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From different people (us included) we heard a need for more
- physical touching (A)
- feeling safety in one big group (B) (and not only in the sub-groups)
- challenge (C)


A Warming up = Texas Big Foot

Everyone is a big circle, holding hands.  In 3 steps the whole group must come as close as possible.


B Trust circle

Everyone in a circle, elbows locked together.  Count to three, and on three everyone must lean forwards and then back.

C The rope circle

Everyone is standing in a circle with their backs to the middle.  Everyone stands with the elbows next to their sides.  Hands are closed.  On the arms there will be hanging two ropes.  One after the other, the participants have to walk over the rope (blindfolded).  Safety (spotting) will be assured by the participants themselves.

It is a very physical activity, because the one who is walking over the ropes must seek support from the others in the circle.

Afterwards there will be a little marriage in the circle.  Enjoying the physical touching and be aware of it.  [sensation]

2 ropes
1 blindfold


One by one, expressing with the body how and what you felt, (for example, little and near the ground, or high and open).

Open questions: who wants to tell anything about what they felt.  [awareness]


What are you going to do with these feelings for the rest of the camp?  [responsibility/choice]


Everyone told what she felt at this moment in the group and where she thought there were needs.
We made a list of 3 needs and thought of activities that addressed these needs.
Then we made a selection and an order of activities.
We discussed what was important, what was necessary for briefing, warming-up and debriefing.
We discussed the set up of the main activity and then divided the tasks: who will present what (everyone had the chance to say what she would or would not like to present).
We checked the materials.

This is the report of how our activity worked, based upon the feedback we received from the rest of the group.

1 Warming-up exercises

- positive:  surprising - good introduction to main activity
- less positive: we had stated what we wanted to attain with our activities (needs and  goals) and this was perceived as pressure and caused some resistance.

2 Main activity

- we didn't have the perfect material for this activity, so we had to spend some time setting it all aup (winding rope around the circle).  This slowed the activity down, took the tension away a bit.

- Because we didn't have that much time, we as instructors set the activity up ourselves, thereby putting the participants in a passive role.  Given more time, it would make the activity even more powerful if we could just give the group the idea of the task, and let them figure how to set it up.

- Though there was some frustration in the beginning having to find out the best way to move across the ropes, the group learned pretty quickly and went around a lot smoother than we had thought.  It was interesting to see how one person who's usually in an independent/leadership position had more difficulty with the exercise because he didn't lean on other people that easily.

- time pressure again: we had made a time planning ahead, so at a certain moment we told the group to stop the activity and move on to reflection.  Looking back on it, it would probably have taken five minutes more to let everyone go round (only two people didn't go).  This was something that had to be decided on the spot, and for which there wasn't really much possibility to consult each other as instructors.  (Oh well, there's worse things in life).

- Now the ultimate question: did the activity indeed serve the purpose it was intended to?  It seems that in general the answer is positive:
challenge: people did feel stretched (not only figuratively speaking)
cooperation: people had the feeling that even when the "climber" was at the other side of the circle, they could help the others to carry the strain by leaning out as far as possible.
physical contact: you should have see it when the "climbers" reached the end of the circle, and came back to the person where they had climbed on the rope - they were so happy that they started hugging and kissing.... (all in all though, no limits of decency were transgressed!)

3 Debrief/reflection

- in order to relieve the strain on arms and shoulders, we gave a round of shoulder massage.  This was received with sighs of enjoyment and extasis.

- we asked people to close their eyes, focus on how they felt in their body, and then to express this by means of a certain body position.  People were also asked to tell why they had chosen this position.  This was experienced as a powerful means of reflection, quite deep and meaningful.

- lastly we did a round of "what are you taking from this?"  (why? because there were three instructors and we wanted to give each of us an equal position of debriefing experience....?)  People said it was too easy to reflect on this, that it took away the intensity of the previous reflection moment, that it was boring and that...... (no, it wasn't that bad).

All in all, it was received as an activity with great potential and we all felt good about it.

© Vita, Anne and Hilde

Keep the Roof on fire!