Adventure Learning Center Offers Complete Healthy Challenge



AMES, Iowa--Better nutrition and more physical activity are the stable, healthy resolutions that override any diet craze. The Adventure Learning Center is balancing the two by offering courses that combine rope challenges and nutrition education.

Finding balance takes effort — whether standing on a log, a fence rail or a thin rope 40 feet above the ground. Melissa O’Neil, Adventure Learning Center trainer, believes combining the center’s ropes courses with nutrition discussions can give people the confidence to live healthier and happier.

“If people believe in what they’re doing and can find a purpose, then they are healthier and better able to take care of themselves,” she said.

That’s why Jody Gatewood, an Iowa State University Extension family, nutrition and health specialist, is teaming up with the Adventure Learning Center to provide 30- to 60-minute “lunch and learn” presentations to local organizations on a variety of topics. The group is offering presentations to local Chambers of Commerce. However, any business or organization can recruit the Adventure Learning Center for their employees.

 “Physical activity and nutrition are important for good health. They can also both be used for team building. Therefore, it seems to us that offering our services together only makes sense,” said Gatewood.  “Our hope is to offer area businesses and organizations an opportunity to do team building challenges as well as provide some employee wellness through my interactive nutrition presentations.”

The presentations combine hands-on activities, Powerpoint and information packets. Some presentation topics include “Let’s Get Moving”, “Aisle by Aisle: A Virtual Grocery Store”, and “What to Order: Choosing Well When Eating Out.” Presentations can be 30-60 minutes long, depending on the amount of time available.

To complete the package, the high and low ropes courses offered by the Adventure Learning Center offer team building, communication and individual self-discovery. The portable course can be brought to various sites and offers many of the games and initiatives from the low ropes course.

Visit the Adventure Learning Center website to learn more about its youth and adult programs. For more information about “Lunch and Learn” presentations, contact Jody Gatewood at jodyg@iastate.edu or Melissa O’Neil at moneil@iastate.edu.

About the Adventure Learning Center
The Adventure Learning Center is an outdoor activity course with sites at Living History Farms in Urbandale and the Southeast Polk Community School District in Pleasant Hill. Portable courses are also available to schools, businesses and other organizations. Participants learn the fundamental principles of teamwork while having a fun-filled day with classmates or co-workers. Program staff includes 20 educators from ISU Extension in Polk County and the Polk County Conservation Board, as well as contracted educational professionals.

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