In the end of April, we had a project where we were organizer. We travelled to Vennesla by bus and spent five days at the local camping place in Paulen. We made camp in the forest and started to organize different activities on Monday morning. This project was about an overnight outdoor trip for students from Tangen High School. The program itself took an afternoon, a night and a morning per group.
Each group arrived at 1700 and they made camp. They had to do the half of the programs in the evening and then they could have slept. They finished the rest of the activities next morning. Usually the groups stayed at the camping place until midday.
From Monday to Friday there were four big groups with about 40-60 students each. Our task was to organize outdoor related activities, which were also team building games in small groups. The students were split in groups by their teacher. There were 4-8 people in each group.
We created 8 stations with different activities. The stations were the followings: shelter building, night line, feel the nature, fire lighting, orienteering, river crossing, jungle swing and slack line. Each activity took 25 minutes. We made 30-minute rotation so the students had to change their station in 5 minutes. We had an important rule about speaking. The Norwegians had to speak in English all the time. It caused a little problem for them so it was a big challenge.
Lilla, Zsófi and me were responsible for this activity. The group had to build a shelter from stuff we gave them and they found in the forest. Our strict rule was that they mustn’t have destroyed the nature. We collected them few logs, gave them ropes and a big tarp. They could have chosen the place where they wanted to build the shelter. During building they had to discuss everything in English. We gave them 20 minutes to complete the task. They could have got maximum 10 points. There were 5 different aspects and each aspect was maximum 2 points. The aspects were the followings: protection, stability, size, team work and time. At the first time we had the comfort aspect instead of team work. Finally, we changed it because some of the students were not really motivated so we wanted to encourage them. We expected that everybody in the group had to be involved and worked together. We noticed that smaller groups were more effective during building. For some of them it was difficult to communicate in English. The groups were more interested and motivated in the evening compared to the groups in the morning. Finally, the results were quite similar. Watching the building and discussing process was interesting. Some of the students started and came up with nice and smart ideas. Some of them were really puzzled in the beginning but finally had good ideas, too. We really appreciated the good mood and the members who liked the activity.
Maike, Johanna and Janna were responsible for this activity. The girls made a path among the trees bushes and rocks which was bordered by a line. The students worked in pairs. One of them was blind and the other had to give instruction to lead him/her through the line. They mustn’t have touched each other. When they felt a big knot on the rope they had to change the side. In the second round they had to use different signs (clap, sing a song, whistle etc.) and each sign meant a direction (up, down, left, right). They couldn’t have told words. On this station, the girls gave points for the time, creativity and team work.
Feel the nature
Linda, Sarah and Zoe were responsible for this station. In this activity the group had to walk through a path which was covered by different natural materials (logs, snow, water, leaves, moss, cones, stones, grass and roots). They were bare foot and had to walk blinded. They mustn’t have talked when they walked. At the end, they had to find out which materials they were walking on. They had to take them in the correct order. Finally, they had to make the biggest shoe-tower.
Laura and Will were responsible for this activity. The group had to make a fire with a sparking. They could have used all the things they collected from the forest. Sometimes it was really challenging since it was raining! Will and Laura stringed a thin rope above the fire and the aim was to cut the rope with the flames.
Marijn, Scott and Tom (UK) were responsible for this activity. This station was like treasure hunting. The guys had maps with 10 marks on it. They hid 10 pictures in the forest. The groups had to find as many as they could have with the maps.
Rob, Jed and Brad were responsible for this station. This activity was a real team building game. The whole group had to cross the „river”. They had two bridges and few stones (in real they were plastic sledges and boards). Only two people could have stood on one stone. When someone crossed a bridge, another person had to secure the end of the bridge. They got extra points if they acquired a bucket full of water. At the end, they had two stones where they couldn’t have used the bridges, but they had to catch a rope swing to cross the last part. According to most students, this activity was the most enjoyable.
Abby, Sam (USA) and Theresa were responsible for this activity. This was a simple task. There was a rope swing and a circle around on the ground. The task was to get over the circle without touching it. If someone made a mistake, the whole group had to try again. In the second round, one member had to be blind, and another member could have used only one hand. In the last round, they had to be as creative as possible during getting over the circle. Some of them did it upside down or used the tree. Some of them swung in pairs.
Aaron and Tom (AUS) were responsible for this activity. At this station, the groups had to balance on a rope stretched between two trees. There was an extra rope above, which they could have used as a hold. They had to do the task in pairs, and also with the whole group. This was quite challenging for the most of them.
Our coordinators were Frankie and Sam (AUS). They were responsible for timing and rotations. They had to explain the rules to the students when they arrived. And they also arranged the points, summarized them and told the results.
In my opinion, all of the stations were interesting and the activities were enjoyable. The Norwegian students had a great time during the week. Their teachers were also satisfied. We had to be creative, communicative, helpful and good motivator to create all the activities. Finally, they were well-organized and amazing. Sometimes I felt that we were too many at each station because all the time there was somebody who had nothing to do. It would have been enough to have one person or two people at each station. It was monotonous a bit to do the same task all week. However, the weather was changeable. Mostly it was cold and rainy, sometimes it was sunny. It was not my first time to organize outdoor activities, but the place and the people gave me something new which I haven’t experienced before. Especially I liked to organize in English.