By Chris Pallatto

A successful experience on the ropes course begins with establishing boundaries and setting goals. The values contract lists several commitments individuals make to themselves and others before they begin participating in activities.

Presenting the values contract:
  • Have the group stand in a circle (circles are best for all discussions).

  • Explain that due to the physical, and sometimes risky, nature of the activities each person must sign a contract before they can participate. Then explain that you will read the contract to them, and they will sign it by saying “Yes,” not “yup” or “uh-huh,” etc.

  • Read the following contract, and explain the meaning of each commitment.

  • After you read the contract, go around the circle and have each member say “Yes” to sign the contract, and sign it yourself.

  1. I will protect the physical safety of myself and others. “You will need to take spotting seriously, be cautious during activities and on the course, and you will not take unnecessary risks that may cause harm to your self or others.”

  2. I will protect the emotional safety of myself and others. “These activities will be challenging, fun, and sometimes frustrating. Keep in mind that your opinion counts as much as the next person’s. Voice your feeling appropriately, and be respectful that others may feel differently.”

  3. I will respect Challenge by Choice for myself and others. “You will not be forced to do any activity, and you always have the option to pass on an activity if it makes you uncomfortable. We call this Challenge by Choice. Respecting Challenge by Choice means you don’t pass on an activity simply because you are unwilling to try or something seems too hard. Remember, the purpose of these activities is to challenge yourself. If you choose not to participate in an activity, you are still part of the group and your input is valued.”

  4. I will be honest, caring, responsible, and respectful. Great guidelines for life... and the ropes course!

Tips & Key Points
  • Using a values contract gives you a way to refocus the group during conflicts. You can remind everyone of the contract they ‘signed.’

  • Change or add to the contract to include fundament values of your organization.

Suggested link: Visit for some more information on values contracts.
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