“Belay!” “Belay on.” “ I am ready to be supported.” “We are ready to support you!” And support each other they did as 32 mentors and mentees in AYO’s Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Project stepped up to the challenges inherent in a high and low ropes course at West Pines Training Center in Wheat Ridge on September 27. The West Pines program, a ‘challenge by choice’ event where everyone has a role to play, from anchoring, belaying or cheerleading, brought AYO’s mentoring adults and their youth together in a unique bonding experience 30’ over a bark ‘floor’.
Activities closer to the ground had youth and their mentors figuring how best to work together to meet goals. A ‘whale’s tail’, PVC pipe, harnesses and lots of rope had participants laughing, groaning, cheering or biting their lips, as they executed maneuvers and clutched rope to complete exercises. “I was so scared – and what a rush!” and “You can do it” or “You did it – way to go!” and words like ‘awesome’ and ‘epic’ described the feelings and emotions of both youth and adults over the course of the day. AYO was interested in an event that would bring together matches in deep and meaningful ways. Thanks to West Pines Training Center, this goal was achieved!