About Team Craft


Team Building Faqs

NOTE: Given the many types of programs we provide, and the many locations we serve, the answers below are very general in nature, and do not apply in all circumstances. For specific answers to questions about a particular program at a specific location, please contact us directly.
We do not have a set per person cost for programs. Instead, each program's cost is determined after we discuss your specific request, and we then send you an email describing program options and costs. We have a fee schedule that we reference related to relative group size, program length, and location. Other factors also come into play relative to program types, especially staffing requirements. Some programs, like a Ropes Challenge Course, require one facilitator per 15 participants, whereas a Team Tournament may only need one facilitator for 50 people. The fewer the participants and the shorter the program, the per person cost will be higher per hour than for larger groups and longer programs. We aim to be very cost conscious and competitive, without compromising quality.

It is difficult for people who are not familiar with the genre to compare programs and the various providers in the field. By default, cost may become the deciding factor. We suggest further consideration, as we do not aim to be the low cost provider, but rather the greatest value provider.

Non-profit charitable and educational organizations and government agencies receive a discount of from 10% to 25%, relative to how much we can justify reducing a program price, given our basic costs. We respect and appreciate the good work and services to our communities, and aim to show our appreciation by reducing, if not eliminating, our potential profit from our involvement.

For anyone else on a fixed budget, it makes sense to let us know what your constraints are from the outset. Our objective is to give you the best program to meet your needs given your constraints. We don't charge a client more or less simply because they can afford more or less, so openness about a fixed budget is appropriate from the outset. We aim to find a formula to meet your needs and that totally appreciates your situation. If you know you have a certain budget you need to stay within, it makes sense to tell us up front, as we may be able to offer a variation in program design that can save money. If it reduces quality in some way, we will let you know what the trade off would be, so you can make an informed decision. If after we've quoted a price, you need to ask for a lower cost in order to obtain approval, it doesn't hurt to ask.

We conduct our programs in activity teams with from three to fifteen participants in each. Different program types are designed for different team sizes. Most programs are made up of multiple teams. So, unless there is a constraint related to a location, theoretically, there is no upper limit to the number of participants in a program. When you inquire about a program and let us know the group size, the price quote will be based on the number of participants. However, if the actual number on the day of the event is a few more or less, we work to accommodate the difference without affecting the program cost that was previously agreed to.
Most often, for most programs, the client chooses the program location. We can arrange for the program needs with the coordination staff at your chosen location. If you have no location in mind, we can suggest one for you. Given the mobile nature of most of our programs, except City Sleuths, location is a matter of preferences: indoors or outside. Of course Raft Craft needs a body of water. With City Sleuths, we can suggest great ending locations. We will identify relevant information related to location in our proposal.

Team Craft does have cooperating relationships with some great hotels, resorts, and executive conference centers. However, we are not facility bound, nor do we provide food or lodging services. We can suggest options and refer you to them, so you can make suitable arrangements. We can then coordinate with those locations as appropriate.

The length of a program is identified in the activity description information. The InterActive Teams and Team Initiative programs are the most flexible, time wise, and can be conducted in from 2 to 7 hours. Team Tournament programs vary in-length, given the time requirements to effectively complete the specific challenge for the particular tournament. Once a time has been agreed upon for a specific activity, a request to shorten a program may require substituting a different format. Some longer programs like Trail Blazers and Movie Studio can be conducted in stages with breaks in the action to better accommodate your schedule needs.
We like to be able to respond to any request, and we have conducted programs with a couple days notice. However, given staff schedules, programs are best agreed to at least three weeks in advance. To ensure the likelihood of getting an event scheduled for a specific date, most groups plan their programs at least two months in advance.
Often people call us with exactly what they want in mind. With nine different Team building formats, several seminar topics, and many other options to consider, it's often worthwhile to explore your options before you decide what you want to do. Customization is a foundation to our service, such that a program format is a template upon which we arrange a program specific to your needs. We talk over your interests and typically propose a few program options that can meet your group's needs and goals in different ways.
When you decide you want to commit to a program, Team Craft sends you a Letter of Agreement that specifies the basic details of the program that you requested. An invoice accompanies this agreement. Upon your review and approval you return a signed agreement to Team Craft. No specific date, personnel, or resources can be committed to a client until a signed agreement is returned to Team Craft. When we receive the agreement back, we e-mail you a confirmation. Specific details of the program agenda and schedule are typically completed after the agreement is returned. This process is typically done by e-mail.
Rain is not a common problem. However, we are prepared to have alternatives ready if inclement weather is a strong possibility. We aim to anticipate these problems and make alternative arrangements 48 hours in advance. If it is possible to switch from an outdoor option to an indoor options with minimal distractions, as in an InterActive Teams program, then as long as the client has arranged for the indoor space, we can bring it indoors. Since the client chooses the date, location, and type of program, costs associated with rain adjustments are typically borne by the client. If you are working with one of our partner meeting locations, the indoor back-up space is often part of the agreement, as available.

InterActive Team programs can be conducted either indoors or outdoors, so if it rains, we will be prepared to move the program indoors. We take responsibility to modify the program to best meet your objectives if we have to move it indoors. Other program formats can often be conducted in spite of rain like City Sleuths or Movie Studio. It is possible to switch form a format like Raft Craft to an indoor program like The Egg Games with a day or two advance preparation. We have a thorough "Rain Policy" that details all the factors to consider. This is available to prospective clients during the planning process.

Each program overview describes the basic flow of each program. Several have a sample schedule provided with the description. Since several program formats have varying durations, the schedule can be flexible, relative to the format. The start and end times are part of the Letter of Agreement. If the program is split into segments to accommodate your schedule, those times are agreed upon in the Letter as well. Given that different things happen in any particular program, what happens between the start and end of a program is best left to the facilitators at the program to manage as they see fit, given the plan agreed to ahead of time.
Typically the client organizes the teams before the program.

The most typical arrangement is to have teams made up with people from across the organization, so participants can get to meet new people at the program and expand their informal network back at work - a major benefit of doing an activity like this. We can do a random selection activity at the outset, if you prefer.

It can also makes a lot of sense to have intact teams do the program as a team, so that what they observe and learn can be applied directly to their work situation. When they participate as a team they will tend to reach agreement about what they experienced together and have more likelihood to act on it together back at work. If they are split up on different teams during the program and don't share the same experience, the shared motivation probably won't be as great.

We provide a PDF containing a schedule and description of many of the activities that can be selected to include in the program. The client can select activities that best suit a group's preferences, and we can suggest or select activities for your program. We can also allow each facilitator in a large program to select activities specific to each team. Whichever approach you feel best meets your needs is how activities will be selected.
Much of what makes for effective teamwork has a lot to do with how people interact at meetings to share information, brainstorm ideas, make decisions and develop action plans. An Annual Corporate Meeting provides a great opportunity to model new meeting skills that people can take back to their work groups. We can work with you to take your agenda and turn it into an experiential and action learning process* that will add value to the session beyond the information you share. The meeting tools we use are well documented and easily transferable to the workplace. We can also be available as a resource to help with the transfer to the workplace. Ask us for more details. *See last entry in the FAQs.
The Team Craft team consists of highly experienced professionals from the fields of training, teaching, and counseling. Since we operate our programs in small activity teams, large programs will have several Team Craft staff, each working with one or two activity teams. Team Craft staff are professional facilitators with credentials for what we do. Our staff have direct experience in the work setting and advanced degrees in the study of interpersonal behavior and organization design.*

We know how to ask good questions, get everyone involved in the process, and, at times - most important - know when to step back and let the group be itself. Discussions that follow activities are designed to lead the group to figure out what is most applicable to their work setting; not what an outsider might assume to be important. And we know how to keep the process fun and insightful - no matter what happens. Background information on Team Craft staff can be found at "About Team Craft". You may request a specific staff person if you like.

Simply put, good team building programs help to develop effective work relationships and promote understanding of effective team process, relevant to the people involved. A good team building experience is more effective than an information seminar or a motivational talk by providing an environment where people actually get to know each other and have productive discussions about how to improve their team process. Experience based in behavior in an activity is more effective in encouraging new behavior than any talk based session.

It is important to set realistic expectations about what can be achieved in a short time frame. Very short programs (2.5 hours or less) can act as ice breakers or theme setters at the start of a meeting. Half day programs (3 to 4.5 hours) provide great opportunities for relationship building and can suggest ways a group can improve its performance. Longer programs (4.5 to 8 hours) actually allow teams to identify new work processes and have a greater likelihood of having key learnings transferred to work situations. A program to effectively address conflict within a team typically needs more than one day to resolve the situation.

We believe that the best learning occurs when learners own responsibility for it from the very begriming. In effect, people get more out a program when they are personally invested in it. If people come expecting us to do something to them, making us responsible for their outcome, then they won't likely act on their experience. We encourage participants at the outset to identify what they personally and collectively want to get out of a program. At the end of a program (relative to time availability and setting) we take time to have participants identify their key learnings and help them identify ways they can take action back at work.

People who leave clearly understanding their responsibility to make a difference are more likely to make it happen. We are very grateful for the complimentary feedback we get on a regular basis from people telling us how our program contributed to their success. But they made it happen, not us. We provided a positive catalyst, they made the transformation.

Much has been done to ensure the fundamental integrity of safety systems related to outdoor experiential programs. When these systems are employed, the degree of danger is negligible. Team Craft has a spotless safety record in over twenty years of operation (no insurance claims for injury or accidents).

Some people are concerned for their safety. How do you ensure our safety?

It is extremely rare for someone to become injured during a program. In over twenty years at Team Craft we have noted only a handful of injuries in total, ranging from a strained back to a cut finger. Nothing more serious. Injuries that do occur in this field are almost always related to a previous condition, resulting in a recurrent injury. To eliminate this possibility, we require every participant in potentially rigorous physical activities to complete a short medical history and sign an acknowledgement of risk form. We emphasize that each person needs to carefully monitor their own level of involvement, and not to do anything that, given the safety briefing and their own assessment, would put them and others at risk. We have found that participants monitor themselves well, and we encourage restraint. We want our programs to be fun and enjoyable. Fear of injury or intimidation has no place in our programs.

The Challenge By Choice option is employed in all of our programs. Part of our Letter of Agreement stipulates that participation in any part of any Team Craft program is up to each individual's own personal choice. Peer pressure is not to override this option. The activities are of a nature that most people can participate with the expectation that they can achieve the objective. But some folk simply shouldn't for good reason, and along the way a participant may choose to curtail their involvement. This is always an option in our programs, though it is extremely rare. In the context of everything that happens in a program, opting out of a particular activity presents its own opportunity for positive learning. If someone chooses not to participate in a particular activity, we identify a support role for that person to play, so that he or she remains an active participant in the group process.

Since 2011, Team Craft has focused it's Ropes Challenge Course offerings to ground level Team Initiatives and our InterActive Teams formats. High Ropes and off the ground activities that involve swinging on a rope are no longer part of our program. Team Craft programs are open to participants of college age and older.

Given the effort to promote safety and efficacy within the field, much has been done to standardize the technology used on a ropes course. However, the ropes course is different from other standardized activity devices (like at an amusement park) in that they are tools designed to promote interpersonal skill development.

The benefits from a "ropes course" are not inherent in the mere fact that you used the device. How the activity is facilitated to promote your specific learning objectives relates to the skills of the experiential educators who are providing the program. Team Craft staff are highly experienced professional facilitators knowledgeable in both the experiential learning process and the dynamics of many work environments. We have developed a refined methodology that uses this environment to promote an effective team problem solving process for adult work groups.

Our programs focus on adult learning pedagogy. The vast majority of our "ropes course" programs are, in fact, InterActive Teams programs (see our team building programs listings). This format focuses on ground level activities that involve two teams challenged to solve a problem sharing the same goal and resources. It is designed to reflect the dynamics of many work settings. These programs are very mobile and can be conducted indoors as well as outside. You can be assured that a Team Craft program is of the highest quality available for adult learning applied to adult work groups.

Experiential Learning is a field of knowledge that focuses on the practices and processes for using direct experience to promote personal and interpersonal understanding and growth. Team building is a field within corporate training and development that promotes the use of effective processes in communication, problem solving, and organizational awareness within and across groups in an organization.

Some people think of any social event that they provide to their employees as a form of Team Building. A sense of purpose and design can help make these events useful, but they are not Experiential Team Building just because they involve an activity. Team Craft Experiential Team Building Programs are designed to combine the pedagogy of experiential learning with the skill sets of corporate Team building to provide a highly effective means of internalizing interpersonal and problem solving skills among program participants. Our experiential learning process is inherently fun and engaging, as well as insightful and educative.

Is this the same thing as Action Learning? Action learning has grown in popularity as a concept in the past decade due in large part to the phenomenon of The Fifth Discipline. Based on the work of Chris Argyris at Harvard and Peter Senge at MIT, Action Learning has its roots in systems theory and more formal organizational development. It is useful to think of Action Learning as the ongoing process of organizational learning back at the workplace that we can promote and encourage through Experiential Team Building Programs. The two approaches are very complimentary and share many of the same principals for promoting effective adult learning.
Is it the same thing as holistic learning?

Holistic learning promotes the theorem that people learn best when they are engaged using multiple senses - and multiple intelligences. If we are promoting skill sets based on behaviors, then the learning process would most effectively employ our intellect, our physical actions, and our emotions. The learning likely needs to occur on all three levels - and be integrated as a "mind-set". Experiential Learning is an effective form of holistic learning. Employing the ideas of multiple intelligences, we take into account the learning orientation of our participants. Do they learn best with special consideration toward language (i.e., international groups), logic (i.e., engineers or marketers), space (location - indoors or outdoors), or kinesthetics (types of body movement)? We adapt our programs in consideration of our learners.

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