Teamwork Works

By Caleb Cottle | Added June 12

Calo students recently returned from an exciting therapeutic recreation adventure. For three days Calo students braved the heat, the rain and the mosquitoes while climbing some of the most majestic rock features of the Midwest. During this three day adventure students participated in dynamic team challenges that allowed students an opportunity to prove what they have learned during the last eight weeks as they have focused on teamwork.

Calo students typically focus on one element of interdependence for eight weeks while participating in ropes course activities, adventure activities and creative arts activities. At the end of the eight weeks they get to prove what they have learned while participating on an "engineered experience" that is organized to help them utilize the skills they have recently acquired.

We spent the first two days of our trip climbing and familiarizing ourselves with the area. The last day of our trip was spent conquering an obstacle course that was kind of a mix between the amazing race and fear factors. Students worked together and supported one another as they climbed up rock faces, repelled down 100 foot cliffs and zipped across ravines on a zip line. Some students even had the opportunity to do an Australian repel (that means you go down head first). It was an inspiring sight to watch students forget past frustrations with one another and lift each other up (physically and emotionally) as they rallied together to overcome each obstacle they encountered.

During this exciting trip students had opportunities to strengthen relationships with one another and with staff, to face their fears, and to enjoy the outdoors in healthy and productive ways. Camping trips often provide students with memories and self confidence that remain with them long after they return home and wash off the stench of sweat, smoke and mesquite repellent. When we returned back to Calo, the students were full of smiles and good memories.

Our next Recreational Therapy sequence will have us in the water as we focus on Communication. While wake boarding, canoeing and swimming we will explore the different types of communication, and the importance of ensuring that the messages that we send are received in the way that we intended.

About the Author

Caleb Cottle, B.A. Program Director

Caleb Cottle is the Program Director at CALO. As fortune would have it, ten years ago Caleb learned he could get paid to go camping. That was all it took to get him to Southern Utah working in a wilderness program with adolescents. It did not take long for Caleb to fall in love with the therapeutic process of change within an experiential environment. Since that time Caleb has worked in numerous treatment settings and held a variety of positions including field guide, front line staff, live-in staff, staff trainer, recreational therapist, and program director. Caleb has always believed in the power of experiential opportunities and the hands on lessons that they teach. While there is great power and insight in traditional talk therapy, experiencing the world and therapy experientially allows a multidimensional sensory experience that allows increased self-efficacy and improved self-concept. Caleb enjoys sharing these and other CALO principles with staff, students and those in the industry considering CALO as an option for their child. Caleb enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including fly-fishing, climbing, boating, camping and snowboarding. However, Caleb's greatest interests are his wife Raylene and their four children. As a family they enjoy many of these activities together. Having a family has taught Caleb the value, purpose and absolute joy of true friendship and safe relationships.

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