigate these challenge elements,” Licina said, “and in doing so, navigate through their own journey of self-discovery.”

Fees for other community groups range from $50 to $75 per person, with the option of lunch. Sessions generally run a full day.

The ROPES course is located on the Kahi Mohala campus, 91-2301 Old Fort Weaver Road in Ewa Beach. To learn
more, call 677-2559.


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