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Archive for the ‘Confidence Course Facilitator’ Category

Some Groups Just ‘Nail It’ and Then There’s Congress

In Active Listening, Communication, Confidence Course Facilitator, Facilitating Genius, Innovation on October 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm
What allows some groups to just 'nail it' and others to struggle?

What allows some groups to just ‘nail it’ and others to struggle?

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to lead a group of truly outstanding young problem-solvers. This group was inquisitive, energetic, genuinely curious, and surprisingly cooperative. No one had ever seen the ‘Nail It’ puzzle before. No one had access to their smart phone to ‘google a solution.’ Instead, this group of 13 youngsters sat down around a stump and simply figured it out.

Such days lift your spirit and remind me that there is hope for tomorrow’s problems to be solved creatively and cooperatively.

(Political footnote) Yes, I too am upset with how Congress cannot reach a solution to reaching consensus around a continuing resolution and/or passing a budget. Furloughing civil servants and closing our National Parks isn’t an acceptable option. Hmmmm … I wonder if our elected representatives might learn from these youngsters by visiting a challenge course or a local school. I wonder sometimes if they smarter than a group of fifth graders.

What would you do?

In Active Learning, Aikido, Confidence Course Facilitator, facilitation skills, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, What would YOU do on September 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm
What would you do if faced with an attacker armed with a knife?

What would you do if faced with an attacker armed with a knife or gun?

Last week I found myself facilitating a number of 1 hour, 50 minute experiential learning workshops as a part of the George Mason University 100 course. These sessions — affectionately referred to as our “EDGE on Wheels” program — were held on the lawn between Mason Hall and the Pond. We were blessed with beautiful weather and hundreds of first year students passed through our program working on what some might call “life skills.”

There are 13 competencies covered in the University 100 program. Here are seven (the other six deal specifically with academic integrity or knowledge & use of university services):

– to critically evaluate information both in and out of the classroom in order to make valid, sound decisions on your own
– becoming responsible and involved members of the community
– to be safe
– to be healthy, both physically and mentally
– living, working, and learning respectfully with people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs
– to feel comfortable and safe in your environment
– to increase self-awareness.

So why share this list here on this blog?

Well, in light of the fact that we within the greater DC metro area were affected by the mass shootings at the Washington Navy Yard -and- I am also leading this weekend’s aikido classes; pause for a moment to ask yourself “How would you react to a true life-or-death situation?”

Are you capable of making potentially life-saving decisions with but a moment’s notice?

Just how fit, physically and mentally, are you?

Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable?

Have you learned how to quickly center yourself or take a team breath and then deal with life’s crazy challenges?

One Ring to Unite All Others

In Active Learning, Alignment, Communication, Confidence Course Facilitator, How To on August 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth fantasy novels we learn of the one ring that rules them all.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

While leading groups of students at The EDGE, I sometimes quote this verse and then use rings of ribbon to introduce the concept of CONSENSUS.  Here are a couple of photos from a recent challenge course program.  Students must examine the ribbons — without touching or disturbing them — and determine which color unites them all.  That is, only one ribbon runs through all the others.

IMG_2915

Emerging student leaders from Lee High School’s International Baccalaureate Program are challenged to come up with their definition of consensus. This early agreement is then applied throughout the remainder of the day.

Can you guess which ring of ribbon unites them all?

Can you guess which ring of ribbon unites them all? Do post a comment if you think you know the right answer.

Make a Memory

In Confidence Course Facilitator, Cool Ideas, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, High Ropes Course, Innovation on June 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm
We have the ability to create and alter our memories.

We have the ability to create and alter our memories.

While watching an episode of “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” I found myself doodling. I do this from time to time to practice my graphic recording skills as well as help me remember ideas that need remembering. Sometimes my doodles are literal recordings and other times they are remote associations between what I see and hear versus what I’ve been thinking about lately. The sketch above falls in the later category.

You can “connect the dots” if you wish.

* Neuroplasticity
* Journaling (see also http://bit.ly/18QMncn)
* Blogging
* Creative / Selective Memory

Please do comment if you too find ideas and concepts such as brain performance, brain training, and/or creative memory-making interesting.

Nature Finds a Way

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Communication, Confidence Course Facilitator, High Touch, teamwork on April 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm
Students navigate the Blind Maze at the EDGE on April 13.

Students navigate the Blind Maze at the EDGE on April 13.

Climbing at the EDGE

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, High Ropes Course, Innovation on April 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm
The Alpine Tower is the centerpiece of the challenge course located at The EDGE.

The Alpine Tower is the centerpiece of the challenge course located at The EDGE.

EDGE Haiku -and- a truly “gazellegant” new poem

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, Cool Ideas on April 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Facilitators

old and new train at the EDGE.

Our spring training rocks!

Note: April is National Poetry Writing Month (a.k.a., “NaPoWriMo”)

Below is a spring training activity for Challenge Course Facilitators at the EDGE.

Today's training at the EDGE started with a poem about Arabian Gazelles which was deconstructed and rebuilt by the group as shown here.

Today’s training at the EDGE started with a poem about Arabian Gazelles; deconstructed and rebuilt by the group as shown here.

Leave Your Comfort Zone: Discover Haiku and Write a Poem Like the Samurai

In Active Learning, Cartooning, Communication, Confidence Course Facilitator, sharpen the saw on April 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm

While scanning my e-mail over the Easter holiday, I learned that April is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). And since it’s also spring training at The EDGE — a time when the challenge course facilitators re-group to knock off the “rust” from winter break — I thought why not leave my comfort zone and try something new this season?  Why not write a poem (or two) during #NaPoWriMo? And why not start with something “simple” like hiaku?

My hiaku for April 1 …

My fingers are cold, my thinking works through the rust. Spring brings new haiku.

And for April 2 …

Daffodils emerge through Boy Scout supplied mulch. It is 2 April.

Daffodils emerge through Boy Scout supplied mulch. It is 2 April.

Daffodils emerge through Boy Scout supplied mulch.
It is 2 April.

And for those who enjoy a sight gag …

Source: ToothPasteForDinner - Today is Hiaku Day and day 2 of #NaPoWriMo

Source: ToothPasteForDinner – Today is Hiaku Day and day 2 of #NaPoWriMo

Source: http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/index.php?date=122705

Play at The EDGE – Cont’d

In Confidence Course Facilitator, High Ropes Course, High Touch, leadership on September 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

To assist folks leave their comfort zone and enter into their challenge or learning zone — this is the essence of experiential learning that occurs on a confidence course such as found at the Mason Center for Team and Organizational Learning (a.k.a. “The EDGE“).  Of course the perceived stakes are higher (pun intended) when a group works through a high-ropes challenge.  On belay!

The “Turtle-Monkeys” (a group of 5th graders) save a box turtle that was hiding under the 360-whale watch and then apply their turtle- and monkey-inspired superpowers to complete their confidence course activity. Some students were still like the turtle and others balanced like monkeys.

7th graders successfully navigate their way along the Mohawk Walk.

“Play” at THE EDGE

In Confidence Course Facilitator, Cool Ideas, facilitation skills, High Ropes Course, How To, leadership, sharpen the saw on August 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm

In the book MASTERY, George Leonard suggests there are five master keys needed to unlock the secrets to future success and long-term fulfillment:

  1. First one must seek INSTRUCTION.
  2. Secondly, we must PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
  3. Next you must SURRENDER to the discipline.
  4. After that you focus on your INTENTIONALITY (a.k.a., working the mental game).
  5. And finally you “play” at THE EDGE.

Well, for those who’ve wondered — “Where has John been?”  Or, “Why haven’t we seen any fresh blog posts here are JohnLeskoDotBiz?”

I’ve been in training at The Edge.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to work out of doors, hike thru the woods, and serve as a confidence course facilitator.  So if you or your organization are motivated to leave your comfort zone and enter into your challenge or learning zone, post a note below, send me an e-mail (John.Lesko@verizon.net), or give me a call (571-229-3246).

Four of the most recent nine Confidence Course Facilitators who’ve been trained at The EDGE’s “Alpine Tower” (a high ropes and team confidence course).

RANGERS lead the way.  “On Belay!”

Energize – Develop – Grow – Excel

Even the “class room” training is held out-of-doors!