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Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA Berkshire Outdoor Center

BOC > Programs & Activities > Youth Group Programs > Leadership Development





Incorporating teambuilding, low ropes, high ropes, the Alpine Tower, climbing towers and the Indoor Climbing Wall, our Youth Leadership Development Programs are an exceptional way to develop relationships within youth groups. These educational programs emphasize teamwork, cooperation, communication and leadership skills, through physical, mental and emotional challenges and risk-taking. These activities take place in a cooperative, community environment and emphasize the relationship between self and the group.

Sample of Our Most Popular Activities

High Ropes -The Berkshire Outdoor Center has the most comprehensive ropes course in the North-Eastern United States. We have two High Ropes courses that employ triple-check belaying systems and require harnessed participants to climb to the top of elements constructed on power poles. One of our courses focuses on individual achievement, building of self-confidence and self-esteem; the other replies on the entire team to help climbers achieve the goals of the course. Elements include Quadraphenia, Ship's Crossing, Burma Bridge, Cat Walk and the Zip Line. Participants must be 12 years or older to participate.

Alpine Tower - The Alpine Tower provides participants with the same challenges as rock climbing and traditional high ropes elements. Each person will be aided with safety gear and a staff member while they ascend the tower and its obstacles. The Alpine Tower is designed to allow participants to choose their own goals for success, and can be a highly rewarding experience for anyone. Participants must be 12 years or older in order to use the Alpine Tower.

Low Ropes - This course is designed to provide challenges for a group of 10-15 students, involving group work, cooperation, and effective communication skills. The low ropes course can be physically challenging. It is a great activity on its own or as an introduction to challenge course work for those groups planning on participating in High Ropes.

Teambuilding - Using a series of trust building activities, physical obstacles and non-physical challenges, the initiative sessions focus on cooperation, effective communication and the development of trust between individuals within a group.

Climbing Towers - Each facility has a climbing tower for students to learn the basic elements of rock climbing skills, as well as to experience the belay safety system. Our climbing towers are designed to provide a variety of difficulty and skill levels, to challenge each participant. Participants must be 8 years or older in order to use the Climbing Towers.

Indoor Climbing Wall - Our Dining Hall has an incredible 30ft climbing wall built inside it! It is perfect for students to learn the basic elements of rock climbing skills, as well as to experience the belay safety system. Our climbing wall designed to provide a variety of difficulty and skill levels, to challenge each participant. Participants must be 8 years or older in order to use the Climbing Wall.

Zingers - Time management is crucial in this fast paced, action packed game. Students are divided into teams and travel from station to station, with each station consisting of a high energy task. Teamwork and fun are emphasized in this energetic activity.

Outdoor Living Skills -Fire building, shelter building, and knots are all topics covered and practiced in Outdoor Living Skills. Students will get the chance to go out into the woods and try their hand at these skills while learning a bit of what it takes to get along in the wilderness as well as learning the basics of staying warm in winter and cool in summer.

The Beast - This activity can be taught either as a class or as a large group activity. The students are shown a model of "the Beast" and asked to duplicate it. However, the student who sees the model is not the student who does the building. The Beast focuses on effective communication and working together.

Alpha Beta -This fun game can be taught as a class or with a large group. The students will play the role of a member of either Alpha-land or Beta-land society, and throughout the game will gain an understanding of cultural differences and learn to break down some cultural barriers.

Campfire - Our talented staff can get your campfire off to a roaring start with stories, songs and skits that will entertain young and old alike. Camper skits and songs are welcome and encouraged. This activity is a great way to end the day!

These are just some of our fantastic activities. We strongly recommend breaking up some of the 'intense' activity options with some recreational activities, such as canoeing or kayaking, swimming, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating (all weather dependent).

Philosophy of Challenge By Choice

The Berkshire Outdoor Center follows the popular philosophy of Challenge By Choice. While participants are encouraged to participate in the activities, each participant chooses his or her own goals and challenges for the course. Participants are never coerced or required to participate. Participants choose their own level of participation - encouraged only to consider stepping outside their comfort zone. Facilitators assist in helping participants experience some level of success.

Our Leadership Development Staff

Our instructors are the best asset to our programs. A diverse range of staff from a variety of countries return year after year to run our Leadership Development programs. The extensive cultural diversity and interesting perspective each of them brings to our organization and to our guests is truly an exceptional contribution to the programs. And our seasoned veterans are the best staff in their field, passionate about living and working here in the Berkshires.

The Berkshire Outdoor Center staff are well trained in managing our ropes course elements as part of our Leadership Development Program. All staff are trained by our qualified trainers and assessed by outside trainers. Our trainings comply with Association of Challenge Course Technology Standards (, American Camp Association standards ( and Massachusetts State Standards (

Our staff are certified to operate, belay and administer programs on all of our ropes courses, Alpine Tower and Climbing Tower. They are also certified to perform safety procedures and rescues in the rare occurrence such a procedure may be needed.

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748 Hamilton Road, Becket, MA 01223
Tel: (413) 623-8991 | Fax: (413) 623-5890