By Aaron J. Frantz
The Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center welcomes all teams and groups to join its custom team building and challenge course program. The program is intended to increase communication skills while also stimulating team chemistry.
R.J. Markowitz, coordinator of Youngstown State University’s Adventure Recreation, is the leader behind the program offered at YSU.
“The activities are structured in a way that they can go through an activity [or] challenge and then talk with the facilitator about the skills they used or didn’t use during the game,” Markowitz said. “They can then take what they learned and apply it to their real-world team.”
He said the addition of the high ropes course helped campus and community groups grow.
“The addition of the high ropes course gave groups the opportunity to grow together as a group while taking on a challenge together,” Markowitz said.
Bailey Simon, marketing major and student supervisor at the rec center, assists custom team building programs. His focus is to help teams communicate and function better as a team.
“We will have groups of various ages and sizes come through and play a lot of games,” Simon said. “We try to help build that chemistry, not only while they are in the program but after when they leave.”
Some of the other activities provided in the team-building program include climbing the rock wall, indoor or outdoor games and challenges. Games and challenges are curated for each team’s desires and are designed to encourage critical thinking, trust, communication, leadership and most importantly fun, even though it might seem scary to some.
“There might be a little bit of fear involved, but when they are able to face it as a group it really helps bond and unites a team together,” Simon said.
Markowitz said the custom team-building program has received nothing but positive feedback from the groups, teams and staff who have completed the program.
“The elevated course was indeed a challenge for each person in our group who participated. Watching those who were fearful find the courage to take part and be able to connect the physical challenge to life’s challenges was wonderful. The staff was excellent in making us feel safe and helping to reduce our anxiety,” Eastern Gateway summer program participants said.
Simon is passionate about the program and wants those who participate to have a good time while also sparking a team’s chemistry.
“When they build their chemistry and are able to see that they can work together and trust each other, everything starts to fall into place,” Simon said.