The Lakewood E.D.G.E. (formerly known as the Challenge Course) is a unique sequence of activities intended to increase social and individual awareness and appreciation through safe physical and mental challenge, discussion and reflection. Established in 1988, the course has been effectively used by clubs, governance and residence groups, academic classes, sports teams and department staffs.
Former participants remark about the spirit of teamwork, the sense of personal confidence and the mutual trust that they experienced on the course. Nearly all participants comment on the laughter and enjoyment.
There are two kinds of activities on the course: group initiatives and personal challenges.
The group initiatives present clearly defined physical objectives. Groups have the opportunity to organize themselves, generate strategies, test and refine solutions, and reflect upon the processes they employed,. These tasks provide a chance to gather information about how an organization operates. The initiatives are designed to foster cooperative problem solving, compassion and understanding.
The personal challenges are attempted individually with support and encouragement from the group. The purpose of these activities is to provide people with an opportunity to test their own sense of risk taking and acceptance. Some of these activities are physically challenging and some are more mentally challenging.
The Challenge Course is located in a forested section of the beautiful Lakewood complex, on the shore of Lake Whatcom, approximately seven miles from the main Western Washington University campus. The Viking Union coordinates the operation of the entire facility for the W.W.U. Associated Students. A map to the Lakewood complex can be found here.
The course, designed and built by Project Adventure, an internationally recognized leader in ropes course construction, has been engineered to minimize inherent danger. Participants are protected on the higher components by using techniques adapted from mountaineering, thus providing a perceived sense of risk in a safe setting. For additional security, only trained facilitators are allowed to guide people through the course.
At least one full day is best for a challenge course experience, although a partial day may be scheduled. The ideal group size is 10 to 12. However, both larger and smaller groups may be accommodated. The variety of activities available on the course makes it possible to plan sessions that are designed to meet the goals of varied organizations. The course is available for reservation any day of the week throughout the year. Contact the Outdoor Center Manager (360) 650-3731 for reservations. Parking is limited at Lakewood. Please plan to travel to the site in high occupancy vehicles. Passenger vans are available by reservation through the Viking Union and the University Motor Pool.
There is a per-person fee for use of the course which includes individual medical insurance. There is an additional fee for facilitation services for groups without trained facilitators. Consult the fee schedule or contact the Viking Union for current rates by calling (360) 650-3450 or writing Viking Union, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225.