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Students from a local elementary school walked a tightrope, zig-zagged their way across beams, and balanced on a teetering platform as they manoueuvred through the low ropes challenge course at the University of Windsor’s Toldo Lancer Centre.

“We’re using this as a team-building opportunity,” said teacher Kaitlin Denonville, who organized the trip for classes of Grades 5 and 7 students at Frank W. Begley public school. “It’s important for co-operation and practising communication skills.”

The course, sponsored by Iron Workers Local 700, was offered to the Begley students free of charge, thanks to a grant from IG Wealth Management. The financial planning company’s grant allows community groups to use amenities at the Toldo Lancer Centre at no cost.

The 40 students from Begley were the first group to use the course this season.

“With the nicer weather coming, there’s an uptick in bookings of our challenge course,” said Sandra Ondracka, UWindsor’s co-ordinator of recreation services. “We’re thankful to the Iron Workers and to IG Wealth Management that we have this course available to the community.”

The course employs about a dozen UWindsor students from across campus. Members of the Lancer Recreation Challenge Course Crew, they explain the feats and act as spotters as visitors attempt them.

Kinesiology student Robbie Oates infused a little imagination into a tightrope challenge in a section of the course called the Bermuda Triangle. “Don’t fall into the hot lava!” he said, reminding the Begley students to hold onto the guide rope tightly. “Work together and help each other,” he said encouragingly.

Ondracka said the course was designed for all ages and can be used for workplaces, clubs, and sports teams.

“Really, it’s for any group that wants to work on team-building and leadership.”