Going Native – Employee Engagement, Thrive Style!

Team Building the Thrive way is not what you would expect, but I’d hazard a guess that you knew this already.

Courtesy of the fantastic Ashcroft Park and their excellent facility deep in the Staffordshire Moorlands, Thrive took themselves off to learn bushcraft and its basic skills. It was soon apparent after putting camouflaged overalls on and daubing paint across our faces that it wasn’t going to be a normal afternoon.

Bushy Pete (our guide) first showed us the many ways to start a fire. There was the chemical option which involved potassium permanganate and the slightly more natural way which involved gathering twigs, using tinder and kapok and hoping for the best. Starting fires was not as easy as it looked however, and everybody tried a different technique. Jonny used his lighter but Dave went completely native with the boy scouts favourite, bow drill. Julie got high off the fumes from the potassium and Ewan, using naturally flammable pine wood, was ten minutes away from calling the local fire brigade.

After valiant efforts at fire starting, we moved onto building dens. Bushy Pete taught us the basics which involved finding one big branch and hooking it on two smaller branches, creating an A-frame. It’s amazing to see different personality traits surface when challenged with making dens. Charlotte, Lucy and Julie quickly sourced cover from the nearby bracken in a very resourceful and methodical way. Matt and Jonny teamed up and decided to make a mega-sized den, spread across two big trees. Dave went big as well whilst I, surprisingly went for small and compact. And as for Ewan, he’d still be in the forest building and perfecting his architecturally engineered shelter if we hadn’t had to move on to our final activity – full scale war!

Armed with lasers and the odd personal vendetta, Thrive headed into the natural playground and split into two teams – Account Management (Team Awesome) vs Designers and Developers (Team Geek). After two warm up games of Catch the Flag, we moved onto Bridge Battle. This involved a flag being draped over a barrel in the middle of a footbridge and the objective was to make sure the flag was on your opponent’s side of the barrel after 10 minutes of tactical combat.

Needless to say, it didn’t end well. Galia, Charlotte and Matt put up brave efforts to stealthily drop the flag over to the opposite side, whilst Julie endured merciless fire from Jonny and Lucy on the flanks.

As the time ticked down to one minute left, Dave and I launched an offensive. Holding the flag, both of us sprinted forward towards the middle of the bridge, Jonny and Ewan recoiling in horror as I launched the flag over the barrel. Unfortunately for Dave, the barrel bit back and in a fatal sequence Dave tripped over it, forcing myself to fall over Dave and in turn onto Jonny who had valiantly stayed by the barrel. With the flag wrestled from my clutches, it was carried back onto our side of the bridge resulting in a resounding victory for Team Geek.

In the end, there were bruised bodies, sore limbs but some great big laughs as well.

Of course, none of this could be done without the excellent hosting of Jamie and his gang of merry men over at Ashcroft Park. More on what they offer can be found here

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