Vol 57 No. 19 : December, 2005
Vol 57 No. 19 | December, 2005
OutBAC Tests Trust, Builds Teamwork
Jeff Kress visits The OutBAC just about every day. Of course, it’s not the one in Australia, but rather the one that exists on the north side of the CSULB campus.
“This course is used really for work development, for cohesion, for developing trust, leadership skills and cooperation skills,” said Kress, who oversees The OutBAC and facilitates group activities. “We really work on developing a lot of empathy out there, where we try to put participants in each other’s shoes.”
The OutBAC’s main thrust is to aid in the development of leaders and to promote personal growth through experiential education, not just at CSULB, but surrounding communities as well. It’s perfect for serving athletic teams, but Kress says it is an ideal way for corporations to team build, which in turn can benefit their bottom line.
As a graduate student at the University of Kansas, Kress was in charge of a similar course. That course, however, covered approximately 220 acres, while at CSULB he is limited to approximately four.
“At Kansas we had athletic teams, fraternities, sororities, church groups, local clubs, business groups come out and we had about 22 initiatives (tasks) to work with,” he said. “Here, we have less space, but we can do more. There are literally a myriad of activities we can do out there.”
Kress noted that by taking individuals away from their comfortable surroundings, often times there is a role reversal where those who are normally followers become leaders and visa versa.
“What this does is takes them out of their natural space,” said Kress. “It’s quite different than being in an office environment, a basketball court or a football or baseball field. What we found is that people, who are normally followers tend to step up more and as a result of this experience, they all have more respect for one another other.”
Right now, The OutBAC is what is called a “low ropes” course, meaning it is set up relatively close to the ground. A “high ropes” course, which Kress hopes to develop, is typically 20-60 feet off the ground and though it sounds dangerous, he says statistics prove otherwise.
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