Team Building on the Ocoee River
This fall, thirty students headed to Copperhill, Tennessee to the Whitewater Express Center as part of a Natural Leader Series. The Natural Leader Series is an experiential leadership program designed to teach leadership principles through adventures in the great outdoors. This semester, students explored the leadership topics of team dynamics and communication and how important they are when working with others to achieve a goal. The series included three weekly workshops where students learned how to work effectively within teams. After the workshops, students then got to practice those skills by completing a whitewater rafting experience down the Ocoee River.
During the trip, students were divided into five teams to raft together down the Ocoee River. Although there was a rafting guide to help, the students had to work together to row the raft in the right direction. They learned how to work together as a team, while also practicing effective listening and communication skills. It was the perfect way for students to learn about an important leadership topic in an engaging and experiential way.
For many students, it was their first-time whitewater rafting. Some had also not spent a lot of time in the water prior, so they had to overcome the challenge of being in an uncomfortable space. Even so, every student had a lot of fun. One of the major highlights of the experience was when students got to “ride the bull.” To do this, students would sit on the front edge of the raft, holding on to a rope, while their legs dangled over the edge. As the raft navigated some of the rougher rapids, the raft would simulate the experience of a person riding a bull. Each student on every raft got to try this and it was the biggest highlight of the trip.
The Leadership Programs office is currently planning excursions for the spring semester and are looking forward to the opportunity to engage with more students to develop their leadership skills while also experiencing some of the amazing beauty and nature of Georgia.