Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What do teamwork, dorm dinner, obstacle courses, rain, and chicken have in common???

Answer: They have all been the topic of conversations here for the past 2 days.

Yes, our new course has started. This class, Effective Teams & Team Leaders, is designed to teach us teamwork and how to have effective teams as well as how to be effective leaders within the teams we are on. This course will go for the next 2 weeks. Our primary instructor for this course is highly energetic and likes to talk. This course should be interesting.

Dorm dinner- This is something that we have been doing since week 1. Each week, a person in our dorm building takes turns cooking for all of us. Each of us, when it is our turn to cook, gets to choose the menu for the evening and cooks the entire meal for the dorm. For each week, the person cooking has cooked food from the country in which they are moving to.
  • Week 1- Mexico
  • Week 2- Uganda
  • Week 3- Sadly, no dorm dinner
  • Week 4- Venezuela (Guess who cooked this week!)
  • Week 5- Cameroon
  • Week 6- Tajikistan
  • Week 7- This was yesterday.

Dwayne was cooking for us, but he wasn't going to be able to cook food from the country he is going to (sorry, can't tell you where). So instead, he decided to do good 'ole American food- STEAK!! We had steaks, grilled chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and bread. It tasted great!

Today, a group of people came from Georgia to do a team building workshop with us. This group is from an organization called The Winshape Wilderness. They do different physical and mental activities in order to help build team relations and allow us to think through and discuss different things we learned from the activities. They ran us through different obstacle courses and activities. This was supposed to be done outside today, but due to the fact that something was scheduled for outdoors, it rained all day long (keep in mind, it has only rained 4 times now since I have been here, and I came here on Labor Day). This was quite an interesting day as we split into groups and worked through various activities including the following:

  • Insania- the object of this activity was to get all the balls from the center hoop into your hoop. Sounds easy, but there were 4 different groups trying to do the same thing. You were only allowed to move one ball at a time. Once all of the balls were out of the center hoop, you were allowed to steal from other groups hoops and you were not allowed to guard your own hoop. After several minutes of worthless trying, the groups decided to work together and put all of the balls into all of the hoops by overlapping the hoops. (We are such geniuses).
  • OUT- The goal of this activity was to have everyone start inside a box and get out of the box by having one person go Over the top, one go Under the middle wire, and one go Through the middle, all without touching any part of the box or wire. This proved more difficult than it sounds and required a lot of teamwork.

  • The mute leading the blind- This activity took us outdoors (after the rain stopped for a bit) where we were grouped in pairs. One person was blindfolded and was lead around by the other person who was not allowed to talk. This was a trust building exercise. If you couldn't trust the person leading you to not let you fall in a ditch, then you weren't going to get very far.

  • Hear no, speak no, see no evil- This activity had us paired in 3s. One person was the director and they could see everything but could not talk. One person was the speaker. They could see only the director but were the voice for the director. The third person was the retriever. This person was blind folded and had to find an object based on the directions from the director, which were spoken by the speaker. This was an activity in improving communication. When communication was not good, it was really hard to complete a task, like finding the stuffed monkey.

  • Magic stones- For this activity, our group was stranded on an "island" in which we needed to cross over to shore on "magic stones" which could float on the water. However, we needed to have one foot on the stones at all time or they would float away. We had to get all 9 people to shore 30 feet away with only 8 stones. This was definitely a teamwork activity. We did make it to shore and didn't lose anyone to the "killer hippos" that were floating in the "water" around us.

We also did some other activities which involved building team skills, leadership, communication, patience, encouragement, mental reasoning, and trust. It was good to get out of the classroom for a day and have some fun.

This organization was founded and is sponsored by Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is actually Christian owned and 10% of the profits made from the restaurants goes to supporting Christian organizations. With this in mind, a group of us decided to go support them and went to dinner at Chick-fil-A tonight. :-)

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