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MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (May 28, 2015) - There’s no telling what people can do when they make the decision to step outside of their comfort zones. For thirty Mount Pleasant Recreation Department (MPRD) employees, a staff retreat at the James Island County Park Challenge Course provided a great opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and learn more about their coworkers and themselves.
“For our annual retreat, we decided to abandon the typical class room setting and discussions and focus on an activity that was not only challenging and fun, but would strengthen us as a team”, explained Recreation Director Ken Ayoub.
Teams of employees worked together to overcome obstacles and accomplish physically and mentally challenging tasks. While everyone enjoyed a fun day of team building exercises with coworkers, for some, it was also true test of self-reliance and determination. “Staff is talking more about the retreat this year than any other retreat that we have done in the past” says Ayoub. “I highly recommend this type of outing to bring out the best in your staff.”
The course provided a variety of group initiatives, low elements, and high elements designed to encourage staff to work together to solve problems. Low elements that were at or near ground level, challenged teams to carefully work through assigned tasks with cooperative problem solving and clear communication. After each challenge groups were given the opportunity to evaluate all aspects of their performance and make improvements.
High elements raised participants high off the ground and challenged our staff from their comfort zones to move beyond perceived limitations. This powerful learning tool encouraged MPRD Teams to create a supportive, non-judgmental environment where individuals can explore the concepts of trust, personal responsibility, stress management, self-confidence, and personal and group empowerment.
Utilizing a “Challenge of Choice” methodology, staff were encouraged to participate, but not pressured into doing something they do not want to do. Success was determined not only by how well individuals and the group performed, but rather by the extent to which the teams were willing to try something new and work together to accomplish the task. Several participants who were very leery of participating in a challenge course challenged themselves to step out of their comfort zone and left with a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
“A challenge course like this in the setting of the County Park, is really worth the effort and no doubt, staff benefited and if staff benefits, then our customers, the public, will benefit as well,” added Ayoub.