Props: Just Your Group
Focus: Cooperation / Trust
International Geographic was so impressed by your Hoot pictures (if you’ve done that activity before this one) that they actually felt sorry that the check they gave you bounced. They decide to send you on another mission to photograph the Junior Ornithological Knowledge Expo (henceforth referred to as JOKE). It seems a simple enough assignment and, since each of you owes $300.00 for your yearly subscription to International Geographic, you have little choice. You book bus tickets to Walla-Walla, Washington and arrive on the scene. Shortly after you enter, you are abducted by 200 looney 12-year-olds (Looney! Get it? It’s a joke!) who drag you to the center of the Expo Center and force you to participate in the Infamous JOKE Newcomer Initiation Ritual. A grueling display of mindless insanity which defies classification and is.. , who cares, it’s what you get paid for! You must imitate the welcoming strut of the Web-footed, Non-beaked, Golden Greeble (Latin classification: Imadeus thisupus). What this bird does, upon greeting a fellow… (Forget it! I am not going to spell that name out again!).., is that they place their wings upon the ground, place their feet together, and lift their bodies off the ground by pushing against the others feet.
In plain English, what this means is that you must divide up into groups of two, sit on the ground, put the soles of your shoes together (solemates!) and lift your bodies off the ground by pushing on each other. Only your arms will touch the ground! (You must really depend upon each other to keep your derriere off the ground.) Then you must try to take at least one step. (For fun, if you have a really athletic group, have them go for a walk like this.) If your whole group can lift their posteriors off the ground for a few seconds (adjust time for each groups abilities), they have passed, and will be able to continue on their photographic assignment, if not… (Let’s not dwell on that possibility!)
Variations: Try having them do it in groups of 3, 4, etc.. This is an excellent warm-up activity, and where trust is not a strong requirement. It will also help you to see how the group reacts to a basic problem will help to instill the group with a sense of the ridiculous. It acts as an icebreaker in a non-threatening activity and will help you to decide where next to go with your group.
Cooperation. It takes a lot of work to lift your bod off the ground by pushing on someone else’s feet. It takes even more to take a step! This is more or less for fun, though. Enjoy!
This can be a “Welcome to Low Ropes” activity, and shouldn’t be heavily stressed as something critical for the group. After this activity would be a good time to discuss the difference between tasks and goals, and to discuss the nature of teamwork. This is an intro activity and shouldn’t be heavily processed.
Beware of people “going the extra mile”. If this is used as an introductory activity, don’t let people kill themselves in the attempt! Also, make sure the ground is clean, with no sharp, pointy things which could hurt someone!