TEAM INITIATIVES COURSE
The team initiatives course is a series of small group activities designed to encourage co-operation and team work through problem solving.
Each initiative can not be solved by individuals. The idea is to make people work together in small groups of around five to eight in number and to develop interdependence amongst the group and a feeling of group achievement.
The activities are taken from Cowstails and Cobras II, a guide to games, initiatives, ropes courses and adventure curriculum, produced by Project Adventure NZ.
The success or failure of the team initiative course is very dependent on your leaders. The leaders need to:
have an understanding of the activity objectives
be patient enough to allow the group to work things out for themselves
be willing to provide an element of safety i.e. spotting for the group
be willing to attempt the same things that they require the participants to do
The risk here is twofold:
Physical risk: Here the activity should be controlled by a competent leader to ensure that the activity is accomplished safely. Spotting is a technique whereby all students (and leaders) not actively involved in the activity are involved as spotters; i.e. they are placed in such a position so that should anyone fall they can catch them
Emotional risk: The risk of failing in front of a group of their peers will be a greater worry to a lot of kids than the physical risk. Here your leaders need to encourage a co-operative approach, with lots of mutual support within the group. Also, be wary of the individual who seeks attention by a ‘dramatic fall’ or close shave.
These activities should be supervised when being undertaken.
Each activity has it’s own instruction sheet, with objectives, rules and considerations.
If you do not feel confident or competent in either yourself or your leaders to adequately supervise these activities then ASK camp staff for assistance and/or training.
The various activities do not have to be done in numerical order but the easier activities should be done first.
1. POISON PIT
To transport the entire group across the poison pit (area under “A” frame) from the tyre to the log using the rope swing.
Team members start on the tyre platform and must land on or over the log.
Team members can help each other only from behind the log.
Team members are not allowed to touch the ground between the tyre and the log and are out if they do so.
The swing must be obtained without stepping into the area between the tyre and the log.
Team members are not allowed to use only themselves and their clothing. For example, belts and shoelaces etc. can be used to obtain the rope swing, but not a piece of wood or the like.
Younger children may find the distance to swing too difficult. Start them on the ground under the “A” frame.
Another option to this activity to increase the challenge is to start the team from the log and have them land on the tyre platform.
As they land on the platform they stay there and the next person lands next to them and so on, the idea being to get as many of your team as possible on the platform.
Watch out for over vigorous swinging.
2. TYRE TROUBLE
To take the tyre off the vertical pole, touch the ground with it, and put the tyre back onto the pole as quickly and efficiently as possible
No external aids, such as, sticks and planks, may be used.
Watch for those people who are in the process of being used as stepladders that they are not in obvious pain, if so stop the process. (Pain appears to grow exponentially with time in these situations)
In all the hype and excitement of getting the tyre over the top, don’t forget about the effects of gravity on the tyre. If just dropped over it will come down on the hands of those acting as the stepladder.
Ensure that dismantling of the human stepladder occurs in an orderly fashion, as in the flush of success, safety considerations are often forgotten.
3. THE COTTON REEL
To transport the whole team from one side of the cotton reel to the other.
All team members start on one side of the cotton reel and finish on the other.
Once over they cannot go back to the other side to help.
Team members may assist from the side they are on.
The cotton reel rotates and is one and a half meters above the ground. You will need good spotting here.
Advise team members to exit the reel feet first.
Be especially alert for over-zealous team members attempting to rotate the reel while some other member is in the process of turning around atop the reel.
It is quite a way to fall head and hands first down the other side of the reel, so be aware of this.
H & S MANUAL - 7 - SAFETY SHEETS - PAGE 8
4. SPIDER’S WEB
To move the entire group through a “spider’s web” without touching the web.
The group starts on one side of the web and finishes on the other side.
Only one person can use a specific hole in the web.
Holes can only be reused if there are a greater number of team members than holes.
If the web is touched as a person is being passed through then that person must start again.
The first and last team members will be the hardest. Ensure that the team appreciates this.
When a member has been successfully passed through then watch to ensure that they are safely lowered to the ground, even during the hype of success.
5. BROKEN BRIDGE
Given two planks of differing lengths and a number of carefully positioned tyre platforms, the team must cross a region without touching the ground.
No person is allowed to touch the ground.
No plank is allowed to touch the ground.
If person or plank touches the ground, the whole team must start again.
This activity is fairly easy. Team members must work together when manoeuvring the plank between the tyre platforms.
6. WILD WOOZY
Two individuals try and support each other while traversing the length of two diverging cables.
Only two people at a time on the cables. (One on each side.)
Effort is required from both parties to ensure success. Adding elements of difference - height, weight, sex, likes and dislikes - and you have a true balancing act.
Stopping and dismounting will require a co-ordinated effort.
Two spotters, one on each side, directly behind each person on cable would be a good idea.
7. TEETER TOTTER
To balance the team on top of the log for ten seconds without the team or the log touching the ground.
If the log touches the ground at either end the event must re-start, that is everyone off the log and start again.
Team members are allowed to start at one end only and work their way along the log for balancing.
When done properly, this activity is harder than it looks. For some teams an easier variation includes starting at both ends.
H & S MANUAL - 7 - SAFETY SHEETS - PAGE 12
8. TELEGRAPH SHUFFLE
To move the team from one end of the telegraph line to the other without touching the ground, using only the poles, cable and each other.
Team members must walk along the cable without touching the ground.
Team members must use their team mates to form a human chain from pole to pole.
If a team member steps/falls off the cable and touches the ground then the whole team must start again.
As the team works its way a long the cable, the poles get further and further apart making it more and more difficult to bridge the gap between poles.
It is safer and easier to complete this activity if all the team members face the same way.
Any non-participating members should be positioned as spotters should the participants fall backwards off the cable.
9. SLAVE CHAIN (simultaneous walk)
Using only the two planks with ropes attached, the team must get from one end of the oxidation pond to the other along the bank, as quickly and efficiently as possible, without touching the ground with any part of their body.
If someone falls off the plank, add a 30 second time penalty for each person who falls off to the total time.
For some groups this activity will be fairly easy.
Manoeuvring the planks around or over an obstacle can add a different dimension to the activity.
H & S MANUAL - 7 - SAFETY SHEETS - PAGE 14
10. ELECTRIC FENCE
The team must exit an area delimited by an “electric fence” that is shoulder height, using only a single 2 metre long plank that is provided.
The exercise starts with all team members located inside the electric fence (a triangle) and is completed when all members are outside the area delimited by the electric fence.
Team members can only go over the fence, not through or under it.
No team member, their clothing, or the plank can touch the electric fence.
The only prop allowed is the given plank. The poles holding up the electric fence are not to be used in any way.
Watch that the electric fence (stretchy rope) is not pulled back and let go. It stretches quite a way and can rebound and catch others unawares.
Getting the last team member out will be the hardest. A “crane” technique is often the best, using the plank as a boom.
It is pretty near impossible to “jump” out unaided. It is not advised.
Those less suited to this activity should be encouraged to participate, as in the middle of the activity - with the leaders help - they can be relatively easily assisted over.
11. HOLE IN ONE
To move a team from one side of a suspended truck tyre to the other, going through the tyre without touching it.
The whole team starts on one side of the tyre.
Once a team member has successfully passed through the tyre that member must stay on that side.
If the tyre is touched as a person goes through, then that person must start again.
Team members are not to dive through the tyre. It is nearly impossible and can be very dangerous.
Allow the team to regulate their own rules in conjunction with those above. Providing they apply the rules realistically they will provide their own level of challenge.
The first and last persons through will be the hardest. Make sure the team appreciates this.
12. TP (telephone pole) SHUFFLE
The idea is to split the team in half and have each half team pass each other on a telephone pole suspended above the ground.
Split the team in half and have each half team go to each end of the telephone pole.
To finish each half team must get to the opposite end of the pole that they started from.
There are two ways this can be achieved:
1 say go and one team lets the other cross first, and then the second team crosses. This may seem an obvious solution, but it doesn’t always occur. If it does, congratulate the teams, then restart the problem as below.
2 each team simultaneously crosses the pole. This will involve a complicated process of “passing” between teams going in opposing directions. It will force teams to work together.
Some team members may not be too fussed about walking across the pole and even less impressed with having to “pass” others on it.
“Passing” requires a fair bit of co-ordination and co-operating.
TEAM INITIATIVE COURSE
13. HOLELY DRUM
To fill the drum with as much water as possible.
Teams may only use the 20 litre bucket provided to fill the drum.
Basically any technique is allowable.
Dirt doesn’t really work that well. As the drum fills up the pressure of water forces it out.
A bucket brigade proves to be too slow to keep up with the water loss from the drum.
The best technique is for one person to fill the drum while the other team members block holes with their fingers, noses, toes etc.
This is quite a task for some age groups. Teenagers cope OK. It may be better to place a time limit of say 3 - 5 minutes and see how the full the drum is in that time.
When the drum is fairly full, the water pressure on the lower holes makes just keeping up with the leakage quite a job.
TEAM INITIATIVE COURSE
14. ALL ABOARD
To get as many people as possible on the given platform at one time.
Team members must have both feet off the ground in order to be counted.
Team members must be able to hold their balanced pose for at least five seconds.
Generally a group of five to eight children can do this activity with little or no difficulty.
With adults this activity becomes more of a challenge and a lot of fun if everyone gets involved enthusiastically.
Spotters need to be in positions so as to catch anyone should they fall while doing this activity.
TEAM INITIATIVE COURSE
15. THE WALL
To transport a team over a 5 metre wall in a safe and efficient manner.
No more than four persons are allowed on the wall at any one time, including the person in transit.
The sides and poles of the wall can not be used in any way. The “ideal” wall is a perfectly flat surface with no sides.
After a person has ascended the front of the wall and descended the back, that person can not come back to the front of the wall and offer physical aid. However, anyone not physically involved in helping people over the wall should be in a spotting position, front and back.
The most common fall experienced while ascending the wall is the climber sliding sideways before he/she has made hand contact with a person on top of the wall.
The actual transition over the top can be a little unnerving if the helpers are too enthusiastic.
You need a good leader to oversee The Wall. Choose a leader with good physical strength, sufficient to boost a climber whose weight may exceed the capabilities of the team, and also one who has the ability to step in and assist in situations where the climber is not happy with the situation.