Peace & Piece helps students unlock hidden talents and discover their passion for science, writing, and technology with fun, engaging enrichment programs and summer classes. Rather than boring children with the endless parroting of information or actual talking parrots, afterschool studies and classes challenge kids with creative exercises and blend learning with hands-on exercises and play. Little scientists get a head start on developing useful STEM skills with summer camps full of model building, moviemaking, and robotics, or they hone nascent novel-writing skills with creative-writing exercises.
Nestled in the high branches of Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, a network of ropes, ladders, and bridges invites amateur adventurers to scurry across their lengths. Although Treetop Quest’s ropes courses hover as high as 55 feet above the ground, guests stay safe thanks to a belay system that’s impossible to detach at canopy level. During self-guided adventures, they encounter more than 70 obstacles, whooshing along ziplines, scaling rope nets, and carefully crossing suspension and monkey bridges. Before guests ascend through the branches, instructors issue them harnesses and gloves and give them a thorough safety briefing. The courses vary in difficulty and height to accommodate all experience levels and ages, allowing visitors as young as 4 to enjoy a challenge, even if it’s just trying to sweet-talk a squirrel into sharing his stash of Corn Nuts.
Amid the excitement, Treetop Quest educates patrons on the surrounding environment through plaques and info boards at each course level. The courses operate sustainably to respect their arboreal hosts; the structures are treatment-free and don’t puncture the trees in any way.
For this 5K race, a normally tame park or other venue is transformed into Mean Streets, an urban-themed obstacle course. In the Construction Zone, participants navigate over and under traffic barriers of different heights followed by a dive into a trash-filled dumpster. After bypassing the dumpster zone, runners test their stamina as cat burglars, scrambling through first-floor windows and trespassing through backyards. They barely touch ground before scaling upward once again on the Time-to-Climb portion of the course, which features a Jason Bourne-esque run across the rooftops. Finally, contestants climb out a window and onto the fire escape, swinging across an 8-foot ladder to reach the finish.
BADASS Dash’s organizers live in a world of imagination. Where others see cargo nets, they see giant webs to be scaled. School buses become climbing walls and bales of hay turn into tunnels filled with grass and mud. In city after city, they place 30+ of these obstacles along a 7-kilometer course, and invite individuals and teams to compete against each other in elite matches, or beat their personal best in recreational races. Afterward, the organizers throw a celebratory bash filled with bonfires, food, and prizes for top finishers. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the charity Autism Speaks.
Whitewater rapids churn the Chattahoochee River into a winding roller coaster, where rafters paddle in unison and shriek in delight at every unexpected thrill Mother Nature throws their way. But 100 feet above this speeding waterway lies a completely different thrill: the Blue Heron Adventure. The dual zipline stretches 1,200 feet across the river, connecting Georgia to Alabama on a thrilling journey that accelerates to speeds of 40 mph?the only zipline to connect two states. But the fun doesn't end there?the Blue Heron Aerial Course is a treetop aerial course that will meet you after ziplining into Alabama that features 10 obstacles such as tunnels, balance beams, and bridges. After enjoying the fun on the Alabama side, visitors are conveniently shuttled back to the starting point via a motorized canyon raft.
A Look at Whitewater Express
As former designers of water courses at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Whitewater Express opens up the wonders of Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina to youth groups, coworkers venturing out on corporate outings, and outdoorsy vacationers with a wealth of activities and exploration opportunities at four different camps. Visitors hike and bike through the fresh, pine-scented air of the Great Smoky Mountains at the Ocoee location, which features 225-plus acres of unspoiled wilderness?or raft past downtown Columbus on a Chattahoochee River trip. Guests can survey the scenery as guides pilot whitewater rafts and kayaks down the scenic Ocoee and Nantahala Rivers; relax in rustic log cabins; or play paintball on a woodsy outdoor course.
Skiing. Snowboarding. Canoeing. Rock climbing. Horseback riding. To someone with a physical disability, activities like these might seem impossible. Yet Eric Gray, founder of Catalyst Sports, has taught disabled individuals how to perform each one?plus a few others. At Catalyst, Eric and his team empower people to not only overcome physical disabilities, but also to thrive with them.
The organization provides unique recreational opportunities to individuals of all ages and ability levels, including adaptive rock climbing programs. In fact, Catalyst has grown into the largest such adaptive climbing program in the country. It has done so, in large part, by hosting frequent events and fundraisers, which are far better ways to raise money than playing the same Roman numerals in the lottery every week.