Team Builders

The Tarp Raft


Get everyone to stand around the tarp. The say, “We have a big announcement, we will now be doing _______ (name of youth group) Cruises! So hop aboard the cruise ship. Please keep in mind that everyone needs to stay on board at all times.”

Once everyone is on continue with, “Oh no! We’ve hit an iceberg – and we lost half of the ship. You need to get all of your fellow shipmates safely to the remaining half of the ship, everyone needs to stay onboard at all times or be forever lost to the sea, and there will be no human sacrifices.”

The team needs to fold the tarp in half and keep everyone on the tarp. This shouldn’t be too hard.

The say, “What’s that in the distance? Is it a pirate ship? Could it be the Black Pearl and Captain Jack Sparrow? It is! The pirates have fired on our cruise ship and we have lost half of the ship. Make sure to get everyone safely to the remaining half of the ship. Again, everyone must stay on board at all times, and no one can be forced to walk the plank.”

The team must again fold the tarp in half, keeping everyone on. If someone is lost, keep going, the point is to see how long they can go while working together effectively.

“Good, you made it. It should be smooth sailing now … uh oh, those sharks look pretty hungry! Darn, a shark has taken a chunk out of our now small boat, and we only have half the ship left. Make sure everyone gets safely to the remaining half. Remember, keep everyone on board, and do not let anyone fall into the shark-infested waters.”

And again, no sacrifices. If they still are all on, keep going, if not, call it quits. If you want, ask for a breakdown of what worked and what didn’t, and what could have been done differently.

Finally say, “Phew! We’re almost back … I can see Palm Walk in the distance! But wait … there is a leak and we need to evacuate everyone to one half of the boat to keep it afloat. Quickly and safely evacuate all staff to one half of the ship.”

This should be the point that people start falling off and the game should be over by now. If not, end it and congratulate them for keeping everyone alive.

Idea submitted by Jacqueline

Discover Jonathan’s top team builders in his book about developing student leaders, “Ministry By Teenagers: Developing Leaders from Within”


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; 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 Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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