LCSC-CdA enjoys fun retreat
RETREAT, ANYONE? NO WAY—CHARGE!!
By Kathie Wilcox, Communication Coordinator, Ropes Course Spotter, Corporate Chaos Participant, and LCSC-CdA Team Member
On August 21, 18 faculty, staff, and administrators from LCSC-Coeur d’Alene and NICHE anticipated a restful retreat from the chaos and labor of moving into our newly remodeled quarters at University Place Coeur d’Alene…we retreated to Lutherhaven, a gorgeous camp just south of the city. Cyndie Hammond, LCSC-CdA Regional Director, promised us “…team-building activities, no ‘talking heads.’ “ Well, restful, it wasn’t, but it certainly was an entertaining, enlightening, and unforgettable day.
It’s hard to avoid metaphors and puns while describing the day’s activities; we literally became a “branch campus” and “went out on a limb for each other” in ways we never imagined! Steve, the Lutherhaven Director, led us expertly through progressively difficult exercises followed by debriefing sessions.
We began the morning by sharing little-known facts about ourselves during a game that was essentially “musical chairs.” From this, we progressed to juggling multiple objects in 3-person teams and brainstorming about ways to improve life at LCSC-CdA. We built a swamp bridge using limited resources (13 wooden blocks) to move the entire team from our current work setting across the room to our envisioned work environment. This unsuccessful attempt resulted in staff and faculty on the new and improved site with managers left behind. Armed with a new plan and all 18 of us standing toe-to-toe and chin-to-chin on a tarp, we flipped the tarp from side-to-side—without anyone stepping off! Clearly, we were team-building, feeling more at ease with each other and voicing opinions and suggestions.
Steve then led us up to the top of a nearby hill overlooking the lake and put us into two teams for “trust-building” activities. These included falling helplessly into our teammates’ waiting arms from distances ranging from a few inches to falling from a 5-ft. high ladder. Trust-building indeed!
After lunch, we were asked to don harnesses, ropes and hardhats—without fully understanding exactly what we’d be doing! It was hinted that trees and heights would be
involved, but exactly how wasn’t yet clear. After Steve’s explanation and warnings, only three of us opted out; however, all of us trekked out of the lodge, past an ominously positioned fire truck with mounted ladders, down to a grove of nearby trees to support our team. Happily, there was no ambulance! We craned our necks to behold eight small wooden platforms mounted in 7,000 foot Ponderosa pines (OK, maybe not quite) 10-30 feet apart, connected with a variety of very slim cables and ropes. Rocky Owens and J.R. Seaman were first on the platforms. Within moments, several teammates gingerly or, in the case of a few, zealously climbed high in the trees making their ways from one platform to another. Cries echoed throughout the forest; “I’m going to die!” which was most often countered en voce by, “You’re almost there; you can do it!” Please note that, while each climber was always clipped to an overhead cable with ropes and pitons, that gave little comfort when one was 40 feet off the ground, hanging on only to one tiny rope, and searching for reserves of strength to pull, jump, or swing to the next platform.
Finally, after negotiating the eight challenges, we either rappelled down a tree—or jumped off a platform (nay, free-fell) and then swayed on the end of a rope to a stop). In spite of a few bruises and rope-burns, each of us went home proud to have pushed her/himself beyond personal barriers and happy to have participated in an activity that was truly inter-dependent. What a group! What a day! What a team! BenGay, anyone?