Benjamin Allen believes outdoor pursuits can positively influence those in need. This belief has led him all over the continent, building a ropes course for an orphanage in Mexico and setting up two courses for troubled youth at Provo Canyon School, a bit closer to home. Wanting to share his knowledge of nature with the public, he set up a course, CLAS Ropes Course, near Utah Lake nearly 20 years ago. Benjamin and his crew have since erected more than 50 ropes courses around the country, continuing to inspect ropes and train others how to run them.
CLAS Ropes Course continues to grow each year, creating obstacles such as a giant swing that releases passengers 40 feet in the air, a 400-foot zipline that whizzes through forest canopy, and a "leap of faith," where adventure seekers jump from a treetop platform to a trapeze. A log balance beam hung 30 feet above the ground and a 24-foot-tall rock-climbing tower test agility and endurance, and a fleet of 20 canoes lets paddlers navigate a mile and a half of river. Many of these structures play host to team-building activities focused on developing a group's creativity and tolerance for hearing one another sing. Staff members tailor their instruction to families, dating groups, or athletic teams. They often apply their approach to athletes, such as a professional golfer who traveled all the way from Texas hoping to conquer her fear of not qualifying for tournaments. She defeated the log balance beam, departed victorious, and qualified during her next tryout two weeks later.
SwimKids jumpstarts tykes' swimming strokes and socialization skills in classes conducted in an indoor pool heated to a balmy 90 degrees. The program traces its roots back to 1983, when Liz Walker sought out a class that could teach her own 18-month-old daughter to swim. Her search led her to a local swimming pool where tykes as young as 10 months were impressively proficient in the water. Liz studied their method and began teaching on her own, a profession she has continued to pursue for the past 30 years. Today, the enthusiastic instructors at SwimKids continue to get results, helping develop pool-ready skills in kids as young as 3 months old.
It's a breezy day, and reflections of the nearby Wasatch Mountains ripple over the surface of Utah Lake. A sailboat cuts through the scene, churning the waters so that the snowcapped peaks' reflections sway and finally dissolve into a field of undulations. Though they fill their days with a busy schedule of hands-on courses and programs, the instructors at Bonneville School of Sailing often pause to enjoy the distinctive beauty of their surroundings. They also take pleasure in witnessing sailing's power to change lives. Many will attest that putting someone at the helm can spark a suppressed desire to explore, just as working together to raise a sail can promote understanding and cooperation among a corporate team or family.
At any point during the April?October season, students can begin navigating the school's sailing curriculum with a hands-on introductory course. Intermediate-level courses allow students?should they take to the high seas with enthusiasm?to log plenty more hours on the water. Advanced classes, along with weekend racing and spinnaker clinics, equip students with the final skills needed to enjoy a long and buoyant life on the water.
Karate lessons at Shudokan of Provo stress self-discovery as much as self-defense. Under the tutelage of Ron Rowe—a second-degree shudokan black belt and first-degree goshin jutsu black belt—students learn an array of blocking, punching, and kicking techniques while focusing the mind on tenets such as respect and self-confidence. In addition to karate lessons, the center offers intense cardio workouts through kickboxing classes.