Trust and Communication-December 2017 Workshop

This month, we collaborated with Camp Long in West Seattle, to learn about trust and communication, and a bit about ourselves, by going through a low ropes course. Our mentors and students, started out the morning a bit nervous about what they were getting into. The morning started out by playing with some phantom cards. Everyone had to pick up different cards, and perform the task on them. Some tasks included getting a certain amount of high 5’s, yelling until someone said stop, and running in place. Some of these activities had people uncomfortable, and performing them, made our participants step out of their comfort zones.2017-12-09 11.08.37

After this first activity, which got everyone moving, and laughing, we learned about what everyone’s hopes were for the day. Claudia wanted to make sure there were no strangers by the end, Tommy wanted to have fun with everyone, and Mike wanted to trust each other more. Our leaders then informed everyone, that the plan this morning, was to learn more about each other through play, to do your best, and to complete challenges and learn things about each other, and to trust each other.

To make sure that everyone is aware of their own stress and anxieties, and also aware of how others are feeling, the participants had to stand inside a different colored circle. If they were standing in the green circle, they are comfortable, while standing in the yellow gives a little anxiety, and the red circle is the scary danger zone. Our group leaders asked a multitude of questions and had the participants stand in the different zones.

At the end of this activity, every shared what surprised them, and was more aware of how just because they feel one way, doesn’t mean everyone else does too.2017-12-09 12.03.28

Our next activity, was a stress inducing one. Tommy volunteered, and ended up being blind folded. The rest of the group had to take turns guiding him with 1 step vocal instructions to find a treasure, and then get back to a picnic bench and sit down. The group worked hard, and got Tommy to the treasure and his seat. Afterwards, the group discussed what helped Tommy trust the group. Tommy said that when his mentor Mike was the first to give him a step that helped ease his fear, and that all the orders given to him were easy to follow, and the more orders he received that did not put him in danger, helped him trust the group more. From this activity, the group learned that the that the way you do things and say things can lead people to either trust, or not trust you.2017-12-09 12.52.44

The group then learned about the struggle of juggling life. They came upon a giant teeter totter, and had to get everyone on the teeter totter. Once everyone was on, they had to get everyone to the edges of the board, while keeping the board level. The first time the board tapped the ground, our group leader took away the voice of mentors. Now it was up the students to step up, become leaders, and work together to keep the board level. Once they completed this task, their next task to get everyone off the teeter totter, again, without tapping the ground.

Our last activity of the day involved, an imaginary river, and some logs. The group was split between females and mentors, and everyone was given 3 logs. They had to use the logs across some boulders to get to the other side. Through this activity, they had to use their strength, their decision making, and work together to get everyone across.

At the end of the day, everyone learned that to be a leader you have to step up, throw out an idea and a plan. Then someone else has to step up and lead the group to execute the plan. It is not all about one person, but instead a group of leaders who know when to lead, how to lead, and when to follow. It was a great worksh2017-12-09 13.40.13op, and hopefully, everyone can keep what they learned today, with them throughout the year.

On December 16th 2017, we hosted our first annual Mentor, Participant and Family Potluck. I, along with the rest of the board of directors want to thank everyone who attended. I had a blast getting to spend time with all the students, families, and mentors in a casual manner. We had a good turnout, with about half the participants and their families attending. Again, thank you for attending, and if you had any feedback about this event, please let me know so we can make this event better in the future.