The Character Movement

Students using teamwork to overcome a the Giant Jump Rope Challenge

Teamwork is another name for community

By Sarah Gavigan, Youth Frontiers Communications Specialist

Icebreakers. Warm-up games. Whether you’re hot or cold about these, you can’t deny that they require one thing to succeed — teamwork. Every day on Youth Frontiers retreats, our staff members lead students and educators in games designed to break down their social barriers and build each other up. One such game is the star of our Courage Retreat — the Giant Jump Rope Challenge.

One crowd of kids. One twirling rope. One goal — get everyone to pass under a spinning jump rope without getting hit or suffer the consequence of … having everyone start all over. Some venture alone. Others grab the hand of a friend for support. A few sway with the rope, teetering on their toes several times before making a mad dash. Others squeeze their eyes shut and hope for the best. Whatever their method, one thing unites them — they only win if they all win.

Ironically, the jump rope challenge is a huge hit with the students, packing all the fun and excitement of a competitive game. But we play the game for more than just the sport of it.  After talking about courage all day, about supporting one another, the jump rope challenge gives students an immediate opportunity to exercise that value. By playing the game, they collectively face a social fear — the fear of letting down one’s self and letting down others — and must support each other in order to triumph. Ultimately, the game illustrates that an intimidating challenge can be overcome with a little bit of courage and a whole lot of teamwork, which is really just another name for community. That’s what Youth Frontiers is all about.

“I really enjoyed the jump rope challenge. Although it seemed like a fun and simple challenge, it was actually a lot more. This challenge showed me just how important teamwork is. We truly have to help each other in order to succeed. Thank you so much for coming to our school to each, inspire and change lives, mine included.”


— Courage Retreat Student Participant, Madison, Wisc.

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