Traversing participants agree not to swing on the hand rope(s) or lunge towards support structures.
Recognise that when a fall occurs, they usually happen quickly and may occur in any direction.
When a fall is imminent, the participant agrees that they will step off the cable.
When a falls occurs, the spotters agree to move in to support the participant and prevent them from landing on the ground.
Spotters will move to keep pace with the traversing participant at all times.
Spotters will provide sufficient space between their spotting stance and the participant to allow room for movement.
Practical Leadership Tips
The foot cable should be strung no higher than approx 45cm (18″) above the ground so as to prevent harm on the occasion the participant falls and straddles the cable.
For long traverses, the activity gets more and more difficult as the participant progresses along the cable, ie the hand ropes are spaced further apart.
Urge your group to resist the temptation to offer or seek physical support from the spotters. When a fall occurs, simply encourage participants to make another attempt.
This activity perfectly reflects the continuum of empowerment. Spotters often feel compelled to offer a hand or a shoulder to prevent a fall from occurring (disempowering the participant.) Equally, the hand or shoulder of a spotter is a very attractive option for the traversing participant when they are feeling unsure. Ideally, the participant should feel empowered to engage in an attempt that would not be possible without the safety net of their spotters. To this end, spotters should never stand too far back from the participant to be ineffective. It’s a fine balance and the more practice one makes, the better judgements are exercised.
You could integrate Multivine Traverse as part of a well-designed SEL program to help your group make caring and constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions across different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
As a popular low challenge course activity, the Multivine Traverse can help you promote many and varied health and wellness outcomes.
The complexities of this fun group initiative invite group members to interact and engage with each other in a manner that would necessarily speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy full value behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could focus on any less-than-desired interactions or outcomes to explore what sorts of behaviours your group would prefer to see and commit to in the future.
For example, in addition to those described in the Reflection Tips tab, you could invite your group to reflect on the following questions to explore a variety of full value behaviours such as:
How did the group demonstrate its ability to care for self and others?
Generally speaking, how did the group make decisions? How were all members involved?
Describe your group’s goal-setting process?
What types of leadership were demonstrated during the exercise? Were they effective?
Did you observe any behaviours or actions that concerned you in regards to safety?
A well-designed Multivine Traverse will offer every group at least one very difficult challenge to overcome, ie a very long span between hand ropes. The group will have to make many attempts on certain sections of the course to successfully traverse it, hence the reference to resilience. Invite your group to consider what helps a person (or group) to persevere, even after many failures and what types of supports are useful when someone is struggling.
Hand Rope Variety: If possible, connect hand ropes of different lengths to the top cable to allow for different levels of challenge, ie short hand ropes are more difficult to first grasp and prevent the participant from stretching too far forward.
Paired Challenge: Invite two people starting from opposite ends to traverse the cable at the same time. Ideally, challenge the pair to pass each other in the middle of the cable. In this case, you will need twice as many spotters.
Group Multivine Traverse: Starting from one end, challenge your group to traverse the length of the cable together. Require every person to remain in physical contact with the group at all times.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Any activity that offers the participant support in one form or another will often be more successful. Such is the truth for this next exercise where you will find support for both your feet and hands…
When you think of Tarzan, I’m sure you have images of this Amazonian hero swinging through the jungle on a series of vines hung from the trees above. Would you like to be Tarzan or Jane for a few minutes…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after undertaking this Challenge Course traversing activity:
Once you stepped up onto the foot cable, did it seem that the hand rope was a lot further away? Why?
What did you tell yourself before you lunged for a hand rope?
What point in the activity would you describe as the most challenging?
Did the presence of your spotters make a difference to your efforts?
As spotters, did you observe anything interesting?
What difference do you think your role makes to the participant?
The inspiration for the Multivine Traverse is generally unknown but was popularised during the development of Project Adventure‘s adventure-based curriculum in the early 1970s.