Leadership Team Training for Children
- Teambuilding activities challenge children to accomplish tasks with a single, collective objective. To accomplish this task, children must work together to generate ideas and make decisions. No one is an assigned leader; children collectively decide what to do. But for something to get done, someone has to make a suggestion and someone has to say, "Let's try it", and everyone has to agree. Accomplishing this will require some members of the group to step into a leadership role.
- Teambuilding programs are designed to start easy, then increase steadily in difficulty or complexity. Activities requiring trust should be presented only after the group has had a chance to warm up to each other and successfully perform easier tasks. Facilitators should always have on hand plans and materials for more activities than can be performed in the allotted time. This allows the facilitator to adjust to the dynamics of each group.
- Activities should be designed with the needs of a specific group in mind. Facilitators should be aware of any members who have physical disabilities or injuries. Before setting up an activity, a facilitator should consider potential hazards, such as stumps in the middle of the field.
Emotional safety is also important. Teambuilding programs operate on the "challenge by choice" principle. This means any participant can opt out of a game for any reason, no questions asked, and no pressure. If other kids start pressuring someone who has stepped out, the facilitator will quickly remind them of the "challenge by choice" principle, then redirect their attention to the activity at hand.
- Often, the same children will emerge as dominant leaders in activity after activity. If this occurs, a good facilitator will figure out a way to diminish that person's role. If, for example, the game involves a river, the facilitator can say that a piranha has jumped out and bit the dominant player's tongue, leaving her unable to speak. Likewise, blindfolds can be used to limit a player's sight.
An experienced facilitator can announce these limitations in a way that does not appear to be targeting certain individuals.
- Many teambuilding games are fun in themselves and do not always contain a lesson obvious to children.
To help participants learn the most from their experience, facilitators follow each activity with a group discussion. They ask the children what they learned, what their strategy was, what was most challenging about the task and how they might apply what they learned in other situations.
In teambuilding, this is called debriefing, and it is one of the most important aspects of any teambuilding program.