Recap by Jim Snell
On March 21, the LAMP class took to the field again, but this time at the Rainbow Ranch in Fallbrook. The newly formed teams went after three training objectives: a sense of group identity, a greater appreciation of the importance of trust and communication when working together as a team, and the ability to quickly devise, brief, and execute a plan when given a situation and task.
The day started with a brief orientation and a group exercise where all the participants had to work closely together and while the whole group was standing on two large tarps spread out over the ground, turn the tarps over from one side to the other without touching a tarp with their hands. The exercise quickly challenged the team’s ability to organize, plan, and execute a plan. The class was then divided into three groups of 8-10 participants and moved out to conduct the first rotation through the elements: the Forest Walk, the Portal and Cable Walk, and the Islands/Medevac. The Forest Walk, a communication exercise, required the teams to move through a dense forest going over, under, through, or around natural and made obstacles. Most of the participants were blindfolded, and those not blindfolded had to act as guides. In the Portal and Cable Walk exercise, the teams had to devise a way to lift and pass each participant through a portal, which was a hole created by a large tire hanging between two trees. The second part of the element required the teams to cross a wire cable, suspended off the ground, with only each other for support. The third element was the Islands/Medevac. In this exercise the teams were required to find an injured down pilot and transport him in a rescue litter to and from three small islands until the group arrived at the landing zone. The challenge was that the teams had just three small and different sized boards to cross from island to island. No single board reached from one island to the next.
At the end of the day the teams came back together for a final group exercise, the Water Buckets. In this exercise the whole class had to work together and bring six buckets of water to a small target bucket where each team would deposit its bucket’s worth of water. What makes this an extremely challenging exercise is that each bucket could only be lifted by a set of strings, and any team member holding a string was blindfolded. A higher headquarters was formed and given the task that the blindfolded teams and their buckets of water needed to arrive at the target on a well planned, syncretized schedule that had each team arriving, depositing its payload of water, and then departing from the target exactly on the time schedule they planned. In all the exercises the teams had to work closely together to devise, communicate, and execute strategies in a limited amount of time.