The Swamp

The Swamp:

Props: Green Course

A.L.: 4

D.L.: 2

Focus: Cooperation

Credit: Kimball Camp YMCA

Draw two marks upon the ground, spaced at least ten feet apart. (For more athletic groups. space them at least 20 feet apart.) While out on assignment for International Geographic, you, are sent deep within the heart of the Amazon Jungle, far, far away from humanity. (And a decent meal..) ‘While exploring in the forbidden part of the forest, you come across a den of wild, rabid mongooses. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing; the fact that they have seen you, is… They take off after your band. You dodge, you twist, you shimmey, you shake and, although you would have won any dance contest in America, it’s no use; the wild, rabid mongooses are gaining on you. Then, when it looks the most bleak, there is a ray of hope: ahead of you is a toxic, peanut butter swamp. Since you have spent a great deal of time researching herds of wild, rabid mongooses before you left, you realize that this is your salvation, for no wild, rabid mongoose would dare chase you across a toxic, peanut butter swamp! Now all you have to do is figure out how to get yourself and your group across without touching the peanut butter. (The slogan for the National Toxic Peanut Butter Swamp Council: Remember, it’s not just icky, it’s sticky!) However, luck seems to be with you. There, before you, are toxic, peanut butter swamp-crossers (tires) which, if your group can stand on them will enable them to get safely across.

The Rules:

1. The entire group must cross the swamp. No heroic self-sacrifices.

2. Once someone begins to go across, they must continue going forward. No return trips allowed!

3. The tires are the only things which are peanut butter-proof! (That, and the clothes of the facilitator, or course.) Nothing else may be used. This includes sticks, etc..

4. Tires cannot be thrown or rolled. They can only be passed.

5. If a tire is placed out of reach of the group, they must find a way to retrieve it. However, if it is lost behind the group, they cannot go back for it!

6. If someone touches the swamp, guess what! The entire group starts over! If you are feeling really nice, however, you can allow them to continue with only a minor penalty: whatever limb touched the swamp is no longer useable by that person and the group must help them through. If the limb was the head, you obviously cannot take their head away. Instead, you can blindfold them make them mute, etc..



Cooperation. It takes a lot of work to hang onto each other while standing on just two tires! (Remember, they have to be passing the third one, which means they only have two to stand on!) If you have a larger group, 20+, you may add another tire, though it is possible to balance 20 people on two tires. Otherwise, this is very similar to “All Aboard” except that you have to move. :)


What was the most difficult part of this exercise? Were the original solutions realistic? Why or why not? Could this have been done on only two tires? Why or why not? Would it help if you were allowed to use sticks or any other materials? Was there something you could have used? (ie. clothes?) How would that have helped?

Spotting Concerns:

Watch people jumping into the group on a tire. This is very dangerous as they are entering a tightly- packed group. Moves should be done slowly, deliberately. This reinforces the MD 2 rule. (“Manic Dash – Many Damaged”) Make sure all sticks and twigs are removed prior to starting. Watch for slick conditions due to rain!