Do you know an activity which takes some time, is outdoors and related to teambuilding?
I was asked this question and I came up with the project of building a rope bridge. All what is needed is a good place with two stable trees, optional a stream or ditch in between the trees and climbing material. Metsäkartano is beautiful located in the middle of the forest, surrounded by the lake Ylä-Keyritty, so it is easy to find places to build a rope bridge. Chosen for the project was a small stream with a bridge nearby to prevent an easier way to work on both sides without getting wet.
The whole project includes four challenges. The first challenge is about reaching the place; biking, hiking, skiing or canoeing were our possibilities. The first task was managed; the second was just waiting around the corner. I dont speak Finnish so all the instructions were given in English. The third challenge contained the actual activity of building the bridge. During the building the group worked in two teams, one on each side. The youngsters realized quickly that they have to communicate within their own team and with the other team to realize the project. As guide I gave a hand if it was needed, showed how to make the knots, encouraged the youngsters to trust them self and to get started. After the last knot was fixed, the fourth and maybe the most thrilling challenge waited.
After the safety check the youngsters had the possibility to cross the bridge they made. Even everyone is secured with harness and helmet during the activity – it was a challenge and test of courage for each of them. But with the support of the group, friends and trust, everyone managed to cross the bridge. The natural surrounding provided a calm atmosphere. In the end of the day everyone was happy because the youngsters created something together which was safe to bear the whole group and everyone was needed with his own skills to realize the project.
After the first success, I did this activity with other groups and even when it was the same activity it was always different. Either attitude of the group was different or the weather influenced the activity. I missed the time and chance to discuss and reflect the experiences the youngsters made during the activity to follow up their learning process. I could identify a gap between the activities itself and the pedagogical purpose, so Im questioning if the schedule of the stay is too tied in order to evaluate and reflect the experiences. I myself learned a lot in guiding those groups in terms of the ability to adjust my instructions and to support the youngsters individually. Im really pleased that the Metsäkartano staff gives me the chances to develop my skills and provides a good learning environment.
Sissy Heiber was intern in Metsäkartano youth centre from Germany. She came to Metsäkartano over Erasmus+ program.