Topics and Discussions
Before you Start
A look at what you can do before your group arrive to get ahead.
Thinking about your very first meeting with your groups.
Both a theoretical look and a series of activities to help your groups warm up, get to know each other and get stuck in.
Making it Brief
Thinking about how you brief a group, how you structure your communications with them, what to include and what to leave out.
£20 +VAT per person
Invoicing available on request.
Contact Sam (email@example.com / 01249 814338) at Totem for more information or to book.
Off with a Bang Jan 13 Flyer, please feel free to download and distribute.
As part of their ‘Looking at Leadership’ programme, apprentices from O2 had to compose a limerick on the topic of leadership. We were so impressed by their poem that we thought we’d share it here.
Totem team members Simon and Becky have spent the winter living, working and playing in the French Alps. In between early morning powder runs, ice climbs and digging the car out of the snow, Simon has sent us word of their own LittleBigAdventure.
I love adventures. My definition of an adventure is a journey with an uncertain outcome, one where you aren’t really sure if you can make it happen. Conditions on route, our ability to solve the difficulties we encounter or any number of a hundred and one other things night stop us, but we’re going to try anyway.
When deep snow covers the mountains it is virtually impossible to navigate on foot unless you enjoy wading through powder snow and sinking up to your waist every few steps. This problem was solved thousands of years ago with the invention of skis and the addition of skins. The ability to glide uphill with each step and not slide back is at once magical, mystical and really hard work. As much as I love the convenience ski-lifts it is so much more satisfactory to do all the ascent and descent myself. Read More
“A machine is a great moral educator. If a horse or a donkey won’t go, men lose their tempers and beat it; if a machine won’t go, there is no use beating it. You have to think and try till you find what is wrong. That is real education.”
This is a great quote from Gilbert Murray and is certainly true of machines. However, we also believe its sentiment is true of the outdoors.
Does this work?
“The outdoors is a great moral educator. If people make their lives difficult, men lose their tempers and argue; if the outdoors makes your life difficult, there is no use arguing. You have to think and try till you find what is wrong. That is real education.”
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
-Teddy Roosevelt, US President
They have only five sentences to do it, with a suggested structure, and they are encouraged to write it in the form of a five line limerick, poem or song.
The suggested structure is: “I was/wasn’t expecting, I most enjoyed, The thing I found most challenging, My biggest learning point was, In the workplace I am now going to”
The poem below was written by a telecoms apprentice, who has kindly given us permission to share it here. We were impressed with his honestly, his self reflection and his rhyming skills, and all written after a 10 hour mountain day and with only 45 minutes notice!
Hope you enjoy it a much as we did.
I was expecting a challenge, people to be tested, possibly even sick,
I wasn’t expecting a day to feel like a week and yet the the end to come so quick,
I most enjoyed the bonding with my comrades on that ‘stroll’,
The hardest thing for me, I think, was owning less control,
I learnt the power of organisation and communicating needs,
Now at work I’ll focus and question, support to nurture, rise to challenge
Yet fundamentally still be me.
While fun and relaxing, Christmas often lacks much in the way of excitement. To counteract this, a handful of Totem staff, clients and friends set off on the 29th December 2012 to stay in the woods for the night. The ethics were simple.
- No tents
- No stoves
- Leave the woods as we found them
Full Photo Set on Flickr
Arriving shortly before the sun set, we used the last of its light to prepare our new home.
Some put up the tarps, a large one produced a dry space for living under while some smaller ones provided shelter for when we eventually went to bed. Others dug a trench for the fire and used the precious dry kindling we’d brought to get a welcome, flickering source of light and heat going. Twenty minutes of concerted effort from everyone, a hand saw and an axe ensured we had a substantial woodpile to last us the night.
With sun now gone and the fire blazing, attention turned to food and drink. A demi-john of apple wine was decanted into a pot and left to warm on the edge of the embers. Billy-cans of chilli and stew were placed closer to the middle of the fire and jacket potatoes wrapped in foil balanced precariously on a platform made of sticks. Before long everybody was cradling mugs of steaming apple wine and tucking into plates, bowls and mugs full of stew and jacket potatoes.
By now the earlier rain had eased off and an almost-full moon was rising, casting moon-shadows amongst the trees. By its light it was possible to read labels on bottles with no assistance from artificial sources. In the eerie blue glow and by the light of the flickering fire we tucked into a pudding of bananas and chocolates baked on the fire. From a rucksack some excellent cheese was produced and, along with a ‘wee dram’ or two, a fine meal was rounded off.
As the whiskey and wine flowed, so did the stories, from tall-tales of past adventures, to plans for the future, we sat in the light of the fire and relished where we were, and when. While perhaps not a plan for every night, to escape reality television, leftover turkey and well-meaning relatives for a night and return to a more primitive state felt, for us, the height of luxury.
The arrival of a cold front meant the temperature plummeted to just above zero and eventually, around midnight, we were driven to our beds. Climbing into bivi-bags, swaddled in layers of down, with just eyes and the occasional hat poking out we dozed off to sleep listening to powerful winds shaking the trees all around us.
To those who came, we salute your sense of adventure and thank-you for your company. For those who didn’t but wish they had, let us know and we’ll make sure you get your invitation next year!
Photo Geeks: All the photos were shot using a low-light hack on a Panasonic Lumix, with no flash. Example settings: 1/1000 ƒ/1.7 ISO 12800