Team-building training at the bottom of the Grand Canyon – UNITY, Inc.

Team-building training at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

“Don’t step on a landmine!,” said Mary Kim Titla, UNITY’s executive director. She was speaking to educators and staff at the Havasupai Elementary School participating in a team-building exercise. The landmine exercise involved an obstacle course ridden with imaginary land mines (plastic cups). Teams of two people, one blindfolded, were instructed to navigate their way through the course without hitting a land mine. The exercise is designed to build communication skills and trust.

Titla conducted team-building exercises for the small school staff working in the Havasupai village, which is located deep in the heart of the Grand Canyon. The only ways to reach the village are hiking for five hours, riding a horse or by helicopter. Titla was transported to the village by helicopter. About 639 tribal members live in Havasupai.

Team building exercises are used to help develop cohesive working relationships resulting in bonds that enable employees to accomplish the work and goals of their organization more effectively than a non-bonded group. The adult training is meant to motivate and guide adults in order to boost team performance. Simple exercises can help build skills like communication, planning, problem-solving and conflict resolution.

“The last time I visited Havasupai was more than 15 years ago as a TV News Reporter. The village was devastated by flooding. Many of the villagers had to be evacuated. I’m happy to see the village thriving. There are new projects under construction. The elementary school has a high turnover rate but the staff I worked with are committed and eager to start the school year. I wish them all the best in the coming year,” Titla said.

White in Havasupai, Titla met with the tribe’s Chairman Muriel Uqualla-Coochytewa.Their visit included a discussion about the development of a youth council.