With the aftermath of the Olympic hype leaving us pining for all things athletic, CCC were thrilled when Richard Hill, MBE, former flanker for Saracens and England Rugby Union, approached our team and asked us to work with the future stars of the rugby world.
Often portrayed as the 'silent assassin', Hill was legendary in Rugby Union circles and one of the most respected players in the world. After playing his last game for Saracens in 2008, Richard now coaches the Under 18s team in the Academy, developing the next breed of Saracens stars. He approached CCC wanting to test the team as part of their pre-season tour and felt that team building was the way to go - and who better to take on that challenge than the Team Building Company of the Year?
Richard was keen to see how his young athletes reacted to challenges that took them 'out of their comfort zones'. Training with the boys at least four times a week, Richard said he was well aware of how they behaved on the pitch and the dynamics of the group during a match, but he wanted us to delve deeper and push them to their limits to see what they were really capable of when they weren't playing rugby.
Knowing that nothing brings a group like this together more than a bit of high-pressured challenge and instinctive survival action, we created a bespoke event based on our popular Bushcraft and Time Tracker events, and it certainly seemed to fit the bill.
On what was possibly the windiest, rainiest, most miserable of Wednesday mornings in Wales, the boys were introduced to some basic survival techniques; knife skills, fire lighting and spear throwing - and the weather at Hill End Campsite couldn't have been more realistic of a true test of survival!
The results of each task then earned the teams various ingredients for their own lunches (what better way to motivate a group of teenage lads than with the promise of food!)
After sausages, spuds and spices had been won, the boys were then challenged to work together with some very basic tools to cook their own outdoor lunch, which definitely turned out to be the furthest from their comfort zone they could possibly be - and seeing as we ourselves only had these meals to feast on, it certainly became the most frightening challenge of the day for us all!
When chatting with Richard a bit later he commented:
"It was very interesting, to say the least, over the lunch break when there were quite a lot of decisions to make. I don't know how many decisions there actually are to make about cooking sausages - it was certainly an alien concept to them!"
Once everyone had refueled, the second part of the day took the group through some orienteering skills, searching for checkpoints hidden all over the site and completing fast-paced, race-against-time challenges. Intrigued, Richard and the coaching team tried their hand at a few of the tasks, and I think they'd prefer that we didn't tell you that they needed more than a little help... but you didn't hear that from me!
The finale of the day saw the teams culminating all their new-found skills as we threw them into a high-pressured, role play scenario where they had to rescue 'casualties' from the sand dunes. The teams had to build a basic stretcher, bring their casualties back to base and then construct a shelter using limited tools. There were given next to no time to prepare so that we could observe how quickly the teams managed to make potentially life-saving decisions and if they were able to keep calm under the pressure of a panicked (and screaming!) casualty.
Revelling in the opportunity to play hero, the boys really stepped up to the mark on this one, sprinting into the distance without hesitation to get our 'casualties' back to base camp in a matter of minutes. There was a real sense of satisfaction seeing all the teams come together so strongly in their final challenge and there was plenty of entertainment from the 'casualties' dramatic performances.
When asked about his expectations for the day Richard went on to say:
"It's been a great day organised by CCC - they've come in, organised everything from the word go and they're very professional. We literally turned up with our team and have just gone with the flow - and it has flowed exceptionally well and we are really pleased with the outcomes today."
All in all it was a pleasure working with Richard and his team, and we look forward to cheering on some of the guys to victory in the starting line up next year (with their new-found team building skills of course!)
If you think you and your colleagues would benefit from this kind of event why not give our friendly team a call on 0845 006 06 06 and ask about our outdoors events, or you can have a look at our 75+ award-winning team builds on our website.