Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nature and the Ropes Course

Today our scheduled activity was to participate in the Ropes Course along with the rest of the girls in the Women and Leadership course. However, in addition to our class the Changing Business class also went. Each class was broken up into two different groups -- each led by two people. For my group it was My, the RA for part of the third and fourth floor at Harkness, and Arin a student at Brown University who led and supervised what we did on the different elements of the course. They both did a really excellent job and most importantly they made sure that no one was being pressured into doing anything they did not feel comfortable with.

During the course of the day, we took part in a couple of different activities as a group never as individuals. First, we did a couple of ice breaker sort of activities so that we could get to know each others' names even more. However, in part, it was not really needed because most of us know each other by now, but for Arin it was good because he had never met us previous to today.

After, we got ready for the elements, Ropes Course stages, we would be participating in. We learned all about the proper procedures on how to do "spotting," in other words hold people as they fall towards you. We did that exercise where you cross your arms on top of your chest, you lean backwards, and your partner or the person by you catches you. First we did this in groups of two, basically falling back and then we did it in groups of three falling both forward and backward. In addition, we practiced how to help a person levitate by everyone in the group cooperating and holding them, most carefully when it comes to head and neck. We had a couple of the members of our team volunteer to do this and we were able to avoid accidents and still lower the volunteer. This skill would come in handy during one of the elements we completed. Additionally, we put on bandannas, which had been dabbed with tic repellent, on our ankles and we put on bug spray. Both of these were provided by the organizers of the event.
Continuing, we went into the woods in search of our first element and to see what else awaited us on this adventure. As we were walking down a woody paths many things came to our attention, among them where all the trees' obviously but we also got a glimpse of the bay...
Soon enough we reached the site of our first element where we all had to swing on a rope from one board of wood to another across from the first one and in the end everyone was to end up standing on the second piece of wood together at the same time. In addition, of everyone having to complete this we also had to transport a "magic potion" that Dean Rose, the Associate Dean for Summer and Continuing Studies and Director of Leadership Programs, had created. In reality, it was a cup with water, which we were not supposed to spill. In the end, fortunately, everything worked out and we completed the element.

Our second element was called Whale Watch, it was a giant see saw that we were to balance so that no side touched the ground and while it was balanced we were supposed to sing the entire "Row, Row Your Boat" song. The second part of the challenge we found out only after we quickly completed the first part was to once again balance the board, but this time every time either side of the board touched the ground we had to sing the song one more time. This second part turned out to be difficult, but nevertheless we were able to fulfill it.

After having done two elements it was time for us to have lunch. We were provided with water, soda, apples, chips, vegetarian wraps, and cookies. Bianchi, Diana, and I went to eat as many others at the shore of the bay. It was fun there -- were so many seashells on the floor that I could not help myself and I had to collect some as souvenirs.
After lunch we completed two more elements, one of which was a spider web and the last was a tightrope where everyone was supposed to get on top of. The only one we did not finish was the tightrope while we completed the mission on the spider which if you touched made you lose the limb you touched it with.

This experience was much more than a strenuous physical workout but much more of a mental and group exercise. What can be learned through this experience is to trust the others in your team, to communicate effectively, to be open about ideas, to practice safety precautions, and to care about your team mates.

After we got back, I only went out to eat when Ms. Stewart came by to check on us. Along with her we went to the Sharpe Refectory for dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Selene,

    These exercises in trust are fine but sometimes there are good reasons to use common sense. Trust is fine but blind trust and blind faith actually suggests flawed leadership qualities. A real leader has to be able to spot where weaknesses in the team are not only to bolster and improve them but to avoid using them as a linchpin of your operation.