Can You Save Yourself?

I have written about this subject several times over the past years in our blogs.  Often when setting up for our kayaking adventures, it is hard not to ask different people at the kayak launch if they know what they are doing or not?  When we do, I often get a silly look or simply no response at all.  The simple matter of fact is that we witness lots of people go kayaking (or any other adventure) and they just are not prepared for all that can go wrong.   Twice this week, we had kayaking adventures that we canceled due to high winds (Small Craft Advisories) on the water.  As we were putting up our gear, both times we witnessed different persons or groups heading out into rough waters. 

Image result for Pictures for kayak rescues

Questions to ask yourself before you take off kayaking:

These are all important things to consider before you strike out on any adventure.  Being able to properly answer these questions can mean life or death if you are not prepared.  I know of other kayaking adventure businesses that once to twice a summer, save someone from a really bad situation and even drowning.  Bad things can happen quickly and if not prepared, things could turn out really bad for you. 

Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures.  They specialize in helping individuals, families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures.  Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure.  They provide kayaking adventures on Town CreekCape Fear River, Fort Fisher BasinMasonboro IslandBlack RiverHolly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek.  Oh, yes, we do rent kayaks also.  Contact them at for more information about all of their adventures.

Why is it so hard to work as a Team?

Over the past 15 year I have had the opportunity to lead a lot of different groups through teambuilding activities to help them come together as one.  This question that I ask is not meant to be some sort of deep physiological questions, but just my personal observations over time.  My question is; why is it so hard for use humans to work together on a team?  After much thought, I think the answer is very simple; we as humans find it difficult to put the groups needs (goals) above our own needs (goals).  In short, even on a team we still compete with each other rather as a whole.

You see, from my observation, we are selfish by nature and not team players.  All too often team members are competing against each other and not as a team with a focus.  When we are in completion like this, someone has to win and someone has to lose.   When this happens internally on any team, everyone loses when because the team can’t compete or function as it should.

Please don’t think that I believe that competition is a bad thing; I don’t.  However, in the wrong context, competition is bad.  Consider marriage as an example.  If a couple is continually competing with each other (one trying to make sure their needs are meet before the others), the marriage will not last.  All too often couples fail to think about what is best for the marriage, but only what is only best for the individual.  What is best for the marriage may not be the best for the person doing the pushing.  When you get two or more persons do this, things can spiral out of control quickly.

Pure competition means “I” win and someone looses.  We learn this lesson from an early age in life.  Where do we learn this lesson?  From the sports and other competitive activities our parent’s sign us up for as kids.  There we listen to our parents complain to the coach that their son or daughter is better than the player playing that key position, therefore their son or daughter should be playing that spot.

This is not how a team should work.  As a team member; the individual has to be willing to set their selfish, self-centered goals aside for the best of the group.  What happens all too often with groups we are lead through teambuilding activities, is that individuals sabotaged the efforts or disengaging with the team.  The reason I believe is that they feel their role is not important to the group.  Maybe the individuals did not fully understand what the others on the team needed or maybe they were rushed to do their job and provided something substandard.  The reasons can be many, but it boils down in most cases is the mentality of “Look out for number 1; me.”

Each of us want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, but we hesitate to truly engage in something bigger.  Why is that, because we are so used to putting our needs first!

Mahanaim Adventures provide excellent Project COPE (team building adventure) and other outdoor adventures to scouting groups, sports teams, church groups and corporate groups.  If you are having issues with your team or just want to take your team to the next level, contact us and we can help lead your team to that next level of working as a team

Don and Diane Harty are the owners of Mahanaim Adventures, the Cape Fear and Wilmington, NC areas premier outdoor adventure guide and kayaking business. Don and Joseph, son of Don and Diane, strive for each person on our adventures to have a “Positive & Memorable” experience. We offer quality half-day, full-day and overnight kayaking adventures. We also provide team building adventures and courses, as well as wilderness first aid classes to Boy Scouts and other groups.

Team Building and Fear of the Unknown.

Team 3

Over this past year Mahanaim Adventures, had the opportunity to take several different groups on either a kayak or on a high ropes team building event.  (The high ropes course is called COPE and the elements are the challenges on each COPE course)  Our events are designed to challenge each person and group to learn new skilled needed in successful team work.  As a COPE Course facilitator, one of the cool things I get to witness is how these folks with different prospective and backgrounds learn to come together as a team and solving some difficult challenges/elements.  To see learning taking place while having fun is really cool.

Our team building adventures, especially those that involve a COPE Course, challenges each person to learn new things but also to deal with known truth and overcome their fears.   This is especially true when each group walk the COPE Course and see the elements of the course for the very first time.  I have to admit myself that the first time saw the elements on my first course I was a bit scared.

I remember that these elements looked like fun, but I began to think what had I gotten myself and those who worked for me into.  You see, I had planned a team building adventure for those who reported to me when I working at UNCW.  At that time, our department had some radical changes forced on us and I really needed to challenge them to come together.  I knew at the time it was going to be hard work to deal with these forced changes and I know we had to do this as a team and no one person could do this themselves.   So I signed myself and my staff up for a COPE Course offered by the university.

When we got there that morning, I had not realized that it would be so challenging and I would have to deal with my fear of heights.  That morning I was forced to deal and act on what I knew to be true and to place my fear aside to help my team accomplish our goals.  In other words, I had to put my faith in what I had learned and knew was truth into action.  I was reminded that Faith is not faith at all, if that faith is not put into action.  This is the same no matter who you are.  You see, I had to act on what I knew to be TRUE and not let my feelings seize the moment.  Once I did that, I not only was I able to help lead my team through some challenge events, but I also realized something else.

team 2

That something else is what I call the excitement of real life.  The fun of accomplishing something that earlier some of us had said, “Yea, right, I’m not doing that”.  This was something that we had learned together.  We learned that even though something may be hard and scary, we can act on what we know to be true and move forward.  When we learn to do this, the challenge is still the same, but we learn we can overcome by working together, using each other strengths and having fun at the same time.  We learned that stepping out in faith does not get any easier time goes by, because challenges are constantly being through at us in Life.  Yet, those lessons learned on the high ropes course that morning helps each of us keep focusing on what is True and Right.

Where are you being challenged at today?  What Truth do you need to focus on so that you can take a step of faith and accomplish what scary challenge lies before you?

Team 1