Family. It’s the first thing that comes to mind for Megan Delph Cayton when asked about UNC Greensboro’s Team QUEST program.
“As a facilitator, not only do I have a sense of belonging that’s different than my 9 to 5 job, but I have a different lens and a different way to create that sense of belonging with students I work with on a day to day basis,” said Cayton, a Student Success Navigator in UNCG’s Advising and Personal Development Center and Team QUEST community facilitator.
Belonging is created through a challenge course, hands-on group activities and shared reflections during a period of 2, 4 or 8 hours at UNCG’s Experiential Campus at Piney Lake. University groups, non-profit agencies and corporate groups seek out Team QUEST, which is accredited through the Association for Experiential Education, for team-building and leadership development and to help them build effective communication. Each program is tailored based on the needs of the group.
For many years Team QUEST sought out community and corporate groups. That focus has now shifted to bringing in more university affiliates.
The program is widely known for its challenge courses, which use high and low ropes and a hydraulic zip line to incorporate mental, physical and emotional risk in a supportive environment. It’s an important tool used to facilitate active learning, but there’s so much more.
“Team QUEST’s challenge course is built for the specific purpose of putting into practice behaviors that make up a collaborative team,” said Frannie Varker, assistant director of the Department of Recreation & Wellness and Team QUEST director. “We are very intentional about how and when our challenge courses or other design elements are used.”
UNCG students, faculty and staff serve as facilitators after an application process and 24-hour training focusing on experiential education. Programming includes elements of conflict resolution with an emphasis on equality and social justice.
“Your identities and roles are broken down, so everybody understands we’re on an equitable playing ground,” Cayton said.
Team QUEST’s impact is far-reaching – Varker said the program trains roughly 2,000 people a year. Building a community that works through challenges in a healthy and positive way is part of that impact.
“These facilitators then graduate and go out into the world and make a difference wherever they are,” Varker said. “I see it as a far-reaching peace-building process.”
To learn more about Team QUEST, apply to be a facilitator or inquire about scheduling a group experience, contact Frannie Varker, email@example.com.
Story by Elizabeth L. Harrison, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications