Learning the Ropes: New Challenge Course at Campagna in Schererville builds trust and skills

2012-09-06T00:00:00Z Learning the Ropes: New Challenge Course at Campagna in Schererville builds trust and skillsBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

For more than a year, Elena Dwyre, CEO for Campagna Academy in Schererville, has been pushing for what she deems "the ultimate test of teamwork and trust."

This month, she's sharing her dream-turned-to-reality with the community.

"We have 47 acres here on our property and I've always wanted a 'low ropes' challenge course, but we lacked funding," Dwyre said.

"But thanks to the funds of the Legacy Foundation and Carmeuse Lime and Stone and Carmeuse Foundation, we have a completed course that's ready to be unveiled."

The youths who live at Campagna, ranging from ages 10 to 21, are enrolled often based on the recommendation of the Department of Child Services and the court system, as well as parents.

Dwyre said benefits derived from the new challenge course, which includes a "rock climbing" wall, obstacle course and balance and agility feats, include "raising communication proficiencies, team-building, leadership skills, managing stress, conflict resolution and personal growth," all from maneuvering though the course.

On Sept. 27, Dwyre and the staff at Campagna are hosting an official unveiling of the course during an invite-only ribbon cutting ceremony.

"We've invited Schererville's fire chief and his men to demonstrate the course for our invited guests," Dwyre said.

"We also have many area school principals and superintendents coming, since we want this course to eventually be open to area schools and local business leaders to use this new opportunity for team building opportunities."

She said many of the staff members who work at the property have been "testing out" the course to help with "fine-tuning."

"The course helps provide our residential clients and foster care youth with experiences to further impact their self-esteem, identity building and decision-making skills in a positive way," Dywre said.

"And most of all, the course serves as a symbolic force that represents how when we work together, we can overcome any obstacles in our way."

Formerly called Hoosier Boys Town, history and legacy are vital components of pride for the 128-member staff. They not only celebrate the success of the young clients, who find new paths for possibilities, but also reflect on the vision and dedication of campus founder Father Michael Campagna, the Catholic priest who wanted to help at-risk youth. His mission has grown and expanded even since his death in 1979.

Campagna Academy is located at 7403 Cline Ave. in Schererville. For more information about the course or client services, call (219) 322-8614 or visit campagnaacademy.org.

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