Uploaded by Bacchus Taylor

Human Relations for Final Expedition

DRAFT Curricular Outline & Ideas: Final Expedition Human Relations Course Spring 2011
Overall targeted outcomes for the course:
Each student : Move to next the level of courage, awareness, compassion, leadership
Group: Develop genuine rapport, appreciation, connection and success
Curriculum & Ideas
Key idea: We are here for growth, change, learning; not simply travel. Make this week really count,
so you come back stronger, more confident, powerful! This requires risk.
Possible games and problem solving exercises (followed by debrief/feedback)
Human Relations Self Assessment-- Brainstorm as a group the 5-10 individual attributes that are
most essential to helping a group work effectively. Review the list: If we had these attributes and
no more, would that guarantee a good group; are any superfluous or redundant? Then, have each
student privately assesses themselves on each of those attributes on a 1-10 scale. They should
think of at least one behavioral example for each attribute to ground out their numerical
assessment. This gets written and shared with staff in 1:1 check ins. From this, the 2-3 top
attributes become the primary gift to the group, the student chooses goals from among the 2-3
lowest-ranked attributes. Students are asked to envision behavioral examples of them
demonstrating success in the areas they have chosen as goals. Then bring this back to risk taking:
Change and growth take risks. Possibly pair kids up so they have an advocate/ally in their pursuit
of these goals.
Reflective writing – have students write about their goals and ideas, possibly use this as a time to
do 1:1 check ins with individual students while they are writing. Check-ins can also take place on
the trail; if Day 1 gets crazy, this could happen as late as the start of Day 2 but should happen in the
first 24 hours.
Stories/quotes about risk taking
Possible discussion or writing prompts – • what is scariest about being out here? • what is an
example of a fear you faced and what transpired? • what is the thing you are most protective of? •
how do you respond when you are on edge?
Ideas for enrichment – Get kids thinking beyond fight/flight and investigate flow; also can be
framed as moving beyond aggression/avoidance into acceptance. Also would not hurt at this point
to reinforce the idea that they are the master of their own experience, and their inner script is the
one that is creating their experience. Encourage students to take control of that script, make it
align with their goals and ideals to get the most out of the experience.
Other possible
safety briefings
lost and alone
stove safety
tarp rigging
awareness, esp.
(self-care, nutrition,
(what an amazing
place we are in!)
Other possible
minimum impact
natural history
human history
awareness, esp.
(keeping your stuff
together, getting
tasks done on time)
(really being
present in the
mountains, putting
yourself fully into
smelling, seeing,
Key idea: Being fully present and candidly aware of self and others is the foundation required for a
solid and genuine group. Let’s play, and work, and learn from both.
Possible ames and problem solving exercises (followed by debrief/feedback)
Artist/Clay/Model – form groups of 3. Each member of triad takes a role; artist is blindfolded,
clay strikes a pose, and artist forms clay person into the exact shape of model by hands-on
discernment of model and manipulation of clay. Be sure to review respect and boundaries around
Counting – have group keep eyes closed and count up from 1 to whatever, trying to not speak at
the same time by intuiting others’ energies. See how high you can get. Fun to do at night in
complete darkness.
Drunk Walk – get a stick 3’ long and an open area. One person holds stick overhead and spins
around 10 times fast, looking at the sky end of stick. Group forms a tight spotting circle around
them, hands up, braced, to keep “it” safe while spinning. Then “it” places stick on the ground and
has to step over it without falling down. Hilarious and fun.
Pair and Share – form 2 circles of folks, inside circle facing out, outside circle facing in. Give them
a question to answer, 2 minutes each, then ring a bell and have one circle rotate. This can also be
done by milling about rather than sitting. Use gradually more personal questions as familiarity
Stories/quotes about connecting with others
Possible discussion or writing prompts – • what are the strategies I most typically use to connect
with others? • what kind of person do I find easiest to connect with? hardest? • what would be
one communication strategy I would like to get better at? • what are the key things I offer others I
relate with?
Ideas for enrichment – Review Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in which we all operate based
upon universal human needs, but often differ in the strategies we use to meet those needs. Formal
NVC involves stating how one experienced another’s actions or words, what feelings and needs tie
in with that experience, and a specific request for a different action that would better serve one’s
needs. Ideally, model both formal and informal NVC for the students to help them gain tools for
Other possible
first aid (blister
awareness, esp.
(being straight and
honest, coming
clean, being true to
your experience
(building the inner
part – readiness to
connect -- of your
connection with
Other possible
awareness, esp.
(building the outer
part -- conscious
effort -- of your
connection with
Key Idea: Get real in your interactions with others and walk your talk. Don’t just go through the
motions of learning, but take it to heart and make it matter! Carpe Diem! This requires a certain
self-awareness and being honest with yourself for starters. Notice your inner script, what you are
saying to yourself. Does the inner script match what you are expressing to others, either
nonverbally or verbally? What would it be like to align the inner script constantly, 24/7, with what
was being put forth to others?
Possible games and problem solving exercises (followed by debrief/feedback)
Grass in the Wind – form a tight circle (shoulder to shoulder) around one individual, who crosses
arms tightly, hands on shoulders. The center person maintains a stiff, vertical body while the
group is in spotting position, hands up and knees braced. Then the center person, eyes closed, tilts
until their upper body leans against someone’s hands. The group continues to support the center
person, moving them around the circle as they remain straight and stiff. This illustrates trust and
how authentic is your trust in others.
Feedback Circle – First set a tone of sincerity and caring – ensure that everyone is in a space of
being ready and willing to truly listen and to work towards healthy group development. Leader
first models an example of honest, concrete, nonjudgmental feedback, then invites group members
to use this format to communicate genuine issues with each other that will enhance the group.
Stories/quotes about being genuine
Possible discussion or writing prompts – • what is it like to be with someone who seems truly
present and authentic? • what circumstances seem to make it easier for me to be genuine?
harder? • how can I influence others to be more authentic when I am with them? what role does
fear play in affecting our authenticity? embarrasment?
Ideas for enrichment: Psychologists talk about the idea of “congruence,” which refers to the
dynamic of a person’s words, emotions, and body language all being entirely consistent. When we
are around people who are congruent, it is easier to build rapport and trust; when we are around
those who aren’t congruent we feel less comforable and trusting. It is those people who are truly
present and congruent that we are most drawn to. It is easiest to be around them, and difficult to
be around people who are not congruent, with whom you are not sure how you stand or what is
going on for them. How can we work toward becoming more congruent in our lives?
Key Idea: Develop genuine group identity, an appreciation of each member, and a sense of what is
unique in each member’s role relative to other individuals and the group.
Possible games and problem solving exercises (followed by debrief/feedback)
Group identity – have the group name itself. This is an important time for the group to identify its
own emergent unity. Typically more assertive or gregarious members will take the lead on the
naming process, but it is important – both to an accurate name and to group development – to have
quieter members reflect on the group’s unique characteristics. Metaphors can be helpful – if we
were an animal, what would that animal be? Or if this trip was a movie, what movie would it be…
Discussion Caucuses – have members list on a small piece of paper (prior to dinner or on the
trail) ten things they are interested in or would like to learn more about. Collect these and form
some caucuses among the students
Predator/Prey – pause along the trail, and give one member three minutes to go up the trail and
hide. They need to be within five large steps of the trail (may need to make it 3 in dense vegetation
or 10 in sparse) Then group proceeds and with awareness set to high, tries to locate the hidden
person. Might try hiding two at once, or possibly giving them only one step off the trail and
blindfolding the group (leader stays in front with eyes open). Discussion can follow: What do we
tune in to?
Appreciations – midway through the trip is a good time for a first round of appreciations of other
members. Take turns being the target person, and have folks say what they value/appreciate
about that person. Good to have them appreciate themselves too.
Solo – this is a highly valuable undertaking worth significant briefing and debriefing unto itself.
See ‘Solo’ under section I of staff manual -- Backcountry Curriculum Guide.
Stories/quotes about connecting with others
Possible discussion or writing prompts – • what is the nature of a true friendship? • what is the
most supportive/positive/fun group I have ever been a part of? what made it so successful? •
what characteristics do I bring to a group that make it a more valuable experience for all?
Ideas for enrichment: It would be wise to discuss what kind of meeting with the other Explorations
groups on the trail would be most meaningful? Consider maintaining silence, but making
conscious, direct eye contact with each group member as they pass, including perhaps shaking
hands or hugging. Also: When another person encounters you, who is the person you want them
to encounter? This follows from authenticity, and builds on it to maximize the application of the
ideal self to actual interaction.
Effort & Outcomes
Other possible
climate change
snow physics
awareness, esp.
(contributing full
effort to whatever
you are doing)
Other possible
natural history
awareness, esp.
(working with
others to show them
you care about
Key Idea: Everything really good that is important takes effort. We are here, halfway through the
final expedition, and nearly at the end of our school year. Let’s honor the work that has been put
in, and honor the less visible work of challenging assumptions, doing things differently, being
different, changing patters. Hard work yields results!
Possible games and problem solving exercises (followed by debrief/feedback)
Summit Climb of Desolation Peak – be sure to do careful safety briefings about snow travel
Revisit goals & self assessments from Day one to see how things are going – on track? Clear
evidence of success? Things originally discussed but forgotten about?
Yurt – need an even number of members; leader is in our out depending. Have group members
stand in a circle and hold wrists, evening out distances between them and the roundess of the
circle. Then, gradually, alternate members lean in or out, keeping their bodies firm and upright.
Gradually the group reaches equilibrium and holds still as a tensioned group (yurt). Then,
gradually, trade so that those leaning out are leaning in.
Stories/quotes about sustained effort
Possible discussion or writing prompts – • what is something I really had to work hard to achieve?
• what things are truly worth my greatest effort? • what does it feel like when you have truly put
out your very best effort? • what things get in the way of really putting true effort into something?
• who has put in substantial effort on my behalf… this week? this year? overall in my life?
Ideas for enrichment: People who win the lottery are less happy one year after the event than
those who become paraplegic. What is the role of effort and attitude on experience? How does
attitude play into effort? Are there some cultural groups that seem to work harder than others?
Key Idea: We all share basic common needs, and connecting with others is an important part of
our happiness – even those who are largely loners or shy depend upon healthy connections with
others. So why not demonstrate more kindness and love?
Possible games and problem solving exercises (followed by debrief/feedback)
NVC Exercise – what is a basic need I have that is not met by this group, and how can I express
myself in a genuine, concrete, and non-judgmental way in order to help others help me get that
need met? Review feedback format of 1) what I experience or observe; 2) what I feel when that
happens (not because of) 3) what is my actual need that relates to that feeling; and 4) what I would
like from others to help me meet my needs. Ideally instructors model some statements that come
from the heart and are slightly edgy.
Secret helper – everyone in the group tries, for this day, to do as many small kindnesses for others
that they can – both without being noticed and openly. This can be done by the leader telling the
group that they will identify one or two secret helpers, then actually tell everyone to be that secret
helper. At the end of the day, compare how this day felt relative to other days, both in terms of
having given and having received support.
Coming clean – have everyone think of one recent interaction they have had with a person NOT in
this group at this time, that didn’t feel quite right or didn’t bring out their most compassionate,
caring, and respectful nature. Formulate a statement, and apology, a thank-you, a clarification, or
some way to frame a fresh start with that person. If each group member doesn’t have at least one
such interaction to re-write that they feel comfortable delivering in the first three days after
returning home, have them come up with additional examples until they can identify at least one
that they will follow through on. Then ask them to pick another member of this group to whom
they’d be willing to tell how it went after they deliver their “coming clean” statement.
Stories/quotes about compassion and kindness
Possible discussion or writing prompts – • when do I feel most safe and supported? • what things
do others do that increase my sense of well being? • how prevalent is kindness and support in my
life? • what things do I do that increase the well being of others around me?
Ideas for enrichment: Erich Fromm defines love as the active concern for the well-being of
another. To what extent do we offer each other active concern? What things need to happen for us
to express active concern toward others? Now that we are learning that cooperation and mutual
support are far more prevalent in the animal world than we used to think, what implications does
that have for human conduct? We are always writing and rewriting the story of our lives and
connections with others, and the script is ours to create…
Other possible
revisit basic
tarp rigging
awareness, esp.
(being effective at
wrapping up all the
tasks at hand)
Key Idea: This has been a week of achievement – if you have been taking it seriously! It may or
may not have pushed you physically, but it should have pushed you to be more conscious of your
interpersonal and leadership strengths. How can we take this small chunk of your life and make it
as meaningful as possible going forward? What can we do to maximize the return on this
Possible games and problem solving exercises (followed by debrief/feedback)
Scripting the Story -- what are the most salient and important elements of our time together? If
history is written by the victors, we are the victors. So how do we tell our story in the way that is
as powerful and positive as possible? Individuals recognizing efforts of others, celebrating greatest
moments for each person and identifying the high point of group effectiveness.
Exquisite Corpse -- a group poem is written, line by line, with each person knowing only the final
word of the previous person’s writing. This can be done with a theme – like “ode to Ross
Reservoir” or “the key to a successful wilderness trip” or “what you should know about Bacchus”
or just as an open season writing. Kids should know that it is a poem, not a novel or an
encyclopedia or a bathroom wall. Imagery counts, flow and richness and word choice make it fly.
Best Practices – we’re almost done. Let’s make the absolute best tarp rigs ever, cook the most
delicious dinner possible, work together with the greatest grace and efficiency, have the ultimate
amount of fun together, and treat each other as if we had just survived an Antarctic winter and
saved each other’s lives. Celebrate the perfection of the experience!
Possible discussion or writing prompts • if I was to receive an award, it would be the ____________
award • what was the hardest part of this final expedition for me? • what will I remember the
most? • what is the hardest thing I anticipate in the near future and how will I handle it?
Ideas for enrichment: We are known for what we contribute to the world. Most teenagers are told
what to do most of the time, so aren’t encouraged to define what mark they want to make on the
world, despite their clear and important talents. What might each group member want to
accomplish, since they are clearly so capable…
Key Idea: We have made it this far. We’re on the home stretch, and summer vacation starts in
FOUR DAYS!!! But… there is a heckovalotta stuff to do before then. Foreshadow the smoothest and
most egalitarian (fair distribution of effort) trip return possible, to honor the effort that has gone
into these past seven days of travel. End in style. Then, look ahead to the final three days of the
school year, and think about what it will take to treat everyone well, patiently, and with respect
and compassion. This is where the positive group dynamics in the wilderness “fold outward” to
include others in the school community.
A few tools that will maximize students’ learning of this material:
A good rapport and frequent candid contact with at least one of their group leaders
Humility and modeling of effective, compassionate leadership
Playfulness and lightheartedness in leaders and encouraged amongst the group
An atmosphere in which every individual is celebrated
Careful and consistent attention to cynical, rude, or exclusive behaviors
Firm expectations that, in circle discussions, everyone is attentive and respectful
Encouragement to be fully present and not dwell upon outside factors (eg media)
Nonjudgmental redirecting of dysfunctional or untoward behaviors
Gentle interventions to help interrupt unhelpful old patterns