Each participant requires two spotters on the outside of the foot cables, and more added beneath the traversing pair as they progress outwards from the starting point (inside the cables.)
Understand that participants may fall in any direction when first mounting the cable.
When required, this activity permits two unique styles of spotting stances inside the two cables: 1. As the traversing participants move further along the cables, instruct a new spotter to bend in a semi-crouched position with their hands placed on their knees directly under the arching bodies of the participants. As the participants progress, add more crouched spotters as space allows. Note that two, three or more spotters may be required in this position. Often the two participants lean or fall across the backs of these crouching spotters to cushion their fall. To this end, ensure that there are sufficient spotters properly positioned to spread the load. 2. Place spotters in a standing position on each side of each of the two participants inside the V of the cables. Start with one spotter front and back of the participants and then add more as space allows. In this instance, the traversing participants will lean or fall into the arms of their spotters when their attempt has concluded.
Note, people who are prone to back strain should not assume the role of an inside spotter.
Focus primarily on providing support for the participant’s head and upper torso.
Recognise that when a fall occurs, it usually happens quickly and often in the centre of the foot cables.
When a falls occurs, the spotters agree to move in to support the participant and prevent them from landing on the ground.
Agree to move their position to keep pace with the traversing participants at all times.
Spotters will provide sufficient space between their spotting stance and the participants to allow room for movement.
The traversing participants will only step onto the ropes after all safety and check-in protocols have been performed.
Practical Leadership Tips
The trick to succeed at the Wild Woosey is for each participant to lean their body into the other. As soon as you see their bodies bend in the middle with their buttocks pointing out, this is a sure sign of trouble.
Urge the two traversing participants to resist the temptation to seek physical support from their spotters, eg by laying a part of their body on the spotter’s backs. When a fall occurs, simply encourage the pair to make another attempt.
Typically and purposefully, I do not introduce the requirement for the two traversing participants to hold hands, other than suggest that there is a physical connection between the two, ie I’m keen to let the group discover what works and what doesn’t through trial and error.
The inherent design of the Wild Woosey offers a powerful metaphor that reflects the life of a relationship. For example, the start of most relationships can be rather playful and fun, very much like the start of the traverse when the bodies of both participants are very close to one another and balance is difficult to achieve. But, as the relationship continues (the traverse gets longer) the couple become more comfortable with each other. Then, we have to acknowledge that for the relationship to continue to flourish and grow, it is necessary for both participants to continue to commit and work hard, very much like what is required to progress to the furthest reaches of the cable.
Do not permit the two traversing pairs to utilise a rope or belt for support between the two of them. It won’t help and very usefully supports the proposition that healthy relationships require ‘give and take’ not just take.
In case you’re wondering, I have no idea why it’s called the Wild Woosey. It is a wild ride and just sounds fun and whimsical, I guess?
You could integrate Wild Woosey 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:
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
When a group first looks at the distance between the two endpoints of the foot cables, they cannot imagine how they could possibly traverse the cables that far with their partner. Gradually though, with a lot of trial and error – and trust – most partners start to believe that it may just be possible to reach the end. Or, sometimes, they just give up. To this end, you may wish to invite your group or teams of partners to discuss what helps them to become resilient in the face of overwhelming odds. Ask them to consider what it takes to get back up on the cable and try again, perhaps adopting a different technique, ie adaptability. You know what they say – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
The design and physicality of this activity highlight very obvious physical safety issues. Be sure to attend to the emotional and mental safety dimensions of the activity, too. All efforts to develop a positive and supportive environment will amplify the results of your group and each team of partners who attempt to traverse the cables. The more positive and supportive your group is, the more likely they will choose to stretch themselves to try something that, at first glance, they may think is not possible or could cause them to be embarrassed.
Group Challenge: Taking turns, invite two people from your group at a time to challenge themselves to traverse as far along the foot cables as possible, and then upon their success or otherwise, share what they learned from their experience to assist the next pair. Continue until the group has learned the most successful method to support all pairs as far along the activity as possible.
Physically demanding team challenge involving spotting.
Energetic, highly interactive & super-fun circle game.
Useful Framing Ideas
I’d like you to imagine that this next activity mirrors many of the elements of a healthy relationship…
Do you notice that these two cables diverge and are positioned well apart from each other at the very end? Imagine now two people standing on the cables with their feet connected to them this far apart. Do you think this is possible? Let’s find out…
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 leading this exciting ropes course activity:
Once you stepped up onto the cables with your partner, what did you discover?
What words would you use to describe the early part of your traverse?
Did anything change as your journey continued? How?
What was critical to the success between you and your partner?
What did you tell yourself (or your partner) as you progressed?
At 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?
How might this activity reflect a healthy relationship, or perhaps an unhealthy relationship?
The inspiration for the Wild Woosey is generally unknown but was popularised during the development of Project Adventure‘s adventure-based curriculum in the 1970s.