How It All Started
Bill Rudge started developing obstacle courses for the youth soccer teams he coached, which have morphed and expanded over the years. The current course was built by many volunteers – primarily using natural materials such as logs and tree stumps. Dick Hetrick and other volunteers cut down trees on-site, then crafted them for the various challenges. Throw in some car, truck, and tractor tires, ropes, and over-sized monkey bars, as well as a balance beam and wall (built by South Py Community Church) and you have the Ultimate Challenge Obstacle Course at Bill Rudge Ministries (BRM). Several individuals, businesses, churches and organizations volunteer their time, talents, and resources toward maintenance, while others assist Bill in running it.
Challenging Youth & Adults to Reach their Maximum Potential
Bill and BJ Rudge have set up Obstacle Courses and provided specialized training for individuals and groups in school and church gymnasiums and outside fields – locally, across the U.S. and abroad – since 1986. The permanent Obstacle Course at BRM provides many opportunities to train sports teams, youth groups, church groups, military personnel and new recruits, mission teams preparing for upcoming trips, Scouts, children, teens, adults and families – all free of charge. Over the years Bill has invented several recreational and sports activities which have been published in various magazines and are incorporated into some of his training regimen.
Various rigorous training routines have been designed by Bill to help prepare new recruits for the challenges that lie ahead at boot camp and beyond. An Army Recruiting Sergeant reported that his soldiers and new recruits loved it and were soaked with sweat – just what he wanted. A Navy Petty Officer said the exercises were great; that the sailors and future sailors really enjoyed it. A Marine Recruiting Sergeant said the course was challenging in multiple ways and that his future Marines had a great time. Some who trained on the BRM Obstacle Course were preparing to try out for the Navy Seals and other Special Forces while others were conditioning to try out for American Ninja.
Bill customizes every obstacle course adventure to meet specific needs, goals and levels of intensity for each group. Typically, groups are scheduled for 60 to 120 minutes. The shorter time includes mainly the obstacle course while the additional time involves innovative drills, relay races, recreational or sports activities, and individual or team competitions.
Assistants help Bill and BJ lead participants through the multifaceted course where they face a variety of physical and mental challenges and choices. The obstacle course is great for motivating youth and adults to step out of their comfort zones and for Team Building – improving communication, producing leadership skills, promoting teamwork, instilling cooperation, and enhancing trust and encouragement of each other as groups take on challenges and reach goals together.
Workouts on the obstacle course are interspersed with verbal coaching by Bill or BJ who interject motivational and inspirational comments on such concepts as: attitude, choices, confidence, commitment, courage, determination, discipline, faith, life-balance, loyalty, nutrition, respect, and self-control (all biblical principles) with the intended purpose of challenging youth and adults to reach their maximum potential: Physically, by developing upper and lower body strength, agility, balance, control, and endurance. Mentally, in remembering the required exercises and options at each station while developing problem-solving skills to make necessary adjustments based on the circumstances. Emotionally, by rising above one’s fears to meet challenges with a positive attitude and confidence. Spiritually, Bill shares his personal experience in discovering true strength; talks with them about how skills developed on the obstacle course can be used in life, and gives copies of his books to those who request them.
Many notes, letters and e-mail from coaches, players, youth leaders and others testify to the fun, challenge and life lessons gained through the obstacle course experience.