Team Building Exercise (Norwegian day)

Week 2: Team Building Exercises

Week 2 in Kristiansand, Norway, and this day consisted of a variety team building exercises in Jegersberg which was coordinates by the Norwegian students. Prior to this day, I had a lot of time to reflect and prepare from our previous hike. Things such as taking more time to organise my bag the night before to ensure I have the correct equipment to take part in the day to day activities: items such as a tarp, rope and a knife. Reflecting on the process of creating a fire to allow me to be more efficient when collecting the correct items to start it; and to be more positive in my approach to allow me to fully engage in the daily activities that the Norwegians had to offer.

Further-more, before leaving the University in the morning we were split up into groups of roughly 5 people, where each group included two Norwegian students to help coordinate and offer their expertise when it came to completing the tasks. After a 10 minute walk we were asked to stop and we were given our first group task of the day. This was a very challenging task and it involved having to carry the heaviest team member all the way up to the finish point using the items which we were asked to provide (tarp, rope). This allowed us to use our initiative, gaining points for creativity and who could get to the top first. Each group were given 20 minutes to create a platform strong enough to withstand a fellow peer; and we started off by locating natural terrain; two large, strong branches to use as the base for our stretcher. Locating these items proved difficult as other team members had equipment to chop thick branches off and use them, but eventually we were able to locate an axe where our Norwegian peers were able to chop up sustainable branches to use for our base. Then we folded the tarp in half and tied it together with some rope, followed up with threading the two big branches through the middle of the tarp to allow two people at each end to hold it. This really tested the groups mental and physically ability, having to carry this individual as though he was in a critical condition. At first we were carrying our peer laying the branch on our arms which proved uncomfortable, but then eventually we found it more productive to use our shoulders as this allowed us to carry them for a longer period of time. We finally made it to the top but came fourth, this task proved how important team work is and how you react as a team in critical situations and this really helped me think quicker on my feet, which is an important skill to have when unexpected challenges occurs.

Once we made it to the meeting point we set up camp were we eventually participated in the remainder of group tasks. The second group task that was to boil an egg over a fire which we had to start from scratch and the first team to deliver the egg boiled won the task. We firstly had to gather up the correct equipment to start the fire with. Each individual was given something to do, so there were no signs of social loafing and from reflecting on my previous experience observing the creation of a fire, I felt confident when contributing. I started off by using my knife to carve thin pieces of bark of the tree, but the technique I was using and the angle which I was approaching the bark was incorrect. A Norwegian student acknowledged this inconsistency and showed me a more logical way of doing this which meant I was able to cut larger pieces of bark off which saved more time (This technique was later recognised during the week by my tutor). I also collected fire wood, which unfortunately was too damp to put on the fire, but my Norwegian peer transferred an important point which other students took into consideration also. This point was to look at the direction where the sun was shinning in order to locate dry pieces of fire wood, which is something I would have never thought off but I will reflect on and take it into consideration when creating fires in the future. Once the rocks had been placed on the ground surrounding base of the fire and little twigs had been formed, we ignited the bark separately then placed it on the fire and constantly provided the fire with more firewood to maintain the flames. Fortunately, our Norwegian peer provided us with a pot to boil the water in which meant the egg had more room to boil in. This task was all about timing and how we worked as a team in order to process the fire and time the egg once the water started to boil. Eventually after time we delivered our egg which happened to be perfectly boiled but we came second, but the reaction which our team gave shows how hard and well we worked as a group, improving group cohesion.

The next group dynamic activities which we participated in involved learning a short Norwegian song which we had to perform to the rest of the group at the end. This was a fun task we took part in, which not only helped us understand a little more about the Norwegian tradition but allowed a lot of people to express their humour when performing this song as a group. Which was viewed as another ice-breaker, as everybody was laughing a joking about it on the way home, allowing everybody to feel more comfortable and relaxed. Other games consisted of a look and remember game, where so many items were showed and we had to try and remember as many as possible. Secondly, enriching our knowledge of natural terrain by finding as many things natural from A-Z in the forest within a certain time scale. Finally, the last game we participated in was really physical as it involved running back and forth with large rocks and building towers. This had to be done within a certain time and really tested everyone’s ability physically and mentally.

In conclusion, I can reflect on a lot of things that occurred on this day. The information and positive feedback can be utilised and reflected on to improve my ability in the outdoor field on the next group outing. This trip was fun and enjoyable where I can take plenty of positives from it; and I look forward to our next trip which involves map, compass work and navigation and which can hopefully improve my knowledge further for future trips.