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Teacher guiding in archery technique

The idea behind Challenge by Choice is that people have the option to choose how much they would like to join in with the activity. Participants should be able to set their own goals. Success is not in completing the entire element, but in reaching one’s own goal.

Challenge by Choice

Eaton Vale operates with Challenge by Choice at its core. We understand that any adventure activity may pose a different level and type of challenge for each member of the group and that real personal challenge comes from within. The ‘challenge by choice’ ethos asks participants to challenge themselves while having fun and participating fully in the adventure experience.
Its common for people to look at every activity as a rather black and white success or fail criteria, for example;

• Trapeze – climb to the top and catch the bar
• Canoeing – paddle around the island and then jump in at the end
• Archery – hit the centre of the target
• Fire lighting – be able to light a fire

Where really, if you have never done something like that before, and have no real information or experience, these can be quite daunting and scary expectations.

Sometimes, it better for the participant to create a success criteria that is achievable for them, and keeps within their comfort or learning zone. By achieving their own success criteria they gain information about the task, and build up their knowledge base. Because of this knowledge they may decide to challenge themselves and go further than their original success criteria, or decide their are happy with their current participation level. All the way through the participant is in control of their choice and what their success criteria looks like. This level of choice empowers participants so that when presented with the same or similar opportunity they have a better understanding.

A new way to look at what some people might decide is their success criteria
• Trapeze – put the helmet and harness on, and come in the area and help their group by pulling the ropes
• Canoeing – going out on the river for a short journey in the instructors boat
• Archery – Hold a bow and arrow for the first time
• Fire lighting – sit with one of their friends, near a fire

All of these allow the person to build up their knowledge on the activity, allowing them to make more informed decisions on what their next success criteria will be.

The Learning Zone

2. The Learning Zone

Beyond the Comfort Zone lies the Learning Zone. Here, your existing skills and abilities are being stretched, allowing you to learn and develop new ones.

You might feel a little pressure or stress while in the learning zone, but a productive amount of stress can actually have a positive impact, pushing you to succeed without making you struggle or panic.
Ideally, as you spend more time in the Learning Zone, your mastery of new skills and experiences will increase.

Some of these new skills will then pass into your Comfort Zone, and make taking further challenges easier as you build up a greater knowledge base

1. The Comfort Zone

In your everyday life, you likely have a range of routine tasks and experiences that you carry out with confidence. You know the processes that you need to follow, the outcomes that you need to achieve, and the steps to make them happen. This is your Comfort Zone.

Your Comfort Zone isn’t necessarily a bad place. It’s where you can perform well, set strong personal boundaries, and even rest, recharge and reflect, but staying too long in the Comfort Zone can prevent you from developing new skills, and having new experiences.

3. The Panic Zone

The third and outermost zone is the Panic Zone. Here you move beyond both what you’re familiar with, and are unable to learn. This is a bad place to be.
This can be damaging and demotivating. You may come to fear the experience, and you don’t want to return to it.

The pressure and stress experienced are too high, and there are no leaning opportunities for you to grow from.

Being forced in to the panic zone creates a uncomfortable experience all round, and once gone in to the panic zone, it can take some time to come out of it and be able to get back in to the learning zone

The goals our instructors and participants set are designed to keep the participants in the Learning Zone, avoiding the panic zone and pushing them out of the comfort zone

Eaton Vale

Registered Charity No. 1073816
Company No. 03659373

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