What does Challenge by Choice Mean?
Facilitator Tips Episode 06

What it Means to Honour Challenge by Choice


This week’s Facilitator Tips episode explores the original intent of the powerful philosophical framework of Challenge by Choice, a term coined by Karl Rohnke and adopted by Project Adventure many years ago.


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If you are not fully aware of the philosophical underpinnings of Challenge by Choice, I urge you to click the play button above to learn more.

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Useful Links & Resources


  • playmeo’s Philosophical Framework – explore our philosophical framework and programmatic approach which can help you build and strengthen relationships within your group.
  • Project Adventure – learn more about the organisation responsible for educating and disseminating the Challenge by Choice philosophy worldwide.
  • Karl Rohnke – learn more about the man who coined the term ‘Challenge by Choice.’


Video Transcript


Hello there and welcome to Episode 6 of the Facilitator Tips video series.

My name is Mark Collard. I’m an experiential trainer and author and the founder of www.playmeo.com, and today I want to talk to you about honouring challenge by choice.

Now if you’ve stumbled across this video and had never come across this term before, it is a widely used term in many adventure programs and experiential programs throughout the world to indicate that you want to give your participants the choice to determine how far they wish to challenge themselves. It was a term coined by the guru Karl Rohnke in Project Adventure days and has spread widely throughout the world throughout many, many programs.

And while it’s been very, very good, many people have a very limited understanding of what challenge by choice was truly trying to do. Yes, it did want to give the participants choice and that’s very important because of the empowerment it gave those individuals, but there was some more that was missing.

It was more than just yes/no, I’m either doing the activity or I’m not. There was actually a spectrum. There were many ways in which they could be involved in between the two. The key to it was to empower the individual. But it wasn’t just their responsibility. It wasn’t just them deciding yes I’m going to do it or not.

I like to think of it in its fuller sense and that is that I take on full responsibility for creating an environment in which my participants make appropriate choices. It’s not just enough for me to say challenge by choice and not provide any opportunity for them to make choices. It’s critical that I create an environment in which they can make appropriate choices, of course, consistent with the goals of my program.

There’s a lot more you can learn about this and I would encourage you to go check out the show notes at www.playmeo.com/facilitatortips/episode6 and learn more about challenge by choice.

And importantly if you’ve got a comment to make I encourage you to do that too. And indeed challenge yourself in things that you’re already doing about how you could also integrate more choice into your program.

In the meantime have fun.


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