Today, I was part of a team that hosted pupils from St George’s Primary School at the Adventure Rope Course, just north of Shrewsbury. It was intended as a team building day, to develop relationships and cooperation among the pupils at the beginning of the school year. With 8 groups of about 10 excited kids, it was a pretty busy place to be working today!
All the groups kicked off with a variety of ground based team challenges, aimed at getting them talking, sharing ideas, forming plans and working together in an effort to succeed. As is quite often the case, at the start of these types of day, it took a little while for some members of the group to put aside their personal desire to be at the centre of things, to enable the team to work effectively. It’s the same for all of us – if we become too focussed on doing everything we can as individuals, we don’t even see that others in the team are pushed out, unable to contribute even though they might be better at the task than us. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for reflection, and a third party’s analysis to make us see the bigger picture.
After the ground based tasks I took my group onto the Jacob’s Ladder, which takes a bit of a head for heights, but also requires team work for the group to succeed. Working on their own, most people have difficulty getting half way up the ‘ladder’, but a bit of cooperation and self sacrifice goes a long way. It was great to see the group starting to learn, and put into practice, some of the principles that we’d been able to identify from the ground based tasks. Working in smaller groups of three, not all of the groups managed to scale the heights of the Jacob’s Ladder, but it was brilliant to see the change in attitude compared to just an hour before.
From then on, the teams rotated around a series of challenges whilst us instructors remained on the one activity. The Jacob’s Ladder tends to produce a greater time pressure than most of the other activities at the Adventure Rope Course, so I had quite a busy afternoon trying to get everyone through in the allotted time. However, the kids seemed to have a lot of fun and were fantastic at encouraging one another. A great day all round.