Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Team Building New Year's Resolution

"We will confront the problem, not each other."

At Upward Enterprises, we teach our clients that working together to solve problems through the power of team can achieve so much more than the power of one.

What is your resolution?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Transitions to Indoor Programs

As a full time ropes course operator we are constantly looking for ways to transition to indoor facilities and to provide our services year round. We love our ropes course as a vehicle to work on group dynamics and we have a huge amount of pride in our successful program sequences but all of these successes can be transferred to an indoor facility using minimal equipment.

With an open  mind and and little creativity we can develop an equally rewarding experience to clients. We always talk about the group being able to work together towards a common goal and how that actually happens when trying to solve a particular problem. The communication that is essential in the planning stages before leadership kicks in to get the ball rolling, right through the frustration stage of early failures and then into small successes which we build on to process the good and the not so good and to carry that to the next activity. All of this can be achieved with a simple hoop or ball or indeed any other small piece of equipment that can be carried into a conference room or meeting space.

What is your favored indoor activity and how does it compare with some of the traditional outdoor ropes course activities?

My personal one is called "through the hoop".

Challenge the group to see how fast they can get all members through a simple hoop. This immediately begs the question to define what through the hoop means. I encourage the discussion to see how deep they will go with the creativity but generally come back to passing the whole body from one side of the hoop through to the other. After some time of getting individuals to step through the hoop some one will suggest getting couples and triplets to have the hoop passed over them. This can then develop into more specific actions and the success will just follow from there. I have had a group of 12 people go through the hoop in less than 5 seconds. What successes have you had?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Upward Enterprises Volunteers at the National Kidney Foundations Over the Edge event.

Its always nice when we can use our experience in the ropes course industry to help with a charitable cause.  We were contacted by the National Kidney Foundation who ask if we could help with their 'Over the Edge' event on June 18th.  The Over the Edge event, held at the Canton Crossing Tower in Baltimore, Maryland  offered  participants the opportunity to rappell down a 200ft (17 story) building to raise money for the foundation to fight kidney disease.

Clive, Larry, Sean and John went  to Baltimore on Friday the 17th to take part in the pre-training with the Over the Edge staff and to be shown the ropes! They all got to rappel down the building during the training, which was an added bonus that they all enjoyed.  During the training day, the event had a few VIP's come along and rappel down the building too.

On June 18th, the day of the actual event, 56 participants took part and each rappelled down the building and altogether raised an amazing $82,244.00 for the charity. 
Clive's wife Liz also took part in the event and raised $1100 before she went over the edge in memory of her Father who passed away from kidney failure in 2005.

The view from the 17th floor balcony was quite breath taking, when you first walked out onto the balcony.  Best advise was to not look down too much before you rappelled.

Each of the participants were geared up with full body harnesses and helmets and went through a brief training on how to use the various equipment before being taken to the balcony for thier rappel.  Some people were a little nervous, but everyone made it to the bottom with no problems.

We were so pleased to be part of this fun and exciting event and look forward to helping out at next year's event. For more information go the the National Kidney Foundations website. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sports Teams can Benefit from Team Building

On Saturday, March 5th we had our first big group of the season out on the course and we were happy to welcome back the rugby team from Arch Bishop Spalding Catholic School to the course.  The boys ranged from 14-18 years old and were all up for the various challenges ahead of them.

Getting a team to work together off the pitch is a great way to improve how they work as a team during the game. We worked on various communication activities, where vocal communication wasn't allowed! This helps to make people look at each other and feed from other forms of communication to enable them to understand each other.

Trust is another big part of any team, and when your playing a contact sport like rugby you want to be able to trust in your fellow team members that they have your back when that huge winger from the other team is barreling towards you.  We can help teams build trust through all of our activities, and in the simplest of ways by teaching them to 'spot' for each other.  Knowing that someone is watching out for you while you are taking part in an activity and are there to protect you from falling is huge.  We teach all of our clients the importance of correct spotting at the beginning of each day as it ensures a safe environment for everyone to fully enjoy the day.

With any group of people when you take them away from their normal surroundings, it instills a level playing field for everyone. For their time on the course there is no 'boss' or 'team captain'.  People get to see each other in a different light and see what other skills each of them have.  It's an inspiring moment when somebody gets to shine in an area which they are not normally associated with.  We like to give everyone the opportunity to 'lead' the team in an activity.  Building respect for each other is another important factor that we like to include throughout the day - Respecting each others abilities as well as being respectful of people's inabilities.

The Spalding Rugby team is just one of many teams that we have worked with on the UEI Ropes Challenge Course and many come back to us year after year, as team's change and develop. 

In this photo the team had to exchange places on the raised poles, without talking.  Not as simple as it sounds.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Warning - Counterfeit Petzl Products

Here's an interesting article that I came across on the Petzl website.  If you're using Petzl gear, like we do, you should be aware that counterfeit items are circulating in the market and you should be careful where you purchase your gear from.

Read the full article here, directly from Petzl's website http://www.petzl.com/us/outdoor/news-2/2011/02/11/warning-regarding-presence-counterfeit-versions-petzl-products

March Madness! Its time to get outdoors.

Here we are in March already. Hopefully spring is waiting just around the corner too. We're excited to have groups booked to come out to the course this month and also to get our team ready for the upcoming season with our facilitator training later this month.

As the weather warms up, it makes you feel like leaving the warmth of your home and filling your lungs with some fresh spring air.  A day on the ropes course is sure to help blow away winters cobwebs and get your blood pumping!.

We're proud to be a part of the Frederick Wellness Challenge again this year and look forward to welcoming the participants of the spring group to the course. It won't be easy, but if it was, it wouldn't be as rewarding!  For more information and to sign up for the challenge visit their website at www.creatingwellnessfrederick.com/challenge.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Exciting New Year Ahead!

Here we are in the second month of 2011 already. Before we know it, it will be the summer and instead of freezing like today it will be 100'....oh we can't wait.

Well until it's time to get out the shorts and sunscreen, there's still lots of fun to be had at the ropes course and we'll even throw in some hot chocolate to warm you up.  There's nothing better thatn getting the  adrenalin running to get you warmed up on a cold day.

Last year we added an amazing Canopy Tour to our array of activities and if you didn't get chance to do it last year, then 2011 is the year to  come and try it out.  After zipping through the trees on our 600ft zipline, take another zipline to connect with the start of the canopy tour.  Once hooked on you traverse through the course high in trees. Sound like fun?

The weather is going to start warming up soon (we hope) and we're eager to get out on the course again before cabin fever sets in, so give us a call to book your groups visit to the Ropes Challenge course for some fun this year.

We look forward to seeing you there.