This team builder requires some creativity on your part, and a fair bit of preparation. But, it’s all worth it!
Blindfolds (1 for every 5 kids you have)
Crutches (one crutch for every 5 kids you have)
Wooden dowel rods, or equivalent (3 for every 5 kids you have)
Lots of duct tape
Lead your kids to a location that is a fair distance away from the camp or church. A half mile away is a good enough distance. Have them sit down together as though they were on an airplane.
In great detail, inform them that they were on a trip to a missionary project in Africa when their plane went down. Along with several passengers, the pilots were killed, and the radio equipment was damaged in the crash. In short, they are stranded and have no way of contacting others.
It gets worse. Not everybody survived the plane crash without injury. At this point, have adult leaders walk around and assign “injuries” to the group of students. Some students will have a broken arm. (That student needs to have a dowel rod taped to his arm so that he CANNOT use/bend it.) Others students will have a broken leg. (Handicap his/her leg the same way.) Some students might have lost their vision; give them a blindfold to wear. Some students sustained an injury to their mouths and can’t speak. (A simple piece of tape across their lips will suffice.) Maybe a few students are totally paralyzed. Some students will get NO injury assigned to them. Use your imagination, but remember to leave a few kids “unhurt.”
Tell them the objective is to get the ENTIRE group back to the church or camp…in one trip. If you want, you can even assign a time limit. (If you have a really large group, you may want to break them into a couple of groups. If you group is smaller, you can just keep them all together.)
When you get back to the church or camp, you may want to talk about the experience.
Ask some of the students who were “handicapped,” “What was it like to be injured?”
Ask everyone, “Were you able to contribute? If so, how?”
Ask everyone about the attitude of the group. “How were the attitudes on the way back?
What does this teach us about teamwork?
1. This would be very difficult to pull off in a “city” environment. (It may “freak out” drivers to look out their window and see tons of bandaged up, blindfolded, and wounded teenagers hobbling down the sidewalk. So get into an environment where you can pull the team builder off without any outside interruption.
2. Make sure to have all of your necessary supplies located at the “site” of the crash so you can quickly get the students into character.
3. Do a good job telling your story. This helps them understand why they can’t use cell phones to call for help, or just send somebody for help.
Idea by Jonathan C.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.