Leadership Class Concludes at Prescott Park

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The Chamber Leadership Class had its last class this year at the Prescott Park. If you haven’t been there yet, you absolutely must. Here’s an article about it in today’s paper.

A new outdoor obstacle course on Medford’s Roxy Ann Peak isn’t just another way for thrill-seekers to tackle a physical challenge.

“You also have emotional and intellectual fitness you can tap into,” says Erik Marter, co-owner of Synergo, which built the course.

The Prescott Park Challenge Course is a system of ropes, wires, swings, platforms and ladders — suspended 2 to 40 feet off the ground — among trees in the 1,740-acre city park. Opened in April, the course typically requires advance reservation by a large group, but two city-sponsored days this summer will give families and adults of all ages a chance to take the challenge.

“For the Rogue Valley, this was pretty special,” says Sheri Richmond-Getty, a Medford nurse who toured the park on its opening day. “I would be interested in seeing how it would push me.”

The course is designed to prod participants outside their comfort zones to achieve higher planes of mental and emotional health, according to Synergo. Navigated in a group, the course’s 15 elements enhance trust, cooperation, willingness to take positive risks, and to develop leadership skills. Certified Synergo employees facilitate the experience over several hours. The Tigard company operates a similar course by advance reservation at Earth Teach Forest Park near Ashland.

“Your local schools, nonprofits … businesses are realizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” says Marter. “It takes people out of a stuffy classroom … and gets them outside doing something.”

“I came up here thinking I was going to bring my kids,” says Richmond-Getty. “I thought this would be a fun thing for a group to do — a group of friends.”

The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County furnished the first official group to use the course. About 30 members capped off a nine-month leadership program at Prescott Park in mid-May.

“We thought, ‘Why not finish with a bang?’ ” says Brad Hicks, chamber president and chief executive. “It was an opportunity to find out what I was and wasn’t afraid of.”

Recalling the “leap of faith” gave chamber member and leadership student Bill Macy a rush more than a week later. While fellow participants secured the rope attached to Macy’s waist harness, he jumped from a platform high in the trees to catch and swing from a trapeze.

“You don’t have a clue until you go through it,” says Macy. “You really have to be open to personal growth and exploration.”

Skeptical of businesses claiming they can change lives, Macy says the challenge course made him a believer. He not only applied its lessons immediately to his job as director of Avamere Health & Fitness Club in Medford. He’s also trying to organize a group trip among club members. Most are adults 40 and older, but nearly all would be physically capable of using the challenge course, he says.

“Physical limitations are, a lot of times, self-created,” says Macy, adding that extreme physical fitness can, in situations like the challenge course, “almost be a handicap for people.”

“We work with professional athletes, and we work with people in drug- and alcohol-treatment centers … and people with disabilities,” says Marter.

Synergo imposes virtually no physical criteria other than the ability to walk unassisted on a variety of terrain and surfaces around the challenge course, as well as the capacity for following instructions and directions. Participants must sign a waiver with the company.

In general, participants should weigh between 60 and 300 pounds. More important than size and stature is whether harnesses and helmets fit properly to ensure participation in the course’s high elements. Synergo recommends wearing comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather and securely fastened, closed-toe shoes.

Some 300 park visitors for the city’s April preview day had the chance to test-drive three elements: the “leap of faith,” the “diversity trail,” similar to a tightrope stretched about 2 feet off the ground, and the “giant swing,” which, as its name implies, soars 40 feet above the ground revealing a panoramic view of the valley.

A peerless vantage point, the giant swing also serves as a metaphor for emotional release, says Marter.

“What’s something in your life that you need to release and get rid of?” he asks. “It’s a big, cathartic experience.”

“I found it supremely exhilarating,” says Macy. “You’re engaging in outdoor activity in a beautiful, protected area.”

More than two times the size of Medford’s other parks combined, Prescott’s remote, hilltop location means it gets only a tiny fraction of the others’ visitors. Tucked into the trees off a gravel road, the course is not obvious to passersby and can’t be operated unless Synergo staff is on scene.

Reserving the course for a group of up to 15 costs $600 to $1,200, with price determined by the complexity of desired activities. Groups must call Synergo directly at 503-746-6646.

City-sponsored days, July 14 and Aug. 18, reduce the cost to $45 for adults and $30 for children. Call city of Medford Parks & Recreation at 541-774-2400 to register. More lower-cost, challenge-course days likely will be scheduled later in the year, weather permitting, says Rich Rosenthal, the city’s recreation superintendant.

“It’s not just for thrill-seekers,” says Rosenthal. “There’s something for everyone there.”

Another Green Move by Rogue Disposal

In another “green” environmental advancement to improve Southern Oregon’s air quality, Rogue Disposal & Recycling Inc. is proud to feature a new waste collection truck powered entirely by cleaner-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). The 2012 Mack truck, which is one of the first CNG trucks used for waste collection in Oregon, is currently running in one of Rogue Disposal’s downtown Medford business routes.

Rogue Disposal & Recycling has also purchased a second CNG truck, for automated residential routes, which is scheduled to arrive by the end of the year.

CNG is an alternative energy that emits little or no particulate matter, creates less smog-producing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, and reduces emission of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, toxic and carcinogenic pollutants.

“Rogue Disposal and Recycling’s overall goal is to be the leading environmental company in Southern Oregon, and the CNG truck allows our company to convert to a cleaner burning fuel which will improve the air quality of the Rogue Valley while lowering our fuel expenses for collection,” said Wendel Smith, Rogue Disposal & Recycling General Manager. “In addition, once the Dry Creek Landfill, in conjunction with Jackson County, completes a feasibility study to determine the economics of using methane as a fuel in local fleets, the possibility exists to have a renewable clean energy source here in the Rogue Valley for the next century.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly 87% of compressed natural gas used in the U.S. is domestically produced. CNG produces 60-90% less smog-producing pollutants, gives off 30-40% less greenhouse gas emissions, and also extends engine life. Consisting mostly of methane, CNG is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Strict safety standards make CNG vehicles as safe as gasoline-powered vehicles.

Rogue Disposal & Recycling spent two years researching manufacturers of equipment and companies that have converted fleets to CNG. Staff visited facilities in three states and interviewed collection company drivers, mechanics, and management that had in depth experience with this type of equipment.

The truck Rogue Disposal purchased features a Wittke 40 cubic yard frontload body with a Cummins ISL-G 320 horsepower engine coupled to an Allison 6-speed refuse special transmission. The new truck is currently filling at the Rogue Valley Transit District fuel station, which is being updated to a 3600 psi fast fill site.

The new CNG truck is just one of Rogue Disposal & Recycling’s environmentally friendly initiatives in its goal to be the greenest company in Southern Oregon. The company has installed a photovoltaic (PV) system to produce approximately 75,500 kW/hours of energy per year, completed truck exhaust retrofitting and a new wheel wash system to reduce particulate emissions, built a new road to relieve congestion, and created the Dry Creek Landfill Inc. methane gas-to-energy facility. The Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) awarded the company the Certificate of Appreciation for Air Quality Excellence for its leadership.

Rogue Disposal & Recycling, founded in 1938, provides a wide variety of services including a full range of residential, commercial and industrial solid waste collection; curbside commingled household recycling pickup; residential and commercial medical waste service; confidential on-site document shredding; curbside yard debris collection; large item and extra rubbish removal; and other services. All of these services support Rogue Disposal and Recycling’s motto of “We do that!”

Moose Munch Bars for the Troops

All of us celebrate Memorial Day and honor our troops in our own unique way. Here’s how Chamber member, Harry & David, does Memorial Day.

1. Offer major discounts–I found deals at over 50% off today.

2. Offer coupons on top of discounts. (double bargains me smile)

3. Send Moose Munch Bars to U.S. soldiers.

In less than two years, Harry and David has sent U.S. troops several shipments of snacks and jerky and candy. The count on Moose Munch Bars alone is over 250,000. Be a part of the Moose Munch Drive for the troops–Shop at Harry and David, get $5 off your purchase and then donate the $5 back towards sending our troops a taste of our appreciation. (Or donate just $2.95 and keep a savings of $1.95 for yourself)

We’d love to hear your Memorial Day tradition or story too.

Weekend Music: Go Witness Rising Star Finalists

Happening at South Stage Cellars this week: It’s the finals, the best of the best. Local artists performing for charity and the Rising Star title.

Friday May 25
6:00 Adey Bell
7:00 Qi Brothers
7:30 Charles Guy and Crystal Reeves
8:30 Robbie Dacosta

Saturday May 26
5:00 The Seons
6:00 Mark Charles Hill
7:00 Jeff Kloetzel
7:30 Dave Barnes Trio

Outdoorsy Adventure For Free


Wild Herbs & Edibles Field Trip!
Dennis Ellingson, author 
Saturday, May 19, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Organized by Rogue Fit Solutions
Meet at TouVelle Park and walk into the area’s wilds to identify and forage for herbs and edibles. Take advantage of Mr. Ellingson’s extensive knowledge base and get hands on experience gathering wild greens and plants.
We will meet in the back of TouVelle park at 1pm, so drive all the way to the end. There is a $5 day use fee for parking so carpool if you can.

Map to TouVelle State Park: http://g.co/maps/2ys8u

Chinese Fable on OSF Stage

If you haven’t heard, The Chamber is organizing a trip to China this year. So, we’re especially interested in The White Snake at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

And if you want to join us on the trip to China, contact us at 541-608-8520. The deadline is July 15.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
OverviewArtistsVideoLearn More
Serpent spirits, meddling monks
In a beloved Chinese legend, a snake spirit disguised as a beautiful woman falls in love with a young scholar. White Snake keeps her true identity secret from him, but a disapproving monk persists in unmasking her. With the help of Green Snake, White Snake summons all her magic powers to defeat the spirits and monsters threatening her life and her great love. With live music and beautiful visual metaphors, Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman invites your imagination to her staging of this fantastical transcendent romance.

Age recommendation: The story is fantastical, romantic, charming and witty,with a dark and dangerous undercurrent. It will be fast-paced and visually exciting, and appropriate for students 12 and up. View full age recommendation.

Run time: 1 hour and 37 minutes; no intermission.

Audience notes: Incense is burned in this performance.

To prepare for The White Snake, please consider our Preface Plus offering, a 45-minute introduction to the world of the play, presented by an OSF Education Department staff member.

International Week

Southern Oregon University’s celebration of their cultural diversity is open to the public.

All events are free! Don’t miss the food fair on Monday as the kickoff and be sure to join us on Friday for the International Show in the Music Hall. The doors for the show open at 6:30 pm and you do not need a ticket.

Office of International Programs
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520 USA
541.552.8180