Leadership game teaches awareness, teamwork, perseverance.
Leadership game teaches awareness, teamwork, perseverance.
Flagstaff filmmaker Morgan Boatman has been developing this outdoor adventure leadership game for about seven years. “There are three aspects to getting through life: finding a direction, taking action on that direction, and not giving up. Missions and Madness takes participants through various exercises and teaches them how to do this.”
On a Friday afternoon in June, Boatman turned loose a group of participants from Moonshot at NACET in Buffalo Park, including Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy, to come together to solve clues and perform drills in pursuit of their “mission.”
“It was fun and challenging. What I like about it is the rotation of leadership,” said Mayor Deasy. “Everyone plays the role of leader or timekeeper, with different responsibilities.”
Participants don’t use GPS or electronic maps. “We only use participants’ experience and a paper map,” said Boatman. “You roll the dice for a location, figure out how to get there and how long it’s going to take to get the whole team there.”
At the beginning and throughout the mission, the group learns about challenges it faces, how it must respond to outside forces – like pirates – and “multipliers,” which magnify the level of difficulty and could slow down the team. For example, if team members are required to complete four burpees each time they arrive at a destination, a multiplier can turn that into eight burpees, or more.
“It could be two team members are tied together at the ankles or you have to carry someone or walk blindfolded within the timeframe you’ve already decided on,” said Boatman. “This requires the skill of taking action, making it through difficulties and finally, not giving up.”
Missions and Madness is designed to emphasize physical activity, as well. “More exercise is always good for you and demands more focus,” he said. “Another important aspect is the situational awareness angle. It’s easy to walk from one place to another and let your mind wander, but this game demands your attention.”
Boatman warns participants about KIM, or details to Keep in Mind. “This is an old sniper trick. Observations that team leaders make can reduce the team’s penalties if members can answer specific questions about details of an earlier location.”
“Missions and Madness is fun, inventive and challenging. It makes you think and requires you to focus on your surroundings,” said Novakinetics Aerosystems Vice President of Manufacturing Daniel Stinski. “It’s a great way to stay fit and really gives you a chance to take a personal look inward to see who you are and what you’re capable of.”
Boatman knows what he’s capable of. He is an advanced martial artist who has participated in military-type survival training that calls for carrying 30 pounds of bricks on your back for 12 hours and other strenuous tasks. “I enjoy pushing the limits,” he said.
But that’s not what this is about. “That’s not for everybody, but Missions and Madness is. It takes all the amazing experiences and skills and lessons that you can learn under extreme training circumstances and teaches individuals to participate in a fun and social way. It’s a gentle way to learn important lessons.”
Other important lessons from the game may come from a Missions and Madness guest. On this day, Guardian Air Transport’s Chief Flight Paramedic and Clinical Manager Adal Lopez was one such guest. He took the group through hands-on wound care training and expressed the value of being prepared to treat injuries, especially in remote settings.
“There may not be a lot of time after a traumatic event,” said Lopez. “Large vessel lacerations bleed heavily and you may have only minutes to get the bleeding under control.”
Under Lopez’s instruction, group members stuffed gauze and applied pressure on a deep wound model that simulated an open artery.
“It is very important to have a trauma kit if EMS [Emergency Medical Services] response time is fairly long. It is also important to have a trauma kit if you are traveling in a vehicle. Vehicle crashes can have the potential for pretty bad injuries,” said Lopez. “This could be for yourself or others that you may come upon. Bystander help is very important.”
“When I participated in Missions and Madness, it was with a group of strangers whose only similarity was our location of work, the Flagstaff NACET campus. But by the end of it we were determined go-getters, able to communicate and solve the ‘madness’ thrown our way together. It provided great exercise, and was a fun activity to do outdoors and learn more about the local area,” said Axolotl Biologix Research Scientist Alison Ingraldi.
“Missions and Madness is part bootcamp and part scavenger hunt, with some first aid skill sprinkled in,” said Moonshot at NACET Operations and Program Director Angela Hamby. “It was a hit with our NACET campus, with most asking, ‘Are we going to do this again soon?’”
“I would recommend it for companies looking to host professional development or strategic planning retreats and looking to build camaraderie and trust within their teams,” said Biz Fit owner Elizabeth Vogler. “I would recommend it for groups of friends or family who are looking for a fun activity where everyone has the chance to take on exciting leadership roles and be physically active. I would also recommend it to visitors getting to know Flagstaff and looking for an active way to participate in a community program.”
The public will have this opportunity, as the Flagstaff Festival of Science features Missions and Madness on Sunday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 2. Meanwhile, Boatman will be presenting the game next month at a conference for the American Therapeutic Recreation Association and is working toward making Missions and Madness game kits available in stores where outdoor gear is sold. FBN
By Bonnie Stevens, FBN