This was my first year going to the ropes course with incoming students. Camp Fire Long Beach delivers programs that help build group cohesiveness. Trained facilitators guide participants through a series of challenges that enhance individual and team growth. Our CWSP team has always marveled at the transformations that occur on the course but this year I wanted to see it for myself.
When we arrived, students and Verb chaperones were separated into groups. Each group was given its own trained facilitator. The facilitator accomplished three things immediately out of the gate:
A) The facilitators enthusiastically introduced themselves which included a discussion of their role. I supposed they figured in order for students to accept the challenge of climbing and jumping off a pole or walking a tight rope they’d have to sell themselves as masters. They also established a community within a community. There were chants and call and responses which seemed to bring the group together.
B) The facilitator made it clear early on that the success of the individual was dependent on the work of the entire group- including the facilitator. Just because the facilitator had more experience with the obstacle course didn’t make him/her solely responsible for the group’s success. Everyone had a responsibility to supporting the person climbing.
C) The facilitator was very honest about the challenges students would experience. He/ She shared with specificity the places in the obstacle course that were the easiest, the most challenging, etc. With that same honesty the facilitator let students know they could achieve their personal best. It was clear that all students might not reach the top but with the help of the group they could push themselves past where they thought they could go.
I was expecting to see students transform but instead was inspired to transform my student interactions.
If the facilitator can get our boys to climb a 45 ft pole clearly I can inspire them to learn the purpose of cellular respiration.