GRIT, Teamwork, & Fun – How Campers Build Life Skills at Camp

     At Roughing It, we are all about creating fun outdoor experiences that help campers grow and develop life skills. Our program that focuses on this is our GRIT – Great Roughing It Team Challenge program! The goal of this program is to help our campers grow through new experiences and new challenges while encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone. Campers develop their teamwork, communication, and problem solving by working through various challenges as a group.


     The GRIT program was strongly inspired by Google’s Project Aristotle, which details the importance of working effectively in a team setting as an essential job skill for the 21 century. The project outlines 5 Factors for a Successful Team which we incorporate into our GRIT program for our campers. Check out our previous blog post for more information: Teamwork, GRIT & Fun – Real World Skills for Years to Come!” Here’s how campers of all ages build life skills through GRIT challenges.


     At Roughing It, our GRIT challenges encourage the campers to work as a group to solve challenges on their own. The counselors are there to supervise and facilitate the challenge to help the campers work together to come up with a group strategy to complete the challenge. The campers use their communication, collaboration, and problem solving skills to come up with a plan together for completing the challenge. Our process for GRIT challenges is to have groups of campers meet and huddle up, make a plan for the challenge, tackle the challenge together, then debrief afterward on what they learned as a group. Based on new ideas or plans that came from the debrief, they can try the challenge again from a different approach, or perhaps try to beat their last time! The mission of GRIT through this process is to help our campers develop life skills needed in the 21st Century: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking (Problem Solving), and Creativity!

Here are some of the GRIT challenges our campers have accomplished!

Campers develop Life Skills: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking (Problem Solving), and Creativity!

Waterfront – Canoe Race Challenge:

Campers work in their boat groups using teamwork and collaboration in a canoe race challenge!

The Leaky Pipe Challenge:

Campers use creative problem solving and teamwork to strategically plug the holes in this pipe to avoid it leaking any water!

Trail Ride Challenge on the Back-40:

Campers use teamwork and their horse riding skills to compete our “Back-40” trail ride together as a group, which can also include a variety of horseback riding challenges.

The Pipeline Challenge:

Campers develop teamwork, collaboration and communication by building a pipeline bridge across a grass field getting a ball from one side to the other. 

Hike Challenges – Sunset Trail Challenge:

Camper groups of all ages can work to complete a variety of hikes together. Some favorites include the Sunset Trail (~1 mile) or the walk around the Reservoir (2.5 miles).

The Hula-Hoop Challenge:

Campers use teamwork and communication to move the hula-hoop around their circle (without breaking the circle) as fast as they can! 

Marshmallow Challenge:

Campers use teamwork, creative problem solving, and collaboration to use marshmallows and spaghetti to make the tallest structure they can!

Swim – Swim to Alcatraz Challenge:

Campers work as a group to complete 100 laps (1 mile) in the pool! It requires teamwork, collaboration, and some team spirit to cheer on your group mates as they complete their laps.

Create-Your-Own GRIT Challenge:

Campers can collaborate to create their very own GRIT challenge! This group used their teamwork and creativity to build a handmade raft, which floated and everything! 

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