Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The choices we make...

As we wrapped up the first semester of after school programming under the 21st Century Learning Center, the focus was on the youth we are serving, and how they make decisions about their lives... both the good and the bad. The game is fun, the lessons are real, and the transfer from game to life is, hopefully complete.

In 2008 we worked directly with more than 4,500 young people and provided training for more than 350 educators and counselors!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finding a way..

As a final exam, Hood College students in the orienteering class must complete a mountainside "O" course. As always, the route they choose is up to them.
There are objectives to be found and obstacles to be dealt with, (over? through? or around?) all in as short a time possible.

Where are you?
Where are you going?
How are you going to get there?

Three questions that are critical for orienteering success... and not bad questions for college students to contemplate either.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

4010 feet above your troubles..

Helping Washington DC government work better ... one department at a time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To build a fire..

When the group you are leading is cold, wet and hungry and it's late ... sometimes the best thing to raise spirits is a good old blazing warm fire. *

This year the Outdoor Leadership Class for the George Washington University TRAiLs leadership team included LNT trainer certification, land navigation training, emergency procedures and crisis management, as well as basic skills... like starting a fire, in the dark, with wet material and only two matches..... and yes, it was done successfully ... more than once!

*where allowed by regulations

Saturday, August 09, 2008

It's just plain FUN.

Our summers are spent helping folks have simple, safe, old-fashioned fun. Beside doing follow up programming for our full year "customers" we are also busy supporting camp programs throughout the mid Atlantic region. The strength of our staff and their training and qualifications as practitioners and educators is hard to beat when you want safe, professionally run adventure programs... be it for youth or adults! As August progresses we move into more organizational development activities... in
particular, working with school administrators and
staff as they prepare to kick off the 08-09 school year with a bang!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We have so much going on, we'll have to add verbiage later...
I guess I don't need to add that it's ALL fun.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Building better teams by design, or..

doing what we do best.

While many of our colleagues in this business take a great deal of pride in disclosing exactly who they've worked with, after 16 years in the business we prefer not to "kiss and tell".. we never have.. and most of our clients feel the same way. The list of folks and organizations we have worked with over the years is
impressive... they have come, and continue to come from, literally, around the world.
(especially with the increasingly favorable exchange rate)
And while our website discusses "standard programs".. there really is no such thing. Every single program we design for a group is unique. It is customized for the individual group. After all, as each organization's product, mission and culture is unique.. so should the development program activities be customized to fit.
Too many of the one-size-fits-all approach to team building programs have given rise to the belittling of the importance of functional team development.

One of the first questions we ask a prospective client is "what are your goals?" Unfortunately, as a response we often get cookie cutter answers... "a ropes course, whatever that is", "uh, goals?" "team building", "some sort of group thing"... and when we ask their past experiences in team building, we often get the same answers.
For a group to "do some team building" sounds important and like a great use of company time, but without a solid program, the words are empty... bluster without substance.

Our goals are to optimize your results by developing a program that will challenge each individual to be the best they can be, and then learn to synchronize individual and group efforts.
(Effective team development mirrors effective business practices today. Often the best results are not found within the lines of traditional thought. On the other hand, sometimes they are.)

.. oh, and along the way, it's nice have some fun and make it memorable.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wilderness First Aid Weekend

We just wrapped up our ninth year of providing wilderness first aid training for the larger mid Atlantic region... it just keeps getting better and better.

From northeastern PA to central VA, to Cobb Island, MD, the class came from far and wide for this unforgettable program. As we have done in the past, we partnered with the Trail House of Frederick, MD and SOLO of North Conway, NH to offer this educational program, at cost, to the outdoor enthusiasts of the region.

For a complete schedule of open enrollment courses, from adventure fitness to introductory rock climbing, see the calendar on our main website.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Whole Year!!!??

It is really hard to believe that an entire year has passed since the last posting..
Part of the reason (my excuse, and I'm sticking with it) is that we've been incredibly busy. For those of you who don't know, Teamlink has a fraternal twin, Shenandoah Mountain Guides. Together, the two organizations offer the diversity and scope of programs that give us energy, and give our guests variety. Over this past year the SMG side of the business has been borrowing TL staff frequently to satisfy the growing demand of mountain guiding... and what a year it has been! From at-(high) risk young people to university students, from international corporate executives to rock stars... the common link? TeamLink.
With that in mind, I'd like to share with you the 479 images we have of programming...
but I won't.

But I have selected a few images to share as a sample of some of what we did this year.. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy the memories they bring to mind.

Last February and March found us mostly chasing ice and snow from the Blue Ridge to the Potomac Highlands. Traditionally, the winter months are playtime for the staff, and this is uniformly one of our favorite games. This little West Virginia treasure is by far, one of the best.

And then of course we also had to pay the bills.. so we also did a lot of professional development training for a wide variety of organizations that provide enrichment programming for both public and private schools.

In March, we sponsored our annual Wilderness First Aid Weekend. We imported our phenomenal instructor (Donny) from SOLO (New Hampshire), and drew outdoor enthusiasts and professionals from across the East Coast. 2007 was the 8th year we have partnered with our good friends at the Trail House to provide this unforgettable program.

The first warm days of April found us out on the rocks doing follow up work with our kids from the previous summer.(2006)
The true highlight (read: pure fun) of spring for the staff was the opportunity to participate in the Eastern States High Angle Technical Rescue class with the National Park Service and various components of the military and other governmental organizations. Training for a week with the outdoor professionals with which we work was a real bonus. Having the opportunity to help teach the course was a true honor. On the left, Jeremy is supervising the establishment of fixed lines and anchors for a rappelling session.
Another key component of the course was developing a good familiarization with partner agencies' rescue assets. This included the US Park Police rotary-winged aircraft (helo) Eagle 1. Besides basic familiarization training we worked on hoist operations for both litters and rescuers.

Here, Chad and Jeremy are having way too much fun as they simulate human yo-yos while riding a jungle penetrator.

The other cool side of this job, which usually goes unsaid, is the thrill I get when I see my 8 year old have a ball as he learns how to ascend fixed lines.

With the beginning of summer and the summer solstice, our interpretive guiding moved into full swing. Our evening walks at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park have been popular with people from around the world.

As summer progressed we made a shift in our programming. Our mountain guides worked virtually daily in Shenandoah National Park(See Chad's SMG blog), the Teamlink staff worked with corporate groups from the the Pacific to the Atlantic, and our Teamlink youth programs hit the trail for therapeutic, recreational, adventure and educational purposes.

One morning on Hawksbill Mountain (4043') we had the good fortune to observe biologists who were in turn observing peregrine falcon offspring poised on the cliff edge, preparing for their first flight. Funny how trips to the mountains prepare all sorts of creatures for their first flight.

There is nothing like the wonders of a mountain summer, and a spring fed swimming hole.. ice cold on the hottest of summer days

Julia is taking a moment for her own thoughts..

Some of our young women crossing the summit of Old Rag mountain. The end of a long week of backpacking that will not soon be forgotten.

Swimming holes are a recurring theme in summer with all our groups. Notice the clarity of the water?.. It looks so warm.. brrrrrrrr, it's not!

The end of summer is always marked by the flowers and butterflies...everywhere! We also start our university outdoor skill and leadership classes. The next images are from our GWU class trip in August.

Teaching the finer points of MSR stove maintenance and repair. It was a very wet week, but we still had the opportunity for..


Knowing land navigation skills means never having to say you're lost.

Before we knew it, the seasons started to change, the wild honeybees gathered the last of the nectar, the leaves began to change colors, the sky returned to its fall-winter blue and we slid into a new year.

(For those who have never seen one, this tree on the right is a wild honey tree. The dark lumpish- things around the crack are swarming honey bees...)

We're looking forward to seeing you in 2008!