October 5, 2012
On August 14 the RBC Office of Residence Life staff went To Challenge Discovery's Odyssey Course at the University of Richmond for a teambuilding and training experience. Challenge Discovery is a company that provides leadership and staff development exercises for business and educational groups. The goal with this experience was to help the staff, which includes Resident Advisors Michael Lloyd, Elle Ketcher, Jessica Salazar, Jennifer Lopez, Kaitlin Busch, Julian Rodgers, Brandy McCamish, and Shieh'Ron Freeman, along with Residence Life Specialist Dorrie Smith and Director of Residence Life Casey Blankenship, to get to know each other better, as well as to learn ways to better to team and support each other, build trust, and rely on each other. After some early icebreaker activities, the team suited up with harnesses and helmets and began climbing. Activities were first performed on ropes and planks and swaying wires thirty feet above the ground, and then after a brief break for lunch, the staff climbed even higher, performing group tasks fifty feet off the ground. The event concluded with a zip line. Along the way, the staff was challenged to conquer their own individual fears and to accomplish tasks together that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to complete. This was the third time RBC has used Challenge Discovery to help train the ORL staff, but it was the first time using their high ropes course. We look forward to going back again next year! --Casey Blankenship
The RAs' Perspectives on their Experiences at Challenge Discovery
"On Tuesday, August 14, I attended Challenge Discovery. The program was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed both of the instructor's energy, support, and attention to me and my fellow peers. Even with my fear of heights, I felt very comforted just because everyone provided a warm and supportive atmosphere. I would gladly suggest Challenge Discovery to any team, school, or organization who wishes to build a stronger team because the lessons you take back from there will last you a lifetime."
"The team building at Challenge Discovery was very beneficial in my opinion. In all honesty I had no idea what to expect or how everything would turn out. We learned a lot about each other in the beginning activities and we bonded close together with others before we were even strapped in our harnesses. When we were up in the air on the tight ropes some of us had to step up and be leaders even though we don't necessarily normally outwardly show that quality. As a group we learned to motivate and support and encourage one another not only with our words but physically. There would be times when people were freaking out being up 30-50 feet in the air and would need someone's hand to hold or someone to lean on for support. The big thing that we all learned is that we need each other and that it was all much easier when we were working as a group than doing it on our own."
"Our trip to Challenge Discovery was a fun, exciting, and educational trip! The team building exercises really made us think about how we support and challenge each other. It also taught trust due to the fact that we were forced to lean on each other (literally) and build confidence in ourselves. The representatives of challenge Discovery that day, Jacob and Dani, were kind, thoughtful, and very informative making us feel safe and secure. Both encouraged us to push our limits and praised us when we did. Overall, it was an amazing experience that I hope to repeat one day!"
"I would like to thank Dani and Jacob for being our mentors and leaders for the Challenge Discovery at the University of Richmond. They taught us each step in how to put on our harnesses and getting across the wires and ropes that were 30-50 feet in the air, safely. The exercises taught us leadership and team work and I believe doing those challenges brought us closer together and I feel like I'm able to go to them anytime I feel hopeless and in need for help. It's an experience I would love to try again and I will definitely recommend it to others I know. Thank you so much."
"The Discovery Challenge was very helpful in getting everyone to work together! We made sure everyone made it across and supported each other. I wish the wires would have been a little higher and had more to walk on. The staff was kind and kept us believing in our inner strength. Thank you so much for providing a fun, safe, and educational environment!"
"Challenge Discovery was a very fun experience! Going up 50 feet in the air to jump around is not something one gets to do every day. We had to use our brains and teamwork to get across the obstacles and if anything went wrong we knew that we had each other. The course was a great metaphor translating to how we are going to have to use teamwork in real life, when dealing with difficult situations in the Residence Halls we are going to be able to lean on each other to get things done. It was a great time and I would highly recommend it to any group that is looking for a thrill and team building."