Recap by Jim Snell
The last field exercise for the Executive Perspective for Scientists and Engineers (EPSE) class finally arrived on the thirteenth of March with the main focus on their personal leadership. The session was conducted at the high ropes course at Camp Whispering Oaks in Julian. The class went after three training objectives: a strong interpersonal association and mutual support among team members, the ability for each member to make rapid and effective decisions under pressure, and a greater personal awareness and appreciation of what is needed to control emotions and retain cognitive control under pressure.
The challenges in the past EPSE field sessions of September and November confronted the entire team. However, the high ropes course challenged the members of the EPSE class individually with a series of elevated obstacles that were from thirty to forty feet off the ground. The obstacles were in sets: the Giant’s Ladder/climbing wall, the Vertical Playpens, and the Zip Line/Leap of Faith. Each group of two teams was given ninety minutes at each set of obstacles. The obstacles provided tangible and challenging situations requiring the EPSE class members to go over, under, through, around or, as with the element called the Leap of Faith, jump from a forty foot pole into the air attempting to grab a trapeze bar. All members were secured to a harness, climbing rope, and a belaying team. Each of the high ropes obstacles provided the members of the EPSE class an opportunity to explore their ability to face a challenging situation and under pressure, control their fear and continue to think, decide, and act effectively. The goal for all of the EPSE field programs was to exercise the class members’ emotional and social intelligence. The high ropes course in particular served this purpose very effectively.