It feels like everyday there is a new adventure park or ropes course popping up that promises a great team building experience. These parks advertise an adrenaline rush and high thrills. Entertaining and fun? Yes. Providing your team with lessons on how to improve relationships and workplace performance? Not so much. While these experiences undoubtedly provide your team with an afternoon of fun and excitement, they are not designed to meet your team’s specific goals. All of these companies advertise themselves to be “customized team building experiences” but before you take the claims of these parks at face value, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
At these adventure courses, the staff are not likely trained facilitators, they are trained to be “safety monitors”. Their priority lies in ensuring groups are obeying safety guidelines and that the proper procedures are followed. They are not trained or focused on providing a memorable, reflective and valuable team building experience that will purposefully transform your team.
In an Adventure Park and most traditional ropes courses at camps, participants file through obstacles one behind the other. This design focuses much more on the individual’s experience rather than promoting working as a group to overcome fears, obstacles, or challenges. Without empathy or support that comes from moving through the obstacles as a team (the way our TeamQuest course is designed), you lose the opportunity to strengthen relationships and develop a greater sense of trust. Those struggling through the course may even feel impatient or isolated resulting in a “survivor” mentality which is not much of a team building experience. These courses are more focused on through-put than they are on creating a meaningful experience for the people participating.
When looking at the description for these parks, there are a few identifying traits that indicate they are not designed as team building experiences focused on learning and outcomes. Some of these identifiers would be:
- Great for all ages and abilities
- Promises an adrenaline rush like no other
- Opportunity for a thrill
- Create your own adventure
If you are looking for an experience that is truly focused on providing long-term learning and outcomes, you’ll want to look for a program that is customized to your specific group and its challenges, not necessarily for the masses. Expect a well-honed in-take process where you talk with a facilitator prior to the program- it’s these conversations that will create the most impactful experience for your group! I’m not implying that it is impossible to have a personal breakthrough or self-revelation when participating in one of these programs, for that would be a welcomed achievement! I simply believe that the occurrence is left to chance, rather than being the ultimate goal. At these adventure parks the focus will always be on fun, rather than on learning. At Signature Teambuilding, our programs are specifically designed with your teams’ goals in mind. We focus on the changes you wish to see, the values you want to emphasize, and the outcomes you’ve been waiting for. Don’t confuse a day at the adventure park as a meaningful, transformational team building experience for your employees. If you are looking for a fun and exciting afternoon than it will likely fit the bill! But if you’re searching for lasting change within your organization, put your trust in our programs at Signature Teambuilding.