The experts have weighed in, and “Zoom fatigue” is real. But corporate managers and group organizers are still left to grapple with the challenge of building rapport and cohesiveness among their teams while still being COVID-safe.
New venues like YMCA Camp Moody may be just the answer, providing opportunities for in-person gatherings while enabling ample social distancing in indoor and outdoor spaces across the 85-acre facility. Better still, organizational leaders will appreciate the many unique and surprising benefits that teambuilding activities in an outdoor setting can provide.
Located just off IH-35 in Buda and only 15 miles from downtown Austin, Camp Moody features dramatic limestone outcrops along with beautiful bald cypress trees lining the banks of Onion Creek, which flows year-round. Native flora and fauna create a living laboratory for further exploration and discovery.
“We can support any size group from small to large,” says Rob Albini, YMCA Camp Moody Program Director. “We collaborate with each business or group to create tangible goals and a customizable experience. We discuss different programmatic themes or activity options and then facilitate to make sure everything is conducted safely and according to plan.”
Camp Moody offers an indoor meeting space as well as large covered outdoor pavilion. Activities range from ropes course and zipline to canoeing, archery, orienteering or even swimming. And if a group just wants to kick back over a campfire along the tree-covered meadow beside the creek, they can do that too.
Albini says the benefits of simply being in nature are already well documented, including lower stress levels, greater mental focus and improved mood. But the benefits of outdoor teambuilding activities are not as well known, such as:
- New problem-solving challenges – Outdoor settings create new opportunities for collective problem-solving, delegation, trust and self-reliance. Team members can apply their existing knowledge and skills to new situations.
- Improved communication skills – Removed from phone, text, email and video, your team members have to speak to each another directly, share ideas, read body language and nonverbal cues, and then develop a plan.
- Stronger office relationships – Once they enter a new setting, people often leave behind professional concerns and break down silos that exist in the office. Coupled with the improved communications and collective problem-solving, the activities forge new and stronger relationships.
- New roles and new skills – The environment also removes existing office hierarchy and enables different team members to lead and delegate. This presents opportunities to take on new responsibilities, build confidence and develop leadership skills. As a bonus, new organizational leaders may emerge through their performance, whether by taking charge effectively, building consensus or delegating.
- Increased productivity – Outdoor activities are based on creating team spirit, encouraging lateral thinking, and responding under pressure. All these skills will automatically enhance your team’s performance.
Groups and businesses interested in learning more about Camp Moody can contact Albini at (512) 523-9640 or Robert.Albini@AustinYMCA.org. The Y will also be conducting a “So Close, Yet So Far Out” sweepstakes through April 30 when they’ll select one organization to receive a free group retreat. To enter, participants must simply complete the form on this page.
The Camp Moody property was donated to the YMCA of Austin by George Yonge in 1999 with the desire to establish a camp for kids to explore the great outdoors. The facility is now open and hosts health and wellness programming, summer and holiday camp sessions, family campouts, family adventure days and group/corporate retreats.
More information is available at www.ymcacampmoody.org.