The ties that bind, 300th MP Co. builds teamwork at K-State challenge course
July 17, 2010
By Shandi Dix
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Beginning training following their return from Operation Iraqi Freedom in September 2009, members of the 300th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, worked on team building July 8 at the Kansas State University Challenge Course.
The K-State Challenge Course was created in June 2007 to enhance individual development and team building through experiential learning, in a natural environment with a high and low course. The courses are led by trained facilitators - mostly K-State students - who encourage individual and group reflection, following each custom-designed activity.
"It is also used specifically for groups that are looking to build and grow relationships with one another - providing safe, inclusive challenges for every participant," said Capt. Tara West, commander of the 300th MP Co., 97th MP Bn.
Soldiers of the 300th MP Co. worked the Fort Riley law enforcement mission upon their return from deployment from October 2009 through the end of April 2010. During the months of May and June they conducted intense, team-level training.
Many of the Soldiers, who were part of the unit during its deployment, have left the company. The unit has since gained new Soldiers, West said.
"We decided the challenge course fit two areas of emphasis for us: one, resiliency training for the Soldiers who have remained in the company, and two, team building with the new Soldiers," West said.
The company chose the "lows" challenge course, which included elements such as The Blind Maze, The Vertical/Horizontal Spider Web, the Boson Swings and the Wild Woosey.
"This course consists of elements low to the ground and constructed of wood, wire and rope," West said. "The Soldiers had to work in squad-size groups to complete each element."
The Boson Swings consist of platforms suspended individually from a rope. Two people begin at each end of the frame and walk across, only stepping on the platforms to make their way across, including passing each other along the way.
The Wild Woosey consists of three wires low to the ground, forming a triangle. Two Soldiers go at a time. While holding hands, they try to "walk" out on the wires as far as they can go without falling off.
"The primary objectives we had for the course were group bonding, team building, group problem solving, trust development and communication - the basic tenants of making strong, cohesive teams," West said.