The traversing participant will only step onto the log after all safety and check-in protocols have been performed.
Traversing participants agree not to lunge towards support cables.
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 log.
When a falls occurs, the spotters agree to move in to support the participant and prevent them from landing on the ground.
When a fall occurs, the log spotters will grab the two support cables to slow the swinging motion of the log to prevent the log from swinging into the legs of the participant or spotters.
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 of the participant and the log.
Practical Leadership Tips
The log is typically suspended approx 45mm above the ground so as to prevent harm on the occasion a participant falls and straddles it.
Be sure to encourage your group to swap roles regularly so that everyone gets the chance to challenge themselves and act as a regular spotter and a log spotter.
Some designs of the Swinging Log incorporate a short cable or tether attached at the two ends of the log (to the tree/pole) which aims to limit the movement of the log.
Encourage the two log spotters to not stand between the end of the log and the tree/pole to prevent harm to their legs should the log travel quickly towards them.
Observe the movement of the log as it travels with the participant as they walk from one end to the other.
You could integrate Swinging Log as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviours effectively in different situations and to achieve goals.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Linking Feelings, Values & Thoughts
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
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
The dynamism of this challenge ropes course event will invite your group 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 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 particularly pertinent if you present this as a group initiative:
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?
Was everyone fully aware of the group’s goal? If not, why not?
What types of leadership were demonstrated during the exercise? Were they effective?
Were adaptability and resilience a key component of the group’s success? How?
Were there moments of accountability or safety that concerned you? Why?
Double Trouble: Two people starting at the same end of the log attempt to traverse the log together.
Two Ships Passing: Two people mount the log at opposite ends of the log and attempt to traverse the log and pass one another in the middle.
Everybody Up 1: Challenge your group to have every member of their team stand on the log at the same time for a period of 10 seconds. In this instance, involve two volunteers to act as log spotters for their team (in rotation) at the two ends of the log ready to grab the support cables as soon as one or more of their team fall off.
Everybody Up 2: As above but do permit the use of the support cables to assist your group’s effort.
Yee Haa: Challenge an individual standing about 1 metre (3′) from the log to jump and attempt to stay balanced for a period of 5 seconds. Invite those who are successful to whip off their imaginary cowboy hat and yell “Yee Haa” in celebration (before they step down.)
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Mohawk Iron-workers Walk
Increasingly difficult traversing challenge for groups.
Ideal trust-building & spotting-skills practice exercise.
Flip Over Ten
Simple, fast-paced group initiative to test memory skills.
Useful Framing Ideas
Standing on a moving log is difficult enough for one person, but can you imagine trying to do this with everyone at the same time. Well, you won’t have to imagine for very long…
Have you seen those movies or animations that show a person standing on top of a log floating in a body of water, seemingly running on the spot as they try to keep upright? Now I’m sure there are people who can actually do this, so I wonder if this includes anyone in this group…
Many of you have experienced those moments of pure magic when your whole team is so aligned that everything just clicks. Do you know what I mean?. Can you think of a time when that last occurred? [ allow time for sharing…] This next exercise offers everyone in your team one of these rare opportunities to be in sync with one another, albeit for 10 seconds…
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 element:
Did the challenge look easier than it actually was? Why?
What helped you traverse the log successfully? Think of every variable.
If you struggled to walk very far, what did you say to yourself? Are these words actually true?
Can you think of other activities that succeed because you put in the effort to practice?
If you choose to introduce a group-based initiative:
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being impossible, how would you rate this challenge?
What helped and what hindered your success as a group?
How did it feel when you got close to your target?
What frustrated you?
What was necessary from your team to get everyone “on the same page?”
If you could choose only one area of your life to be in sync, what would it be?
The inspiration for the Swinging Log is generally unknown but was popularised during the development of Project Adventure‘s adventure-based curriculum in the early 1970s.