My field hockey team began preseason this fall with a military-style bootcamp. The idea was that we could not complete any of the bootcamp tasks without each other. They involved push-ups, swimming (with sweatshirts on), log lifting, and various other exhausting tasks. While the experience was painful and often aggravating, it was interesting to see how well it really bonded us. Months later we still talk (with tones of bitterness at times) of this training. It brought us together because we were forced to pursue goals as a team.
In considering this week’s challenge I wanted to create a similar experience for people of opposing opinions. I wanted to force them to work together in a fun but challenging way and afterward (having been successful) discuss their opinions. I decided to do a similar boot camp but with ropes courses because they are a bit more fun.
To me, ropes courses are fun enough that I would want to do this, and the idea of working with a team of people with opposing opinions suggests more of a challenge. Furthermore, though the camp does include a discussion among each team about one thing team members disagree on, it is certainly not the entire focus of the bootcamp which makes it less daunting.
The entire thing is also pretty feasible. I know of many ropes course facilities that host team-building exercises already. It wouldn’t be terribly expensive for people to sign up for this or for someone to sponsor it in attempted to heal American wounds.
In order to gauge the success of the bootcamp, it will have short entry and exit surveys. These will measure participates sympathy towards other opinions before and after the workshop, looking to see if this type of bonding can help Americans move forward at least with better understandings of each other.