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Nov. 22, 2002

CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine (724) 738-4854; e-mail:


           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – A 25-acre center for outdoor leadership training is taking shape on the campus of Slippery Rock University. ROTC students, outdoor clubs and public groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will test their mettle on obstacle courses, rope pulls, climbing walls, emergency drills and more.

          President G. Warren Smith conceived the Leadership Recreation Course – modeled after the Army’s course at Fort Lewis, Wash. – after he visited the post two years ago. It will occupy land owned by the university near the Ski Lodge, at the back end of campus. Construction is under way, with an expected spring completion.

           Teams will rotate between 14 “mentally and physically demanding leadership stations,” says Lt. Col. Steven Stevens, director of The Rock’s ROTC program. Work began this month on a 150-by-75-foot building that will house several of the stations.

           The setting will support The Rock’s 25-credit leadership minor, with 60 students enrolled.

           “We’ll have walls to scale, using rope to pull yourself, and ropes to swing between two walls,” Stevens says. “We’ll have a station in which you learn to get a stretcher out in a timely manner, a construction of a human bridge and many other challenges.”

           The university’s master plan calls for developing that back end of campus into a home base for The Leadership Institute. The Ski Lodge will be used for instructional purposes as well as a climate weather shelter, as will a pavilion Stevens says is scheduled to be built in the future. Students will hike through the woods from the Leadership Reaction Course to a planned obstacle course and then utilize existing high ropes and low ropes courses in the woods.

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