Adventure Center builds teamwork and communication skills

Sean Daugherty

If Lakers coach Phil Jackson were aware of the teambuilding program available at Kent State, Shaq and Kobe would still be winning championships in Los Angeles.

The Adventure Center, located in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, offers a Teambuilding and Leadership Challenges program to help improve teamwork and communication among peers and co-workers.

Any group that wants to meet a specific goal can sign up for a teambuilding session, whether it is a small group of students working on a project or a large group of new employees at a major corporation.

“All groups fill out a goals sheet,” said Becky Baldwin, adventure education coordinator. “Then we develop activities to achieve those goals.”

Catie Milton, a health careers teacher at Kent Roosevelt High School, recently brought her Health Tech Club to the Adventure Center for a teambuilding session.

The club consists of juniors and seniors from Hudson, Stow, Tallmadge and Kent Roosevelt high schools who are interested in pursuing careers in the health field. Many of the students had not interacted with each other before the trip.

“I want the juniors and seniors to communicate better,” Milton said. “I want to get kids to work with each other.”

The group participated in exercises like team juggle and stump jump, which were designed to help students develop decision-making and communication skills.

The students were successful in completing the team juggle but not the stump jump, which required them to move from one artificial “stump” to another without stepping on the same one twice. Both feet had to be touching each “stump” at all times. Many students became frustrated with one another and wanted to quit the activity before it was completed.

The day’s program drew mixed results from the students and the instructor.

“I thought it was kinda lame,” said Cidalene Henry, 16. “If everyone had a better attitude it would’ve been better.”

Baldwin, who instructed the session, said though the teambuilding program may not have been successful, the real lesson is understanding how people interact and behave during the activities, not necessarily whether the activities are completed.

“They get frustrated with each other,” she said. “But that’s part of being a team.

“Some people are so driven by success and winning that they become frustrated when others aren’t.”

Contact recreation and wellness reporter Sean Daugherty at [email protected].