Teeter-Totter Initiative

On the first day of the course, at Taconic Outdoor Recreation Center in the Catskills, Outward Bound
®'s initiatives help students get to know one another, bond as a team, and develop trust with one another. They are also designed to emphasize new ways of solving problems and different ways of thinking that are useful to engineers and scientists. Most often, they challenge students in physical and emotional ways they might not have expected and prepare them for the challenges to come. One student noted: "The initiatives taught me it is okay to accept these challenges and to accept help from others."

Engineering Issues Addressed

Trust Fall Initiative

"I learned to deal with people I don't know."

"When we talked about our presentation and we shared our feelings so freely, the trust within the group was felt."

"I learned more about teamwork and trust. Mostly, through the circle and egg initative."

"Trust and relationships were built by doing all of the activities."

100% of the male participants felt that their willingness to trust others increased as a result of the 1998 initiatives (an increase from 71% in 1996).


"I learned team problem solving -- maximizing the resources at one's disposal to solve a problem."

"Engineering requires step-by-step problem-solving. The course definitely trained us well in this aspect.

Working Together

"The group all worked together and wanted to succeed very badly."

"I was hoping to develop skills in opening up to others and dealing with large group situations. I feel now that I've done this, and I'll be more willing to try situations I would usually back away from."

"I felt like I became really close to the members of my group in such a short period of time and I never expected to have as great a time as I did."

"I've improved my team skills, listening, coalition building, not dropping out when I don't get heard."

71% of the male participants felt that they felt more close to others as a result of the 1998 initiatives (the same result as in 1996).

Initiatives Raft Building High Ropes
Gender Discussion Hiking and Orienteering Participants Photos