Viking Projects – Pre-Planning – A Game Changer

Pre-planning – valuable lesson learned

When you have fast growth and a team that’s split between the office and the field, communication on the fly can create more problems than it solves. Pre-planning delivers better outcomes and much higher productivity, which was the big takeaway Viking Projects brought back to the office after a day on the ropes.

“We have a very knowledgeable team who are all working to make the company successful.”

“We also have a lot of great leadership. Today we learned our team worked better when we have more communication and guidance.”

Viking Projects wanted to get the most out of their experience with us, and opted for a mix of ground activities and high ropes challenges. Since we are all about fun while learning in the experience, we kicked off the day with an exercise to put them in the right frame of mind to have breakthroughs they just couldn’t get at the office.  

“Laughing with my comrades was so enjoyable!”

Because we knew we needed the team to get rid of any “us versus them” mindsets, which can happen when a company has both inside and outside teams, as well as help them develop better communication and collaboration skills, we selected experiences that would make them come together in a way they never had before.


Pre-planning makes a huge difference to operations, but even more importantly, it also helps everyone to understand what they need to do to reach the bigger company goals and how each of their personal contributions affects that big picture. The insight they got from each of the day’s exercises was a game changer for the company.


“We can accomplish more when we cooperate together.”

“We have the ability to adapt to change, with clear communication.”

“Big tasks can be completed and achieved when we are focused as a group.”


Not surprisingly, the high ropes were the most memorable part of the day for the team. With someone else’s safety on the line, you need to be all in and completely focused. It develops trust and confidence in each other quickly, and in a way nothing else can.

“Stop and think.” You can’t just charge in when you have a team member balanced on a small rope 20 feet off the ground.

“Sometimes you need to slow down and come up with a plan before jumping in.”

“Clearly addressing what is needed when it’s needed, not after the fact,” is the key to success.

These observations by the team simply couldn’t be made by doing the same thing day in and day out. To make positive change and grow your team, you have to get a new perspective. Nothing does that in quite the same way as a day out at Red Lodge Ropes Course.


Viking Projects learned

“Confidence grows when people are laughing and building each other up,” and

“Letting others voice opinions,” are the things that will get them,

“Working together as a team and pulling in the same direction.”


It all starts when you have a great plan. Plan a breakthrough like this for your team! Call us today!


Get Your Team Playing Outside the Box

experiential team building

Experiential Team Building and Nature – a great combination

A sure fire way to get your team playing outside the box is to consider experiential team building and, in particular, an outdoor version, sometimes seen as nothing more than a fun day out of the office. While it definitely is fun, it can be so much more.

Here are seven powerful reasons why you should consider adding outdoor experiential team building to your organization’s training plan.

 1.  It builds trust. As participants undertake the physical exercises they have to rely on each other, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

2.  Participation improves communication. The shared experience helps people build bonds. This allows them to approach each other more easily when they return to the workplace.

3.  Experiential team building builds acceptance. Group members recognize people’s differences and understand these differences have value. They often see strengths in people they may not have seen previously.

4.  Outdoor experiential team building encourages positive risk taking. People learn to overcome their fears and achieve things they didn’t think possible or were scared of. The knowledge they can do more than they thought they could transfers to their work. This can result in lower levels of anxiety and improved self-confidence. By understanding their own personal risk behaviors, people are able to take these into account in their workplace decision-making.

5.  In addition to these issues, being outdoors can contribute to solving a range of business issues. It is often recommended to help in the following areas:

    • embracing continuous improvement;
    • developing successful leadership and management skills;
    • boosting decision-making qualities;
    • boosting creativity and developing team reviewing skills;
    • achieving greater confidence, motivation, vision-sharing;
    • forming newly merged teams;
    • contributing to Business Excellence;
    • increasing understanding and business awareness.

6.  Classroom based training on teamwork can be effective, but studies have shown the experiential approach is even more effective. (S Priest, Study #9 “Experiential learning about teamwork was more effective than classroom. downloaded 11 January 2012).

7.  The experience delivers learning in the way adults learn best. It is experiential, dramatic, and novel. Participants learn in real time that there are consequences to their actions. The combination of physical and intellectual involvement results in a more effective learning experience than one that is purely intellectual.

Red Lodge Ropes Course, a division of NexLevel Challenge, works with businesses that share our mindset, philosophy, and values of Connection, Fun & Excellence.  Our powerful experiential training programs create high performance teams.

Give us a call 1.866.840.2840, pop us an email or visit our website Red Lodge Ropes Course.


The Forgotten Element in Team Building

Shared experiences on A-frame

Shared experiences build more than a team but often when we set up a new team, or alter an existing team, our first thought is about what the team is for. What are the tasks and aims of this particular team. We neglect the people side of it. We forget who the team is, who the individual team members are, how they get on, how successfully they work together.

A successful team is much more than a group of people “left to get on with it”.  Success comes from putting time and energy into building a “community”.

Community forms around a shared objective, where people each have meaningful roles. At work we’re all familiar with this, and it’s commonly called a “team”. But a community can be so much more. Think about a ‘caring community’. This is a community with the attributes of a team, but which takes everything one step further than working for a common goal. A ‘caring community’, an ideal team really, promotes learning and growth. It does this both at the individual level, and at the level of the team. Most often this learning and growth comes from sharing experiences and stories.

Passing on the ‘social history’ is one valuable way to develop the sense of community. Team members share their experiences and learn about what is acceptable or not through stories about incidents that have happened in the past. This forms the background to “the way we do things around here”. People reminisce about the team’s traditions – celebrations, rewards, memories of good, or even, bad times.

But another way to help build the sense of community is through creating new shared experiences.

Outdoor experiential learning activities are especially effective for shared experiences because of the twin elements of fun and excitement that accompany them.

Instead of engaging just our minds, experiential learning engages us physically and emotionally. This combination of our hearts, heads and hands has been shown to help us learn best. The activities help us challenge our preconceived notions, biases and beliefs. We’re forced to interact with others in environments which are usually unfamiliar, and always challenging. This helps us become more confident, more aware of the strengths of others, and more open in our communication and trust.  These are all things a successful team needs, and all attributes of a caring community.

Experiential learning benefits of a shared experience:

  • when a team is brand new, experiential learning can help provide it with its first stories
  • for an established team it can help break down unhelpful behaviors and replace them with more effective ones
  • when new members join an established team, it can jump-start the process of them being accepted by the team.

Importantly, it’s not just the learning that happens that gives a return on investment. The sense of community that is built through the activities is something that lives on in the shared stories of the team. Stories are mulled over, reinforcing the lessons. They are told to newcomers to help them understand the values of the team.  In short, they become an integral part of the team and the way it communicates and works together. They become stories that support the community.

Red Lodge Ropes Course, a division of NexLevel Challenge, works with businesses that share our mindset, philosophy, and values of Connection, Fun & Excellence. Our powerful experiential training programs create high performance teams.

Give us a call 1.866.840.2840, pop us an email or visit our website Red Lodge Ropes Course.

Five Teamwork Lessons from a Pencil

What can Pencil Power Teach us about Teamwork?

I came across this ‘ode to a pencil’ and found it a simple yet insightful parable, outlining five very important lessons both for life and teamwork.

Five Teamwork Lessons from a Pencil

Five Teamwork Lessons from a Pencil

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. “There are five things you need to know before I send you out into the world.” Always remember your pencil power and you will become the best pencil you can be.

1.  Everything you do will always leave a mark

2.  You can always correct the mistakes you make

3.  What is important is what is inside of you

4.  In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings, which will only make you better

5.  To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you

In reflection, I realized how much we can take from these lessons in regards to teamwork and leadership.

 1.  As a leader, you have the ability to significantly impact the lives of those around you. Leaders influence how others go home at night and how they treat their families & friends, they affect the self esteem & confidence of others, and they impact how people move forward in their lives. We all have the ability to make a mark – what mark do you want to leave?

2.  We are all humans who make mistakes. We also have the ability to right our wrong’s, learn and grow into a better person. Being vulnerable, admitting your mistakes and making it right helps develop a solid foundation of trust and respect within a team.

3.  Every team member is a special person with unique strengths, talents and abilities. When these strengths are recognized, respected and leveraged, individuals are able to thrive and the overall team performance will increase.

4.  We all need to be constantly sharpened; when we are challenged to be our best, we are given the opportunity to achieve our best. Sometimes this sharpening is not comfortable; however, is a necessary step in moving forward as professionals, team members and leaders. Continually practice becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.

5.  In a high performing team, individuals rely on each other. Everyone plays an important role and team members count on one another to do what they are supposed to do. Our actions and interactions impact those around us. Being accountable to one another and demonstrating commitment and dedication are a few characteristics that define a true team player.

Red Lodge Ropes Course, a division of NexLevel Challenge, works with businesses that share our mindset, philosophy, and values of Connection, Fun & Excellence.  Our powerful experiential training programs create high performance teams.

Give us a call 1.866.840.2840, pop us an email or visit our website Red Lodge Ropes Course.

Team Fun – Thompson Wealth Management

RBC Securities – Thompson Wealth Management experiencing fun & connection at the Red Lodge Ropes Course

RBC Group Picture

RBC Securities – Thompson Wealth Management

RBC team high ropes

RBC team on High Ropes











The RBC Securities Thompson Wealth Management team joined us in July 2015 to play, unwind and celebrate the hard work they do for their clients every day; also to enjoy some exciting team fun.

They were an energetic group that played hard and explored their limits, both individually and as a team.

What were the highlights of their day?

  • “The fact that I did it – I am terrified of heights so I conquered a fear”
  • “Just going up there & doing it! So awesome!”
  • “Watching everyone’s facial expressions from the ground”
  • “Seeing people conquer their fears and work together”
  • “Getting up on the netting and doing more than I thought I would!”
Never too old for team fun & building blocks

Team Fun with Thompson Wealth Management

“This experience was exhilarating team fun; a challenging team building event that promotes teamwork for every ability level. It was great to face & conquer our fears in a fun, challenging & safe environment. Thank you.”

~ Team Members Thompson Wealth Management – RBC Securities

Thank you for joining us and we look forward to having you visit again next year for some more team fun!




Big Brothers Big Sisters Innisfail – Ropes Course gives back

Giving Back to youth and our community is important to Red Lodge Ropes Course. Our challenge course was originally built to work with the leaders of tomorrow and we were excited to host 28 local youth this past August.

A few reasons why we offered this program are to provide youth the opportunity to:

  • build relationships with their peers
  • feel a sense of community
  • develop self efficacy, and
  • have the chance to experience something they never have done before

We had a fun day with these kids and are looking forward to doing it again next year. Thank you to everyone who helped make this day a great success.

Click here to read more in our Innisfail Province article, “Facing Challenges for the Future”.

Big Brothers Big Sisters on the trollies

Big Brothers Big Sisters teamwork

Letter from Lucille Paquette with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Innisfail:

Youth on high ropes

Youth facing challenges

“A huge Thank You goes out to Beth Fredeen and her crew for giving the children in our program the opportunity to attend the Red Lodge Rope Course free of charge!! Twenty eight children and 5 volunteers/parents attended the day long activity. The staff spent the morning doing team building elements on the ground and in the afternoon we hit the ropes. “The children had the chance to learn what it means to communicate and problem solve effectively, as well as acquired a greater understanding of collaboration with other people to achieve goals as a team.” Besides learning a great life skill the children had a fun day!!

Belaying youth on the Vertical Playpen

Belaying youth – Vertical Playpen

Thank you to the following people for making this day successful:

  • Beth Fredeen and her staff with Red Lodge Rope Course
  • Rob Stuart, Mayor of Bowden
  • Don MacIntyre, Innisfail/Sylvan Lake MLA
  • Johnnie Bachusky with the Innisfail Province
  • Dean Owen with Olds Community TV
  • Geoff Rock 104 Olds Radio Station
  • Volunteers/parents who helped out – Sherry Dijkstra (board member), Lana Kennedy, Christine Martin & Rayleen Carruthers
  • Fellow partner in crime, Sharron Matthewman with Big Brothers Big Sisters Olds and Sundre

Beth has indicated that they would be happy to provide this valuable service again next year!!!”

Click here for the Big Brothers Big Sisters September 2015 Newsletter

Acknowledgement from the Town of Bowden’s Mayor, Robb Stuart:

Big Brothers Big Sisters youth

Group Photo – Big Brothers Big Sisters with Red Lodge Ropes Course staff

“I would like to commend Beth Fredeen and her associates for working with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Red Lodge Guest Ranch. This organization was given a free day of activities on August 8th. The Red Lodge Ropes Course is a challenging activity which is supervised by trained instructors. The Red Lodge Ropes Course is a subdivision of NexLevel Challenge Ltd. Beth is a former area resident who graduated from Bowden Grandview School and has established a successful company. Thank you for giving back to our community.”

Team building in the Great Outdoors – Hilti Canada

Taking Leadership to the “NexLevel” through experiential team building

Hilti Canada Team Building Program

Hilti Canada Leadership team after a very successful experience on the Challenge High Ropes.

This ambitious & diverse team showed up at our course for a day of team building and to have some fun! The goals were to focus on communication, accountability & trust, yet the results were so much more!

These guys had the opportunity to:

  • see one another in a different light than they do at work
  • build on one another’s success
  • experience the value of leadership through team building
  • better understand what it means to truly release control and trust your team
  • have fun and are motivated to incorporate more fun into their daily roles
Team building using a tent pole

How tough can it be to lower a tent pole to the ground?

Why will Hilti Canada recommend NexLevel Challenge?

  • “Great location, great people & very engaging fun activities”
  • “A lot of fun, eye opening & experiences were related to real life”
  • “Fantastic opportunity to bring team together to build teamwork and trust”