Meat Grinder

The Meat Grinder:

Props: Yellow Course

A.L.: 3

D.L.: 4

Focus: Cooperation

Credit: Kimball Camp YMCA

Since International Geographic has failed to pay you for the last twelve expeditions they have sent you on, you decide to leave field research/photography and go to work at a place where your skills, wisdom and talents will serve you well: a meat-packing plant. You are stuck on fourteen-hour, graveyard shifts, and end up working most holidays, but hey! It almost pays all of the debts you’ve acquired in the past few years. Anyhow, the weekend is approaching, and coincidentally, it’s the International Processed Meat-Chunk holiday, one strictly observed by the owner of the plant. The plant is to be shut down Friday at midnight, and will be closed until Monday noon, in accordance with the Meat-Chunk holiday traditions. Unfortunately, nobody tells you. Midnight comes, the power is shut down, all doors automatically locked and the place is suddenly deserted. Well, almost… You see, your group is still trapped inside. Ordinarily, you would simply wait. There is plenty of raw hamburger for you to snack on, so you wouldn’t starve, but there is a slight problem: the plant is refrigerated. You will all be icicles long before Monday comes.

You search around, trying to find some way out. However, all of the doors on your level were automatically locked. You could break a window, but unfortunately, this is a high-security meat-packing plant, and all of the windows have bars on them. You’re trapped. There’s no way out! Well, that’s not necessarily true, but nobody would be foolish enough to try that. Nobody! It’s insanity! You couldn’t possibly…

“Okay,” you decide! “We’ll try anything!” You people are so brave.

The only possible solution is to climb through the meat grinder. This will drop you down to the basement and there is a backdoor which will allow you to escape. There is a problem, though. It’s a meat grinder! (Duh!) It’s got all sorts of nasty, pointy sharp things on it! Unsafe! Both inside and out!

What You Need To Know:

1. All participants must go over the Meat Grinder. Not around. Not under. Not through.

2. All participants must land feet first on the other side, except for the final person.

3. All participants, not going over, must be involved in spotting! (You can never have too many!)

4. Safe and unsafe surfaces: Your group may touch any surface area which is facing then? These include the center of the wheel and the outside boundaries. (See drawing.) The inside and the outside of the wheel (Any “vertical” surfaces when viewed from the front) are covered with nasty razor blades which will immediately slice any flesh to ribbons. People attempting to cross the Meat Grinder may not touch anything but designated safe areas. If the “blades” are touched, then the group must start over. If you really feel like being cruel, you can make the participant who touched the blades lose that part of their body for the next crossing.

5. No one going across can come back around and lift. They cannot reach under to support, either.

6. The last person cannot “jump” the meat grinder. (They will smack their chest on the wheel, their feet will slip under, and they will come crashing down to the ground on their back!)


Cooperation. This will take a high degree of teamwork, especially when it comes down to the last person getting over. There is a fair degree of communication, too, since they will need to discuss the order and the plan for the final person.


Since this is a good “introductory” large-scale activity, begin doing the serious processing here. Use the “Scale of 1-to-10” method and sit the group down for questions and answers. Process at least five to ten minutes before moving on.

Spotting Concerns:

Beware of attempted leaps over the ‘Grinder. Watch for sticks and twigs. Make sure people are being helped off the Meat Grinder, not just spun over and dropped to the ground. Have spotters support gently to the ground! I make groups restart if anyone ever does a “hard impact”.