Team building, conquering fear, developing leadership, enhancing communications skills, stretching
your limits: these are just a few of the benefits a ropes/challenge course can offer.
San Marcos Academy is indeed proud to have its own ropes/challenge course, the LTC James D. Rogers
Challenge Course, constructed in 2009. The course is named in honor of the late Academy Commandant
and teacher, James D. Rogers, LTC USA Ret. To learn more about LTC Rogers, please visit our
The course is located on the campus and features 21 low and high elements. For a map of the course,
Challenge Course Philosophy and Goals
The challenge course operates on the philosophy of “challenge by choice” in which the
participants challenge themselves to take on the various events. Participants are not forced to try
out any event, but are encouraged to do so. The result is that students can have fun while at the
same time accomplishing several goals.
The first goal of the challenge course is to increase confidence and self-esteem. When students
tackle a task they previously thought impossible and succeed—even if only partially—the result is
that they feel better about themselves. The second goal is the development of teamwork. By taking
on events where the team must work together to succeed, students are introduced to the reality that
working together is the key to success. Finally, the course helps to teach problem solving skills.
Students will learn the key steps in solving any problem: identify the problem, identify the goal,
evaluate your resources, work together to develop a solution, work through the solution and finally
evaluate your performance and adjust your solution.
All of the aspects of the challenge course philosophy and goals are designed to assist our students
in their development as young adults and can serve them well in the coming years.
Facilitators and Safety
All course sessions are led by trained facilitators who have the participants’ safety as their
ultimate goal. Two facilitators are required on the course at all times. The course itself is
thoroughly inspected and approved annually. Facilitators additionally perform a close monthly
inspection of all equipment and elements. A site inspection is also required before every use
of the course.
Challenge Course Layout and Events
The LTC James D. Rogers Challenge Course includes 21 high and low elements with heights as high as
50 feet. Activities include warm-ups, discussion & debriefing, group initiatives (physical and
cognitive), and high and low challenges.
The San Marcos Academy Challenge Course contains the following elements:
1. Rock Wall
2. Zip Line
5. Cat Walk
7. Grape Vine
1. Spider Web
2. Triangle Traverse
3. Nitro Crossing
4. Mountain Tops
5. Trust Fall
6. Team Wall
7. Pamper Pole
8. TP Shuffle
San Marcos Academy is grateful for the support of our Challenge Course Sponsors:
Texas Pioneer Foundation
Wetonnah and Brian McCoy