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Smoky Hill Education Service Center

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Looking for Something EXCITING and HANDS-ON for Staff or Students?

Try the Smoky Hill ESC Adventure Program!

The Smoky Hill Adventure Program - and the NEW Smoky Hill Virtual Adventure Program - is an adventure education service dedicated to personal and professional growth and development through experiential learning (experience, reflection, generalization, and application). Experiential learning emphasizes three areas:

• Individuals learn best when they are personally involved in the learning experience.
• Knowledge has to be constructed by the individual if it is to mean anything or make a difference in his or her behavior.
• A commitment to learning is highest when one is free to set his or her own learning goals and actively pursue them within a given framework.

This learning process can help students increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values.  It also allows participants to be involved in individual and group challenges that support and enhance Social, Emotional, and Character Development skills. These challenges require a combination of teamwork skills, individual commitment, problem solving, goal setting, and emotional risk-taking.


Smoky Hill Virtual Adventure Program

The NEW Smoky Hill Virtual Adventure Program provides a perfect event for individuals to practice and grow these skills through a virtual experiential learning opportunity.

In this current Continuous Learning environment, building relationships and teambuilding can be a challenge, and having students work as a team when they are not physically next to each other can be difficult.

Educators may also need to reconsider what problem-solving lessons look like because most of us have a shorter attention span for a virtual classroom. We are simply not used to being engaged on a screen for such long periods.

You may not be able to take your students outside or to our ropes course, but we can bring virtual teambuilding opportunities to your students. Whether students are working in-person or virtually, non-academic skills including effective communication, teamwork, strong work-ethic, perseverance, self-discipline, and critical thinking are essential. What do you have in place to give students the opportunity to get hands-on experience developing, struggling with, and reflecting upon these skills?

These virtual experiences will be active, with participants working together in small groups as well a large group. This is an excellent opportunity for you and your group to experience something engaging, encouraging, constructive, and extremely educational.


Smoky Hill Ropes Course

For in-person teambuilding, the Smoky Hill Ropes Course is located on the west side of the Fort Hays State University campus and includes both high and low elements - among them ones that are accessible for individuals with disabilities.

More comfortable with feet firmly on the ground? Then the TP (Telephone Pole) Shuffle and Whale Watch are for you!  The low elements are best for working on teambuilding, cooperation, communication skills, problem-solving and perseverance.  We can work with a team of eight to 68, and we almost always end the day with the Flying Squirrel, which is a team-oriented high element.   

Feeling daring and craving excitement? Try the Giants Ladder or the Pamper Pole! The high elements are best for smaller groups that want to focus on goal setting, growth mindset, perseverance, overcoming fears, support systems, and positive risk-taking. The high elements do take more time and have a more individual focus but are still great for teambuilding.


On-Site Adventure Program

If you are unable to travel with your group, but still want an in-person teambuilding experience, then portable equipment, games, and initiatives can be brought to your building for an On-Site Adventure Program.  On-site experiences can range in time from one hour to a full-day and can serve as a standalone event or as a preparation experience for groups coming to the Ropes Course.  Virtual Adventure Programs can also serve as a preparation experience. 


The Smoky Hill Adventure Program can be designed to fit your individual needs, budget, and goals. Specific programs are available for students; staff; individuals with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities (in any combination); at-risk youth; student organizations or teams; corporate groups; and youth groups.

Program goals can include:

  • Taking opportunities for healthy risk-taking and success
  • Strengthening communication and conflict-resolution skills
  • Improving problem solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Enhancing self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Developing trust in oneself and others
  • Promoting responsibility and leadership
  • Building cooperation and teamwork

If you have questions, please contact Noalee McDonald-Augustine at 785-621-4414 or NMcDonald@smokyhill.org.