Recently we took our Youth group to a High Ropes Challenge course in the area. There ended up being a miscommunication issue that caused a misunderstanding with the logistics related to everyone in our group being able to actually participate in the challenge course.
For those who manage groups on one side of the coin and an organization that has to plan in order to accommodate those groups, it can be difficult. It was difficult to get an accurate number of how many were actually coming from our Youth group in an ample amount of time for the organization to prepare and have the right amount of staff available. We ended up having more students than they had facilitators to safely take students through the course. We made it work though. In order for 7 of our students to not have to sit out we quickened the pace (more than normal) for the other 3 groups so that these 7 extra students could participate. (There weren’t 7 specific students to blame because how we had students sign up for this event didn’t leave 7 students on the bottom, it was just that the organization had planned for 30 students and we brought 37). This was more our group’s fault and we worked with the camp to see how we could make it happen where everyone could participate.
None of our 37 students were aware of the reshuffling or that there was even an issue. It was something the adults handled and worked out among themselves (this could be a post with a lesson in and of itself).
And it worked… for a little while.
We ended up making 4 total groups. 2 groups had 10 students each, while the other 2 groups had 9 students each (we had an adult leader who jumped in on one group).
The fourth group of 9 consistent of all middle school girls. This was the group that felt, more than any other group, the consequences of our two organizations’ misunderstanding. They had to wait and watch for a while… a lot longer than was ideal… especially for middle school girls… and they got antsy.
At some point in the waiting, I felt it was important to let them in on what happened, apologize to them for it, and create a teaching opportunity our of it.
I gathered the girls together and told them what happened (the Cliff-notes version) and apologized that they were the ones who were suffering the consequences (they were the one who had to wait while all the other groups were moving along nicely).
Then I asked an important question:
“How do you respond to things that happen to you that are out of your control?”
This question was meant to capitalize on the uncomfortable-ness of the moment because something had happened to them that was out of their control. This question sparked a great 5-minute discussion about how they each act when things happen that is out of their control. And they were really honest about their responses! It was great!
What a gift to be able to step outside of yourself and ask why you react the way you do in certain uncomfortable situations. It was great learning moment for them. 5 minutes was just long enough to have a worthwhile discussion and response time and just short enough to keep middle school girls engaged.