Friday, October 10, 2014

Team Gemstone 2014: Tied Up in Team Dynamics

On Saturday, Sept. 27, and Sunday, Sept. 28, our sophomore teams built camaraderie and team spirit for two hours at Team Gemstone. This team building exercise is a requirement for all new teams and is an integral part of the Gemstone experience. This year the Team Gemstone activity line-up for the teams in one Sunday session (MTB, STRIDE, VESSEL, and MAGLEV) featured an involved game of rock-paper-scissors, team building activities, and time on the ropes course.

This game of ro-sham-bo included a clever take on evolution in which students changed from an egg to a chicken to a dinosaur to a superhero. While undergoing their transformation, students had to move and makes noises which were unique to their stage of evolution. If someone won a game, they would advance in their evolution and if they lost, they would go down a level of evolution. While I’m sure this does not follow the classic Darwinian model, the game was an interesting way to break the ice.
Photo by Lara Fu

The team building activities the teams did varied, but they all seemed to start with the seemingly simple task of placing a hula-hoop on the ground. The only catch: everyone had to have their index fingers on it holding the hoop up. While this may sound simple, coordinating everyone to do this proved difficult and took a few minutes to master. All the different activities seemed to be founded on the idea of fostering communication between teammates.

The ropes course was definitely the highlight of the Team Gemstone experience, and it seemed to be the favorite of many others as well. Students had just under 10 minutes to make their way up their route of choice up the tower. There was something for everyone, as all students had a choice between a fairly straightforward way up and a more challenging route. The challenging routes were very difficult, as more than one student attempted to take on the challenge, only to decide to take the straightforward option instead. The course offered the teams a chance to bond by cheering each other on as their teammates scaled the tower. Also, while the teams in some groups did not belay each other as teammates climbed, other teams had the chance to, which was a tremendous trust exercise.
Photo by Grace Chun

At the end of the day, every team seemed to have a great time and bond together. Experiences like Team Gemstone give everyone a chance to come together and build that team dynamic which is so vital to the Gemstone process. Some entered the day uncertain of what it would hold and some thought that this two hours of team building would be a waste of time. It seemed that no one had that feeling by the end of the day.

“It was definitely a day of firsts. A day on which individual and team strengths were tested and celebrated.”
-Glory Mgboji (Team VESSEL)

10 October 2014 - Nate Nenortas

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