Question and Answer

The ROPES Challenge Course:
Team Initiatives activity descriptions

For an overview of this program format see Ropes Challenge Course

Initiative activities (These team ROPES activities involve very low levels of physical effort or emotional stress.) Many are also mobile and can be set-up at a location of your choosing. Some of the activities described here require fixed props however, and are not mobile. In addition, all activities described in the InterActive Teams program description can be included in a ROPES Program with larger groups. Ask about other available activities. Bottom line: people generally stay grounded - and don't get winded - doing these activities. Many people refer to Team Initiatives as Low Ropes.

To plan out your program, you can look over the quick theme descriptions next to the sample activity title and consider what experiences would be most valuable for your team. We guarantee they're all a lot of fun as well. Each of these activities require about one hour to complete, including the debrief discussions. There are many more activities to choose from. Contact us directly to plan out your program in detail.

Bridges: (initiative, figuring out the problem as your working the problem, attention to detail)
An activity in which the team starts out on one end of a space and must cross the space by making bridges across blocks without touching the ground, which is covered with a potent "acid". The team has multiple boards to build the bridges, but can lose a board if it touches the ground, and participants can lose use of an arm or vision if they touch the ground. The team needs to finish on or ahead of schedule. The problem solution doesn't reveal itself until after the team is typically well into an action mode, trying out different tactics, which may work at first, but ultimately need to change to be successful.

KPM Transit (Kinetic People Movers or Trolleys):
(Managing multiple requirements to complete a task, focused execution, skill sharing, cooperation)
An activity in which the team attempts to complete an assigned task on time, and to specs. The props are described to participants as trolleys that each person on the team needs to be standing on in order for their team to advance. A course area is set out for the trolley. The objective is for the team to finish at the exact time set, not early, not late, like an efficient trolley company. Participants need to effectively cooperate to make the trolleys work. If everyone isn't working in unison the system breaks down and mishaps can occur. Teams typically rise to the challenge and develop the coordination to be successful.

Hot Stuff (Three Mile Island) (Creativity under pressure, identifying clear roles and responsibilities)
A "nuclear reactor" is represented by a circle on the ground, about twelve feet in diameter. In the center is the "reactor core" with some "fuel" lying on top. A "containment device" is located off to the side. Outside the reactor, in the "control room," are materials available to the team. The team is informed it has about thirty minutes to contain the fuel (some balls) on the nuclear reactor core (a pedestal) to prevent a nuclear meltdown. No one can go into the reactor area, and must wear protective gear (blindfolds) if touching anything that does go into the reactor. This is a "hot" activity to demonstrate the need for clear roles and responsibilities, effective leadership, good communication, and shared problem solving to be successful. Teams can do this activity simultaneously and potentially help each other's problem solving. Or they can work in isolation and compare results later.

Sherpa Walk (taking initiative, empathy for the needs of others, clear two-way communication)
This activity simulates a guided adventure in rugged terrain, presumably dependent on a leader. The leader is a volunteer who is sighted and guides a blindfolded group, trailing in a line behind the guide through a woods and over obstacles that are described by the guide in a fantasy adventure. The group follows along and listens to the description for clues on what to expect and what to do. The leader can either be very focused on guiding each member of the group or give general descriptions to the person next to him, in the front - to be passed along. The blinded participants soon learn how much they need to depend on and support each other for their safety and success. The activity simulates how teams, typically with less information than their leaders, need to generate an additional element of initiative and leadership to support each other and be successful. Sighted leadership can change once or twice during the activity, allowing for different styles to be experienced.
All A-Board:
At the end of the Sherpa Walk the group is taken to a small 2' x 2' elevated platform that simulates a precarious mountaintop on which the whole team must be supported at the same time, still blinded. This experience often provokes valuable discussion on the ways "followers" on teams need to still take initiative and support each other to be successful.

Islands: (understanding the problem at the outset, support, and knowing when you're finished)
This is a one, two, or three team activity that requires each team to move from atop its starting island (a large wooden platform), across to a middle island (a small platform), used by every group, and then across to each team's respective outlying island. (The program area is made up of square box-like platforms.) The objective is for each team to get to its outlying island in a set time using only the boards available. The boards represent limited resources to the groups. If anyone comes off an island (box) or drops a board in the process, the respective team must begin again. This activity requires clear problem identification up front to be successful. It's a good start-off activity.

The Trust Series: (identify the elements of trusting relationships and how they apply to teams and individuals.)
Participants engage in three different trust falls; 1st with one catcher and one faller, 2 nd with both being catcher and faller at the same time, and 3rd with one person falling and the whole group continuously catching and supporting. The activities follow with a discussion of how the three activities can suggest what's needed in developing trusting relationships, the different orientations people have regarding trust, and how they affect work relationships.

Spider Web: (setting and maintaining high standards, mutual support and trust, shared problem solving)
The team members find themselves at a large web like structure made out of string, and containing a dozen holes of various shapes through which people need to be passed to the other side. The group needs to set a quality standard for their performance related to how much movement is allowed in the process of moving each other from one side to the other, and enforce their standard during the activity. The group figures out who best fits through which hole and in what order, and aims to complete the task in 30 minutes or less. This activity stimulates a lot of excitement and cheering as the group succeeds in meeting, hopefully, high standards that it sets and maintains.

Wild Woozy: (inter-reliance, redefining control, learning to let go in order to advance.)
Two cables, suspended above the ground, begin at the same point on one tree and gradually diverge to two separate tress, several feet apart and thirty feet from the start. Two participants team up, each one standing on one of the cables. While supporting each other, the two start moving along their respective cable until both of them are at the other end, or as far as possible. Everyone completes the introductory level woozy and can choose to advance to the true experience in higher leaning! -- Wild Woozy II - higher and wider than the first level. When working with others on a team it is important that people rely on each other while taking risks to move forward into uncharted areas in order to accomplish things that are not possible alone. This is a great climactic experience at the end of a program that can include two activity teams together.

The Crossing: (understanding the details, setting high standards, creativity, mutual support)
Here's an activity involving a high level of group problem solving and some individual performance. The Dilemma: The entire team finds itself on the edge of a great canyon in the desert. There is an urgent need to get across the canyon and to bring as much of the liquid treasure as is possible. Not unlike Indiana Jones, the team needs to escape the wrath of the attackers by crossing the canyon before they arrive. Much to good fortune, and a sign of support from the gods, a sky hook hangs from the sky above with a rope attached that can be used to cross the great divide. But first they have to retrieve the rope. They have nothing but themselves and what they have on their person to help with this feat. The requirement, of course, is for the entire group to get across the canyon without anyone falling in. If someone does "fall in" there are consequences. The team also needs to decide before they leave how to get the treasure across without spilling a drop.

Many other activities are added to the Team Initiatives repertoire on a regular basis. Contact us for additional activity descriptions associated with a program for which you request a proposal.

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Helium Tube

Unraveling the Gordian Knot


Spider Web


KPM Transit

Three Mile Island - Hot Stuff

Sherpa Walk

Thinking out Team Beams

Trust Fall

The Trust Series

The Trust Series - Group Circle

The High Trust Fall

The Crossing

The Wild Woozy

Wild Woozy

The Mohawk Traverse

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