written by Tamora James
In early September, 25 ACCE students from across the cohorts converged on Another World Adventure Centre near Halifax for a day of team-building activities. We didn’t know exactly what was in store for us; I’d asked everyone to vote for their favourite activities, and I’d sent the list to Andrew at Another World, but he’d
stressed that some activities would be decided on the day, depending on the weather. The first task of the day after everyone had arrived was to form two teams. After hesitating for a moment, we were hustled out into the marquee area and told to form a line along a series of planks. We were told we had to arrange ourselves in alphabetical order – without talking and without stepping off the planks! This was a good way to find out how well-acquainted students from Liverpool, York and Sheffield were with each other, with some gesticulation involved in the cases where people didn’t know each other’s names! It was also a good way to get better acquainted, since getting past another person along a plank’s width is quite tricky. Finally, we managed to get ourselves into A to Z order, with only a minor amount of disarray, and the teams were formed by splitting the group at the midway point.
First up for team “M to V” was bumper balls: those huge inflatable see-through beach balls that enclose the wearer and allow them to have bouncy collisions with those similarly attired. After some rather polite initial bumps, the team started experimenting with multi-way collisions. The Liverpool bus driver, Ronnie, who had joined in with the day’s activities since one of the Liverpool students had been unable to attend, proved difficult to topple despite joint attempts on him. The session ended with a game of 5-a-side football that ended with a 0-0 draw.
There was some time left before the morning break, and we were taken to try our hands at paintball slingshots. It was quite a challenge to control the aim of the catapults, but satisfying when the paintballs connected with one of the targets (even if it wasn’t quite what you were aiming for).
After a short break, we swapped activities with the other team and headed for the slopes for a spot of mountainboarding, grass sledging and scootering. Although we’d decked ourselves in protective helmets and pads, I was wary of mountainboarding due to the memory of a painful faceplant on the one occasion.
I’ve been snowboarding. However, I wasn’t getting very far with the grass sledge that I’d pulled up the slope, so I tentatively took charge of one of the boards and made a couple of short wobbly trips on the lower part of the slope. The exploits of the rest of the team were much bolder, with plenty of speed and jumps on mountainboard and scooter. I got my hands on one of the scooters at last and found it was by far the most fun way to zoom down the hill.
We were quite glad to come in off the exposed slope to the smell of a barbeque lunch being prepared and the lodge with its wood-burning stove lit. We were offered a hearty spread for the BBQ buffet, including a good range of vegan and veggie options (our requirements in that respect being unusually high).
Before long it was time to get started with the afternoon’s activities. Since the weather was due to turn to rain, we exchanged one of our original afternoon activities for a more sheltered choice. Firstly, we were led to a dense stand of pines for a series of team challenges: a ropes and blocks puzzle that required significant teamwork to coordinate and guide the actions of the rope-pullers (who weren’t allowed to speak); a balancing challenge involving lateral thinking; and a rope-based obstacle course that tested our agility.
The final activity for the day was tag archery, in which foam-tipped arrows are used to “tag” other players. Although it sounds quite unnerving, we had protective headgear and being tagged didn’t hurt. We split into two smaller teams and played a knock-out game in the style of dodgeball, a chance for everyone to channel their inner Katniss, amplified by the setting in an atmospheric section oof the woods. This was quite an intense session, requiring attention to the potential for becoming a target while trying to focus on who to aim for and also looking out for arrows to replenish your supply of ammunition. Not to mention trying to see out of the face visor which got completely fogged up over the course of the game!
Before heading off we gathered again in the marquee for a couple of “together games”: a challenge involving manoeuvring a golf ball from one side of the marquee to another with each person using a small section of drainpipe, and a counter-intuitive team task of lowering a length of foam tubing balanced on our forefingers to the floor (it wanted to go up, not down!). Finally, it was time to go our separate ways, tired but satisfied by the day’s recreation.