http://twitpic.com/c7hgc – Leap of Faith – This little girl climbed to the 40 foot platform and almost touched the tetherball target! Nice!
http://twitpic.com/c7h64 – Climbing at “Middle Earth” with Camp Eder. Great day to be in the shade, on a rock, having fun!
We have been busy adding improvements to the Challenge Course at Butler School for the past month now, and things are starting to come together nicely! Although construction takes an incredible amount of time, money, and labor, the results make it all worth while.
The first few groups that came out to the course gave us some great feedback about ways to improve the client experience, and I took their suggestions very seriously. The result has been a few challenging projects that I think will add great appeal to both our clients, and our facilitators alike.
Here are a few of the projects we have been working on:
Islands Platforms – The team must traverse from platform to platform using two boards and some ingenuity. If the boards or the participants touch the ground, everyone starts at the beginning. This is a great problem-solving and commitment exercises that requires the correct sequence of moves in order to achieve success.
Giant Swing Platform – Although the platform is not the exciting part of the activity, it is crucial to the success of safely attaching and detaching from the pull-up cable. Notice how high off the ground the back of the platform rises – this means that the top of the swing will be around 40 feet in the air!
We are also in the middle of installing a King’s Finger, Spider’s Web, and a Multi-line (high) as well as adding trails between a few of the new elements. We’re working hard, and the course is starting to look pretty sharp. Can’t wait to see you there!
We don’t often hang out with famous mountain climbers or Hollywood stars, but we had the opportunity to do both recently, while simultaneously doing what we love to do every day: teach people about the importance of teamwork. We recently partnered with The Verizon Foundation and its Educational Resource website – www.thinkfinity.org – to provide a team building challenge course for their annual Educational Technology conference in Washington, DC. Erik Weihenmayer – “The Blind Climber” – and actor Eric Close, from the TV show “Without a Trace,” were presenting at the conference, and we were asked to join them to provide some activities that illustrate the challenges Erik faced while climbing Mt. Everest, and use his stories as a metaphor for teaching teamwork.
Part of Weihenmayer’s talk focused on the challenge of walking across ladders that spanned huge crevasses at Mt. Everest and the teamwork that it took to get from one side to the other – without the luxury of sight. In order to better illustrate this challenge, Erik had us harness, short-rope, and blindfold three volunteers (one of whom was the actor and fellow keynote speaker Eric Close) and then asked another volunteer to lead the team across a horizontally supported ladder, using only her voice. This team had it a little easier than Erik did in real life because not only did they crawl across the ladder, rather than walk across with crampons, but they also didn’t have a bottomless crevasse to worry about. Even so, the activity still presented a challenge. The “climbers” struggled to follow the leader’s instructions, while the leader found it difficult to give proper direction to people without eyesight. In the end, the volunteers found it a unique experience to take part in an activity that resembled the life-changing trek described by Erik Weihenmayer
We can’t wait to share the the video and photos with you. We’ll upload them as soon as we receive them.
The Challenge Course at Butler School is coming along. We have already run a few programs, and the course has worked out well for different types of small group.
Group A. The summer camp or youth programs group. This type of group is coming out to a ropes course for fun, recreational team building. With a goal of “fun team challenges” the youth programs group
Group B. The leadership group. This type of group is comprised of adults (18 and older) whose goal is either a recreational team challenge, or something a little more intense, with leadership, problem-solving and foundational trust being the main focus.
Most recently we installed a couple of new high elements on the course: The Leap of Faith, and The Six Ropes.
The Leap of Faith requires the participant to climb up a ladder, then up a tree to stand on a 20 foot platform. If this is high enough, the participant may jump (or step – depending on your level of commitment) off and slowly lower to the ground. Or, if you are feeling a little more courageous, you may climb up to the 40 foot platform, and jump out to touch the tethered ball. Once again, you are caught on a rope, and lowered safely to the ground. The Leap of Faith is an individual challenge (no one is standing on the platform with you, telling you to jump) that can be designed as a team challenge – your team mates will put you into the full-body harness, belay you up the tree, and catch you on the rope. The Leap of Faith is one of the most emotionally challenging (think Fear Factor) activities on a ropes course.
The Six Ropes is a climbing element that is easily adaptable to offer a wide variety of low or high element options. Having hung six white multiline ropes from the 30 foot element cable, the facilitator can easily create a classic high elements such as the Giant Ladder, or the Vertical Playpen, or a few new elements such as the Dumb Waiter and a virtual climbing wall. Additionally, we can switch from a high element to a low element by simply moving a few of the white multiline ropes out of the way. A few low element options include: Swinging Tire Traverse, The Porthole, Spider’s Web, Swinging Log, or the Balance Beam. With the incredible versatility of the Six Ropes activity area, I am thinking I will install a couple more of these elements in other places on the course!
The floundering economy has hit businesses and not-for-profits pretty hard. Even in the DC metropolitan area, where the federal government makes its home, we are starting to feel the pinch. Budgets are getting tighter, and it is more important than ever to see the benefit of any money spent on team building.
We at GO-AdventureSports have been listening.
We have gone through each of our team building options and tried to focus on and fine-tune the activities and programs that are most beneficial to our clients. We want to make sure that we are giving you the highest return on your investment as well as giving you a program that will fit your goals and your budget. Here are a few of the highlights:
The DIY Team Challenge was created for teams whose goals are recreational team building with a small budget. The program works best with teams who already work well together or who are just coming together for the first time. If you are adding a few staff and you want to achieve instant buy-in without the need for deeper team development, then the DIY Team Challenge is a great fit. Getting ready to begin a new school year, and want an energizer? DIY Team Challenge is the team building option that will fit the bill.
The PORTABLE Team Challenge brings the team building to your location or to a park or retreat center near you. The Portable Team Challenge is a facilitated team building experience – our expert facilitators will sequence activities that are not only fun and challenging, but relevant to your goals, needs and group dynamics. Following most activities, your facilitator will lead the team in a debrief that relates the lessons learned in the activity back to the ‘real world’ of work dynamics and interpersonal relationships.
The ROPES Challenge combines the facilitated team building of the Portable Team Challenge (getting-to-know-you activities, problem-solving initiatives and trust-building exercises) with the individual challenge of the high elements (challenging climbing, traversing or leaping activities that take place up to 40 feet in the air) to create a uniquely powerful team building experience. Although much of the actual team development takes place in the initial low elements, the accomplishment of the high element portion of the day is often the most memorable and individually satisfying component.
The NEXTeams Process begins where traditional team building programs end. Designed for teams whose goal is to get to the root of organizational dysfunction and build a foundation of trust that will foster commitment, innovation and higher performance, the NEXTeams Process bridges the gap between team building and ‘teams working’. NEXTeams is “The NEXT Step” in team development. Check out our other professional facilitation services at The NEXTeams Companies website: www.nexteams.com.