Group Initiatives & Team Challenges

What's the Big Idea?

"Practice For Real Life"

It's not difficult to imagine, or hard to agree with. The more safe, positive experiences a child is afforded, especially with adult mentors and leaders present, the greater the chance that child will be able to make good decisions and show good leadership when the consequences of their actions become greater. And the consequences will become greater...

Group Initiatives & Team Challenges are imaginative activities that require participants to plan together, share ideas, communicate and make decisions as a group, all in order to accomplish a common goal. Professional facilitators lead each activity in such a way that "teachable moments" are sure to pop up, and participant safety (mental and physical) is maximized.

Since goals are put forth in the form of a "team challenge", students buy into the process, perceiving failure itself to be a true negative consequence. From an educator's standpoint, this buy-in allows for true learning, especially from the aforementioned teachable moments. The bonus lies in the ability of the facilitator to control any truly negative consequences (physical injury, economic setback, or mental anguish).

Maximum life skills education, with minimum actual risk.
That's practice for real life.

Facilitators at the Betsy-Jeff Penn 4H Education Center participate in trainings several times every year, in a quest to advance their skills, update safety protocols and improve their debriefing/processing abilities.

Staff draw from hundreds of potential ground initiatives, developed across the country or by creative instructors here on site. Here are a few examples:

Warp Speed

Willie Wonka

Acid Pour

Texas Bigfoot

Marbles on the Move

Circle the Circle

Blind Polygon

Collection of Knots

Group Juggle

Harris Hawks

Betsy-Jeff Penn's two team challenge courses contain the more permanent "props" necessary to complete more difficult team challenges, such as:

Mohawk Walk

Spider Web


Whale Watch


TP Shuffle


3D Web


The Wall

Wild Woozy

Nitro Crossing


All Aboard

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