A Day on the Ropes Course

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Have you ever wanted to try a ropes challenge course, but wondered what it was all about? Take a trip with us on a team building ropes course at the Challenge Course at Butler School.

Last week, on what seemed like the hottest day of the summer, we met a group of CPAs from Bethesda out at the Challenge Course at Butler School. The group’s organizer had requested a “recreational team builder,” that would get people “outside, up high, and out of their comfort zone.” The ROPES Course did all of that, and more… Here are a few videos of their day.

We started with ‘group juggle,’ a lighthearted problem-solving activity that takes a little bit of planning, but winds up getting people relaxed, laughing, and ready to try something new. The group juggle also illustrates the importance of planning, effective communication, and commitment to the team and the goal.
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Moving on to a ‘low element’ – an activity that is built out of wood or cable – we headed out to the ‘multi-vine.’ In this physical challenge, the team had to traverse from one side of the cable to the other, relying on each other, and 3 ropes that hung from a cable above them. Without a great deal of support from their team mates, some participants would never have made it across, which provides a great metaphor for the importance of supportive teamwork.
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Having successfully completed the multi-vine, the team was ready to work on building trust between the members of the group. We partnered up, and had one team mate lead their blind-folded partner through a simple obstacle course. This completely silent activity required the blindfolded partner to rely on the sighted partner to keep them safe, and the sighted partner to be completely responsible for their safety. Following this powerful trust experience, the group had a long ‘debrief’ about what the experience was like, and how it helped them to learn to trust not only their partner, but themselves.
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After lunch, the team was ready to “go high,” so we set them up on the “Giant Ladder,” an activity that has two partners climbing up from beam to beam, while being belayed by their peers. The activity builds on the trust that was earned during the blind pairs walk, and has climbers helping one another, belayers keeping their team mates safe as they climb, and everyone highly engaged.
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As the heat began to take its toll on the group, we decided to wrap things up. We debriefed about the day – what happened, what we learned, highs and lows, and general feedback. Then we cleaned up, and headed home – hot and tired, but happy. Another great day on the ropes course!