Ropes course teaches teamwork, trust

Physical challenge courses have been used for years to develop camaraderie, build team spirit and promote acceptance and trust within work groups and among fellow employees. They are developed to demonstrate that working together to solve problems has benefits, and working alone doesn’t always get you to the right solution.

I have personally experienced different sorts of challenge courses over the years. Some were not aimed at group participation. They challenged you on a more personal level; such as canopy tours or “zip lines” through the jungles of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. These sorts of adventure challenge courses tap into your personal core belief that “this could kill me if something goes wrong… but I have the guts to do it anyway!”

Low-impact ropes courses for team building don’t instill the sense of fear and danger in participants, at least not at a level where you begin to question whether you will survive. But they do challenge you to rely on others to complete a circuit or a particular physical challenge.

One such teambuilding ropes course challenge has been designed and installed at the Villas at Apoyo, a nature-friendly hotel on the pristine shores of the Laguna de Apoyo, only 25 minutes from Granada and about 45 minutes from Managua.

This low-impact ropes course keeps you on the ground (for the most part), but challenges you to complete a series of tasks that you definitely cannot complete by yourself. You must use and rely on team members to exercise their problem-solving skills as well as extending a few arms and legs to complete one challenge to go onto the next.

The groups, sometimes as many as 50 or as few as 5-7, can navigate the course one obstacle at a time to complete the five stations or five obstacles in front of them. It takes a little coordination, a little self awareness of your physical abilities and a great amount of reliance on your team members.

Trust Fall

Did I mention trust? Let’s talk about one of the easiest-looking challenges, but one that has proven to be the most difficult from a trust point of view: The Trust Fall

This is exactly what it sounds like. Trust… then fall! A team member climbs up on a small platform about 5 feet off the ground. He or she faces away from the group, which stands below the elevated team member with interlocked hands, waiting to catch their fall. Sounds easy? Looks easy too. But you would be surprised the amount of “trust” you need to muster before you let yourself go into the arms of your fellow team members.

The other four stations challenge you to think as a team in many ways. One swinging rope challenge demonstrates the need to work as a team to cross an imaginary ravine with an imaginary 100 foot drop into a roaring river with rocks and cliffs just waiting to destroy you. 

Another challenge is walking a tight rope that is too long to cross without the support of at least one other team member to get over an imaginary pit of hungry crocodiles waiting to chomp you in half.

The goal for each challenge is to work together to allow the “survival” of the group by working as a team. Participants gradually expand their comfort zones (sometimes dramatically) and recognize fears that may block personal and professional achievement. Each challenge draws upon team members to actively support one another.

The discussion following each challenge differs in length and depth depending on the group’s goals for the day. Some find a high-five and a quick acknowledgment of successes sufficient before moving on. Other teams take the time to connect the group process skills and team dynamics back to the work environment relationships.

All this in the safety of a world-class nature reserve, with no crocs or rushing rivers, but on the shores of a crater lake, The Laguna de Apoyo, at the Villas at Apoyo—a hotel nestled in the valley of this beautiful lagoon.

Whether you are a school, a church, a business or just a group of friends wanting to share a team building experience, this ropes course is great fun and provides a basis of sharing an experience you can take back to the office or back into the real world.

If you are interested in using the Team building Course, you can call 2552-8200 in Granada to set up a time that you and your group of 7-50 can visit the hotel and share in a team building experience. The cost is $5 per person and includes two guides to help you through the experience. The guides kick up the excitement and up the adrenaline to insure that you don’t fall into the crocodile pit or that your team members don’t take a water break while you are… trusting and falling! If you schedule a night’s stay for your group for a meeting or seminar, the course and course guides are free. You can check out the Team Building, Low Impact Ropes Course on line at: thevillasatapoyo.com

  • martin

    I’m really glad to see this kind of team building activity being offered in NIcaragua. I’ve often wondered if Nicaragua management (hierarchical and authoritative) is ready for team building and other kinds of organization development interventions that place a high value on collaboration, coaching and trust vs. power & fear… sounds like it may be.

  • Tom Yeaman

    As an older “boomer” who taught team building for major banks and
    non-profit boards, and as one who loves all of the incredible opportunities offered by the Challenge Course at the Villas de Apoyo in the nature reserve on the beautiful Apoyo crater lake, I definitely encourage businesses, organizations, church groups, and even just familites and groups of friends celebrating birthdays and special events to experience these team-building exercises at conferences or just during a daily or overnight outing there…while enjoying all of the sights and sounds of the laguna, Howler Monkeys, and exquisit birds and flowers. You will gain a better sense of self, increase your skills in wroking with others, and expand the limits of what you thought possible to achieve in your life.

    • http://opwr.org Indio Jones

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