Monday, July 11, 2011

ProRanger Leadership Camp - Day 2

Day Two July 6th, 2011

Today was the first whole day we had at camp. The day started bright and early, waking up for PT. PT included Calisthetics and a Formation Run. For many of the ProRangers, a formation run was something that they hadn’t done before. This was the first introduction many of us had to military-like training. The morning PT pushed all of us further than many had been pushed before. It again demonstrated our support for each other. We all rallied together during the hardest times in order to show get each person in our Cohort through. This morning we were already feeling the wear from day one.

Tuesday night was the first night that we got to experience Fire Watch. The males had to stay up in two hour shifts starting at midnight until six am to ensure that everything stayed safe in the cabin. If the girls thought they were tired after day one, they were only half as tired as the guys who had to stay up were. The fire watch at first seemed a little crazy. We would ask each other what could happen in the middle of the night that needs one of us to be awake. But both Ranger Dave from Prince William and Ranger Dylon from Boston National Historical Park further in the week began to explain that you never know the situation that you will be entering into at your park as an LE Officer. You may be called in to help on an incident in the middle of the night or something might happen that makes it so one night you don’t get enough sleep. We hope that each night you get the amount of sleep that is best for your body, but there are going to be many situations where you will not be running off of the proper seven to eight hours. We need to learn to be adaptable. Incidents rarely occur at the “right” time. The fire watch is just another method that demonstrates the importance of adaptability throughout our time with the Park Service.
After we finished breakfast, we got to spend the rest of the morning on the climbing complex. The complex included a 50 ft climbing wall, a 50ft rappelling wall and a zip line. The favorite of the three activities was by far the zip line.

Once hooked in, we were allowed to go upside-down, backwards, spin, or do any other maneuvers that we wanted while still hooked in. The zip line was almost like a reward for everyone after all the hard work that had been put in so far.
For many people that had dealt with their fears yesterday, today was another whole battle. The rappelling wall was quite nerve racking for many individuals. Instead of walking off the edge on an angle, you went from being right on top of the wall to being perpendicular. All of your trust was in the harness and the anchor points. With support from teammates, almost everyone completed the daunting task of going down the wall. But, as soon as people reached the bottom, many wanted to return to the top and do it all over again.
The climbing wall proved to be quite the challenge for many individuals. The reaches were fairly long, therefore if you were one with a shorter stature there was an extra challenge. Everyone who went up that wall pushed themselves so hard to reach the top. The perseverance of each and every individual was amazing to watch. The ProRangers are a motivated group, constantly demonstrating that they are at this camp to learn as much as possible while always trying to push their physical limits. The next event that we got to experience was a Leadership Reaction Course. Instead of being in our assigned teams, we were broken up into new groups. This gave us the opportunity to work with a new set of individuals. Each of the four groups went through three or four obstacles. They were presented with a scenario, allowed to look at the obstacle, a leader was chosen and a plan needed to be created. Then, once the plan was created there was a chance for other obstacles to be included such as one of the team members getting injured or not being able to talk. This increased the difficulty of each of these scenarios, forcing the leaders to take control and have the team work together.
After the task was complete, there was a briefing on what the counselor saw and then how the team felt about the leader. It was a proactive leader challenge, allowing for us to further enhance our leadership skills. Each of the teams worked extremely well together showing that we all have the ability to be good leaders as well as good followers. It is extremely important to have the ability to step back from the leadership role and listen to another person who is in charge. The course really tested your ability to communicate with one another, fully think out a plan as well as devise a back-up plan as need be, and listen to one another. It strengthened each and every one of us as leaders and as team members.

After the course was complete, we continued onto what was called the TBOC or Team Building Obstacle Course. We were placed back in our original teams and walked through the course which included running through tires, do a low and tunnel crawl, jumping over a series of obstacles, balance beams and a small rope swing. While we were walking through the whole course seemed like it was going to take a long time.

As we began to run through it and work together through the obstacles, we were all done the course in under ten minutes, with the fastest group time being just over seven minutes. It was amazing what team work and perseverance could do. We all came out dirty, covered in bumps and bruises but most people were ready to go at it again. Although we were not able to do it again, running through that course was a true test of our ability to work as a team. The rest of the night was spent playing baseball, participating in another agility relay race and ending the night with a bonfire. The bonfire serves as a time for us to get together and talk about our experiences of the day and get to know each other a little further. Stories were shared by Will Reynolds the National Capital Regional Chief Ranger. During the evening bon-fire, NCR Regional Chief Will Reynolds educated us on what challenge coin was and its history and traditions. He then honored the team leaders by presenting them each a coin for their leadership efforts. Ranger Dave awarded 3 challenge coins to the ProRangers who inspired the entire group. As we gathered around the bonfire to reflect, we are constantly recognizing how lucky we are to be part of this program. The lessons that we are learning will help us along our path through life. Written by Team Leader Cailin Bean. Photos by Victoria Sweet.

No comments:

Post a Comment