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3 Reasons Why Rafting is a Great Team Building Activity

rafting as team building activity

“Lean forward—row!” the raft guide yells to the paddlers over the roaring whitewater. You look up – everyone sits shoulder to shoulder around the raft, laughing with wide grins on their face.

Your team’s paddles all clack together in a high-five that mirrors the silhouette of a teepee. Everyone yells in unified celebration for a successful run down the Class III rapid. Then suddenly—“Go! Paddle!”, and you dive right back in for round two, smiles included.

Whitewater rafting is an incredible team building activity. The thrilling moments on the water help build trust and collaboration between team members.  When planning your next team building activity, why not ride some rapids with your team? Here are a few reasons why you should go rafting for your next team building activity:

rafting as team building activity

Bonding at the Brain Level

Bonding with teammates produces the ‘love hormone,’ according to reporter Gretchen Reynolds in a 2012 New York Times article. Scientifically known as oxytocin, it encourages positive inter-social relations. When doing a physical activity or sport with a team, one team member’s positive emotions can cause an oxytocin ripple effect, resulting in other team members feeling the same excitement or thrill. Sharing similar positive emotions leads to better team bonding and performance.

Your team will certainly experience these bonding emotional boosts when your raft squad successfully tackles the rapids!

team poses on rafting during team building activity

A Bridge For Virtual Teams

Many modern day teams communicate with their peers exclusively through their laptop, phone or other handheld devices. These virtual teams are comprised of people who live in different physical locations and rarely meet in person. However, even if your team works together in the office, day-to-day tasks can isolate people to their screen.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a Ferrazzi Greenlight study found that 79 percent of 1,700 knowledge workers reported working always or frequently in dispersed teams. Dispersed teams are also capable of gains that outperform a conventionally shared office space—given the right ingredients are in place.

Included in that recipe is a “face-to-face” meeting, reports Keith Ferrazzi in the Harvard Business Review article. Meeting in person sets “expectations for trust, candor, clarifying team goals and behavioral guidelines,” which is helped along by body language and eye contact.

For virtual teams, as well as teams that work in isolation the majority of the time, white water rafting is an incredible way to dissolve any barriers. Connecting on the water will help your team establish a strong foundation of trust and communication.

memories from rafting team bonding activity

Motivational Memories

When teams are back at the office (be it shared or remote) the shared whitewater experience becomes a vital resource for continued bonding.

Strategy & Business states that the highest level of team bonding occurs following a formative activity – one that is both high-pressure and meaningful. White water rafting can serve as a formative activity for your team, as the competition and excitement will create a powerful bonding experience that your team will remember for years to come.

When your team hits the next obstacle or roadblock, take a break and have everyone write or tell a memory related to your rafting experience. The collaborative recollection will get people laughing, and the happy memories will increase serotonin levels.

Whether your team is based in one office or scattered around the country, a team building activity like rafting will help increase trust, communication, and will build long-lasting memories. To schedule your team’s white water rafting adventure, contact American Adventure Expeditions – we’re here to answer all your questions.