By Kaye Nelson
The recreation therapists at Heritage are always on the lookout for something new and exciting for their students to experience. Flying high through pine-filled forests now has a check mark on the to-do list.
Most students at Heritage were invited to take part in a zipline adventure on September 23, not far from campus.
“We went to the MAX Zipline in Provo Canyon,” said Laura Bennion, therapeutic recreation supervisor. “We have Heritage employee who also works at Max Zipline. We talked about getting our girls to the zipline but then one of our rec therapists found we could do a group rate for all of our students.”
Laura said almost every student went who wanted to go. Three rec therapists, some home leads and home directors also attended and supervised the activity.
“There were about 15 people in each group,” she said. “Some homes were combined and others were by themselves. The facilitators there gave the safety instructions, then the kids were taken in vehicles up to ziplines.”
She said students were allowed to ride on four different sections of lines.
“The kids absolutely loved it!” she said. “Some were scared of heights but they pushed themselves and really enjoyed it.”
Laura said she stood at the end of one line and interviewed the students, making some video clips of their reactions.
“I asked some ‘symbolically, what did you leave behind?’” she said. “Some of their responses were ‘negative emotions, depression, anxiety.’ A lot talked of the feeling of flying, the adrenaline rush of being so high up and that it was so scary.”
Laura explained that in recreation therapy the therapists conduct an activity and then process it with the kids after, helping them make a connection to something in their lives.
“We ask them to metaphorically relate something in life to the experience they just had,” she said. “The ELEVATE kids could relate to it and made that connection of leaving something negative behind. The PEERS kids have a harder time. They don’t get the concept easily but they talked of really enjoying it, especially the beautiful scenery.”
With so many students, some had to wait to ride the ziplines. Those who waited roasted marshmallows around a campfire and played games. Laura said it was such a great experience that they would love to return, especially before cold weather hits, to experience more of what is offered.