OUTDOOR TRAINING CAMPUS
F.I.S.S.S. (Italian Federation of Sports and Experimental Survival) and the I.S.A. (International Survival Association), which owns and manages the Salgari Campus (Outdoor Experimental and Operational Center in the Turin hills), was the firsts in Italy to begin collaborating with behavioral psychosomatic and psychologists such as Enrico Rolla and Alessandro Meluzzi in the outdoor business training sector. The first project I.S.A.- Meluzzi “Eustress Executive Program” dates back to 1989 and the second I.S.A.-F.I.S.S.S.- Rolla “Wild life training” at the beginning of 2000.
After numerous experiences, experiments and collaborations with important companies like FIAT that wanted to adopt the Outdoor in managerial training, in recent years the I.S.A. has developed programs that are more agile, economical and effective in their own equipped camp which makes available to consultants and corporate training agencies. It is an O.T.C. (Outdoor Training Campus).
In addition to the typical outdoor experiences in the field of training (suspension bridges, climbing, shelters, rafts, zip line, fords, orienteering, etc.) special tools have been installed at the Salgari Campus, such as the Vietnamese labyrinth and the 3D climbing, suitable for testing and developing adaptability and problem solving skills. Here are also proposed various workshops and laboratories, chosen by the trainers, who lend themselves very well to develop team building in practices aimed at group coordination, management and economy of resources. All the activities proposed, as a whole, are particularly effective for increasing the self-image, motivation, determination, assertiveness, rapid harmony with the other partners, trust in the group and the sense of the collective mission.
Since these experiences are not just trivial, they require a certain commitment in coordination, manual dexterity, respect for the timing and acquisition of precise know-how, not just games, the Campus staff consists of expert technicians qualified in the various sectors and guarantors not only of experience but also of maximum security. Whether the program concerns energy use (eg. fire), recovery-treatment of food and construction resources or rapid reporting procedures, it is important that the approach to the activities is always based on the awareness and “seriousness of the game”. The actions and the specific results that will produce, beyond their nature, will be easily traceable, even in a metaphorical sense, to what in the company reality normally happens or can be presented.
Once the training project has been established on the basis of the objectives and expectations of the client (the direction), the Campus technicians will inform, assist and guide the group of “actors” towards the objectives of the representation. The set of installations and the Outdoor location, particularly evocative and stimulating, will be the setting for a plot and a subject that will highlight well in itinere and will require from the group of protagonists only a certain ability to identify with the necessary involvement (“here and now “Will be the input proposed in the initial briefing).
For every activity and experience, learning and know-how will be minimal or intuitive and will present themselves as discoveries for autonomous answers and applications of problem solving, so that after the stimuli immediately manifest the rewards and the meta-training framework, in the end, it produces the typical “insight” or overall intuition of the whole cycle of experiential learning and of the functioning of the dynamics put in place.
The course will therefore have a typical linear development consisting of :
- a) field experience (structured activities)
- b) awareness raising (insight)
- c) processing (feedback)
- d) generalization (tranfert of the meta-experience in the business reality)
- e) application (correct planning of actions and individual and group behaviors).
If one assumes the assumption that “the better the individual, the better the group – the better the group, the better the individual”, the O.T.C. which we propose should have an appropriate method (coordinated with the trainers) to pursue the following STEPS – OBJECTIVES:
- Initiation (understood as a change of state) and experiential “testage”
- Adaptation and “exaptation” practices (reconversion of own or pre-existing resources)
- Identification and economics of existing resources in the field
- Problem solving (invention and creativity in case of impasse)
- Interpretation of individual and group needs
- Management and overcoming of the inconvenience created by environmental limits
- Resolution of social complexity and cooperation
- Strategy of choices and actions based on “economic intelligence”
- Transposition and reading of the natural environment as a metaphor of the corporate one
- Pursuit of the objective (“here and now”) through a role in the mission
- Verification of motivation, assertiveness and conviction
- Competitiveness, use of excellence, trust in leadership
The time needed to obtain such experiential and training results in the OTC must of course be evaluated by the trainers according to the company needs and the client’s budget. However, we believe that a daily form to be carried out at the Salgari Campus in Turin (or in another location of your choice) is sufficient for the success of a basic outdoor training. A module of two consecutive days would naturally have greater weight and guarantee of effectiveness, above all due to the greater psychological and emotional impact that the experience would produce and the increase of positive “eustress”.
Beyond the 9 hours of total involvement, a work group needs however more incentives and resources to put in place. Even if the Salgari Campus can offer hospitality and programming sufficient for 48 hours, there is no doubt that the “Spartan” sobriety of the reception services in this case must be accepted a priori as “part of the game” (overcoming the discomfort). It would be different in our other available locations, which due to their more profoundly naturalistic or exotic character are more suggestive and gratifying, even as “incentives“.
Having the F.I.S.S.S. about twenty subsidiaries throughout the country and other equipped camps (in the Piedmontese lakes, in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and in the southern part) and even a base in Kenya (with transfer costs, hospitality in resorts and very reduced logistics) it is undoubted that an OTC of this type would be not only optimal but also more incentive, even more costly in terms of time and costs.
Contrary to what is mistakenly thought, the adventure of survival does not require specific preparations, long times or specialized techniques. It is a fast and intense experience, not long and exhausting (if you do not include the deserted islands and the shipwrecks as a simulation), for this reason it was preferred in the outdoor training for the forerunners and it is still abroad. Although not the only theme available, it is certainly the most experienced and, in our opinion, the most effective.
For information purposes only, here below we report our 8-hour basic program for 12 participants in an O.T.C. at the Salgari Campus on the theme “SURVIVING” :
9 am – Briefing on the program and objectives by the trainer instructed by the client and our coordinator.
9.30 am – Coffee break and training of two teams each one assisted by an experienced Campus Instructor who will provide brief but precise indications on know-how and safety criteria (nodes, harnesses, etc.).
10 am – Crossing & climbing test (1st exit module and exploration of the unknown to recover the balance and overcome phobias). Path of experiential initiation on arboreal bridges -Tibetan, Tyrolean, Thai and 3D-climbing spider and Vietnamese labyrinth.
10.30 am – Jumping test (2nd module to develop trust in the group, individual self-control and anxiety management). Fall back from a small grinder on the group or from a tree station with a “Y” brake controlled by the team. Alternatively, or concurrently, teams can try their hand at the “stop & go” role playing game, which is less demanding and less anxiogenic because it takes place on the ground (it is aimed at the same objective).
11.30 am – Finding test (3rd module dedicated to the acquisition of benefits).
Finding benefits in the environment with an “orienteering” system (search by compass with indications of angles and distances) or “hunting” (“dynamic” archery test). It requires brief and easy preliminary instructions for the know-how and the “premium” achievement of objectives consisting of immediately appreciable kinds of comfort (food or otherwise).
12.30 pm – Feeding test (4th module dedicated to autonomy and problem solving).
Self-management of cooking only with raw materials made available and with a campfire (lit with primitive friction techniques). The two teams can challenge, after lunch, to reach the combustion target (only with the friction method) in a time limit of thirty minutes. Alternatively, or concurrently, they can try their hand at a “warning test” (limited and justified, 30-second distress signal with smoke).
2.30 pm – Building test (5th module dedicated to know how to do together and be able to conclude).
Construction of collective shelter and / or raft. Design, division of roles, know-how and coordination by the team-leader (or Instructor). Processing and execution autonomously by the team. Objective: use all the resources made available (a design scheme and a minimum individual kit of piles and sheets suitable for all) without waste and / or savings, to obtain maximum efficiency and maximum comfort through a cooperative effort, but in compliance with the project inputs and set deadlines.
N.B. If the chosen objective is to save resources, the group must also demonstrate problem solving and creativity skills, not just executive skills. For the realization of the various products of your choice, designed for teams of six / four / three people, only a brief preliminary training briefing will be needed for the know-how of the few nodes needed for binding.
4 pm – Delivering test (6th final phase and release of “exit and salvation” on “zip line”). Descent on a long manual teleferic and subsequent disengagement. Despite being easy and safe, it requires a bit of courage and decision-making when it comes to launching. The flight of almost 100 meters is really exciting and exciting. The aim is to verify the effectiveness of the determination and generate self-esteem. A shorter zip line (30 meters) is also available.
5 pm – Eventual debriefing by the trainers. Final toast and leave.