When most people think of BRIDGES their minds go to the Bridge Builders program which began in 1988 as a way for students to discover their leadership potential and become a force for positive social change by making connections with other youth in the Mid-South. Since then, BRIDGES has grown and offers a wide array of programming to further its mission to unite and inspire diverse young people to become confident and courageous leaders committed to community transformation. However, not all of BRIDGES programming is solely catered toward youth; and, one of the programs BRIDGES offers for those of all ages is Team BRIDGES.
Team BRIDGES works with a variety of groups ranging from nonprofits and schools to businesses and sports teams to create customized professional development, leadership training and team building intensives for youth and adults. Through the use of their high-ropes course, rock climbing wall and portable team building elements, Team BRIDGES is able to help teams literally reach new heights of success while creating opportunities for meaningful discussion that can be easily applied to their work or classroom environments. “Nothing builds a team like shared experiences” is Team BRIDGES’ tagline and something that Team BRIDGES Director, Jon Grizzle, believes to be true. “My ultimate goal is for participants to have a more meaningful experience and to leave with some tools they can use when they get back to the office or classroom that will help them connect with each other, have more trust and communicate more effectively” says Grizzle.
When asked what makes a great team, Grizzle can’t stress enough the importance of mutual respect, open mindedness and communication. “A lot of activities we do are designed to be fun; some are more frustrating than others and that’s okay. It’s important to dive into some of the conflict and difficult things” elaborates Grizzle. “The people who go through this training don’t stop there, they take these tools back to their offices, back to their organizations and they teach other people about it. You can see where that could be something that dramatically impacts a company or organization’s culture for the better” adds BRIDGES’ Director of Communications, Lindsey Butler.
Groups who are interested in participating in Team BRIDGES start by filling out a client needs assessment form online. Once the assessment is complete, Team BRIDGES’ staff begin designing a program and agenda based on the client’s desired outcomes. Once they arrive, the group is led through a series of energizers and icebreakers and sets norms and expectations before moving into problem-solving activities. Team BRIDGES also can accommodate groups who cannot make the drive downtown to their facilities by bringing portable challenges to the workplace.
For more information about Team BRIDGES visit their website at bridgesusa.org/team-building-climbing/ or reach out to Jon Grizzle directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @TeamBRIDGES477. Those who would like to learn more about how BRIDGES is working to make the adventure education industry more accessible and inclusive are welcome to attend the upcoming Universal Challenge Course Design Regional Conference, hosted at BRIDGES on December 5-7. This event is open to the public and perfect for those who are new to this topic or seasoned professionals such as teachers, therapists, challenge course facilitators, and youth workers.
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