Saturday, February 02, 2008

Outdoor Education

And by Outdoor Education I mean stuff like Outward Bound, which a lot of people have heard of. Having recently gone on such a programme, I can attest that it was indeed a ton of fun and lived up to expectations. The one I participated in involved a few team based activities on the ground - crossing a bunch of barrels and getting the team through a 'web' - that were followed by the fun stuff that involved strapping on a safety harness and performing activities a fair few feet above ground. Like crossing a stream on an elevated metal wire, or climbing a fairly high pole.

You end up doing stuff you wouldn't have imagined doing; granted, there is a safety wire, but truth be told until you experience the safety wire in action and realize that you're perfectly safe, it's still unnerving. After the first fall (actually, hardly anyone ever falls, but some events require that you be lowered with the safety wire), you gain enough confidence to move without constantly wondering what it feels like to fall from 20 feet up. The amazing thing is how virtually everyone ends up participating, even the people you would have doubted at the outset (like the relatively old or obese).

As for the educational aspect of it, yeah there's a bunch of stuff about how important teamwork is and the usual yadda yadda. Honestly though, the team building that takes place is not that much different from what happens when you play a sport. It's a load of fun and I guess you bond with your co-workers to an extent. As to how far it goes towards improving team work and work flow at the office... I remain to be convinced. A worthwhile experience though, leeches, stumbling around in the dark, fumbling around inside a tent, and all. Maybe for some groups it ends up having a long term effect on their work environments, and is genuinely 'educational'; for me, it was a perk, and a fairly good one at that.

1 comment:

Darwin said...

Sounds like a nice way to skive off work! I wish my lab would organise something like that, instead the most socialising we do is during a fire alarm when we're forced to go outside.