Skyway Leadership Institute, Home To Helzmar Challenge Course, To Close Permanently

Sunday, August 23rd 2020, 5:50 pm
By: William Blanchette

TULSA, Okla. -

Lost revenue due to COVID-19 has forced a local nonprofit and state of the art youth attraction to close for good.

The grass has grown tall at the Helmzar Challenge Course, the largest ropes course in North America, in Tulsa near Pine and Peoria. The facility is also home to the nonprofit Skyway Leadership Institute.

"People did not see it conducive to the environment,” Skyway Leadership Institute CEO Sarah Guardiola said.

Despite their staff wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and not having a confirmed COVID-19 case, Guardiola said she temporarily closed the course in April as a precaution.

"We believe it's essential because we know our communities are fracturing and this is a very positive way of bringing them back together,” Guardiola said.

The $6 million facility has seven steel courses and a three-story rock wall. At its core, it was a research center.

"But also did trust building, community building, and leadership," Guardiola said.

It wasn't not only a place for children, but also a place that hosted programs, including one that brought police and at-risk youth together.

Guardiola said it costs about $26,000 per month to maintain the facility.