“I always felt part of the team throughout the course”.
Jackie, a member of a departmental team who visited Brathay recently for a two day development programme, gave us the feedback we wanted. Jackie needed support with balance and mobility; she didn’t need any help after that to contribute fully to the programme, whatever the team decided to challenge themselves with; lake or land, they participated together.
One of the challenges of using an experiential approach to team development, especially in the outdoors, has been to ensure that everyone feels involved and contributes equally. At Brathay, we have always prided ourselves in our ability to tailor programmes that involve the use of the outdoors; and a significant part of the design element is ensuring we are not testing physical prowess, bravery or any other skill that is specific to being able to survive on water, mountains or up a high ropes obstacle.
So we were delighted when we were recently funded for a range of aids to make our programmes even more inclusive; we are very clear that we are not set up to cater for groups of disabled people, for which there are many excellent specialist facilities. Our aim is to ensure that when a department decide to undertake a team development event, a team member who may have limited mobility, or perhaps balance, for whatever reason, can feel safe and contribute in the same way their colleagues do.
So, from the time the participants step off the tarmac, we aim to provide an outdoor experience that is exciting, enjoyable, challenging for everyone, and impossible for no one. We have selected equipment that is discreet and enjoyable to use, and most of all provides as much independence as anyone else in the group has while on the programme.
For Jackie, the use of an “Aquaback”, a seat designed to be used in boats to provide the wearer with extra support and reduce pressure on the back, made her participation a seamless experience, allowing her to focus completely on the activity and not any physical limitation.