Its common knowledge that Guides communicate an awful lot, normally verbally, and when they’re meant to be listening! Still, the value of their communication and the clarity is often not quite so clear. There are a few challenges and games we have played over the years and used on camp which develops different forms of communication. Often you can adapt a fairly simple challenge to make it more challenging. Here are a few of the recent ones:
There are lots of variations of communication challenges using blindfolds. Whether they pair up, one blindfolded, to guide the other around a route or to do an activity, describing the steps verbally, or whether the patrol leader is the only one not blindfolded, and guides them to put up a tent, or create something together. You could even play blind football with two leaders telling their players what to do. It might be easier if the players sat cross legged and used their arms to toss and throw the ball towards the goals.
If I recall, there is a clause in the Traditions of Guiding badge that requires the team to carry a message by scouts pace. However, as part of a careers day, we had a challenge that went on at the same time as a large group challenge. The challenge leader took a girl aside and gave her a message, ours happened to be based on a customer ordering teapots, but changing the number of teapots in one colour, and adding some teacups to her order. We had to remember names, colours and numbers. Five minutes later, that girl took aside another and passed on the message as accurately as she could – in the same way you play chinese whispers, but obviously a lot more delayed. This continued at regular intervals, while everyone remembered everything else. It always had to be passed on by the most recent guide, and not discussed otherwise. The last person wrote down what they believed the message to be.
To test the verbal skills in a different way, have them describe a structure made out of lego to their group, sat on their hands – or we recently showed the team leaders how to do ‘step through a post card’ and they had to explain how to the group while unable to touch any of the resources or use their hands to describe. Its incredible how much you want to touch to explain, or gesture.
Another way might be to create a model or drawing, which they must recreate as a group, only from the description from one of the group.
Non Verbal Communication
Mime and pictionary are two great ways to take away the reliance on verbal communication. Whether you communicate non verbally to the teams, who have to guess to score points, or the teams take it in turns to send someone up to receive the object or action to convey back, and its the team with the most correctly guessed.
Adapt a Team Building Game