Opposing challenge courses grapple over pricing options

Local business, Adventure Dynamics, makes policy claims on the EWU course and their rates

Opposing challenge courses grapple over pricing options

By Eric Long, News Writer

Will Parks, owner of Adventure Dynamics, a challenge course in Nine Mile Falls, Wash., claims that Eastern is breaking its own policies when it comes to relations between its commercial activities and the private sector.

Adventure Dynamics is the only privately owned challenge course in the Inland Northwest.

According to Laurie Connelly, associate to the EWU president, Eastern does have a commercial activities policy that was adopted in compliance with state law that states they must consider the private sector when setting up any commercial activity.

The challenge course is exempt from this because it is considered a course of instruction, a part of an academic or vocational program. Even if fees are collected, it is still a course of instruction.

“The real concern is that, which Mr. Parks has expressed his view on this, is that we are undercutting him because we don’t have the same costs that he does,” said Connelly.

She said that when prices for Eastern’s challenge course were being determined, the school looked into other universities’ challenge courses, such as Western’s and Central’s, and based prices for Eastern’s on theirs.

Parks has challenged Eastern’s prices several times.

According to Connelly, Eastern’s challenge course prices are average when compared to other universities’ challenge courses around the area.

Connelly said that Eastern will review their prices when Parks is willing to present his.

Another claim that Parks has is that students are getting paid to instruct the course while they are still working on becoming certified.

According to Chris Cindric, director of Eastern’s challenge course, this is not true.

He said that students do work for the challenge course, but that they have to be certified to do so.

“We have a minor in challenge course management and leadership and we also have a certificate, so there are two different realms that students can go to,” said Cindric.

What makes Eastern’s challenge course program strong at what it does, according to Cindric, is that it follows the guidelines of the Association for Challenge Course Technology.

ACCT, according to Cindric, is the “mother organization” that sets all of the guidelines for ethics, construction, maintenance and practitioner certification within the industry.

Cindric also said that there is no advertising for Eastern’s challenge course. It is all word-of-mouth.

Eastern does not host private events at their challenge course. According to Cindric, this includes bachelor or bachelorette parties and birthday parties among other private events. Eastern only hosts well-known, distinguished groups and organizations.

A lot of groups they do work with involve troubled children who may need that extra boost to go further in their lives.