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THE STRUCTURESolo Challenge: the basic structure
OF SOLO CHALLENGE
There are three highlights in this event:
It can be pitched at many levels because adjusting the nature and level of challenge to suit each individual is exactly what the first stage is all about.
- the negotiation
- the challenge
- the reporting back
To be able to make such adjustments, and for 'Solo Challenge' to work well, people need to have been together for a few days during which they have become a reasonably supportive group, and are ready to welcome a change from the 'routine' of group challenges.
Stage 1: The Negotiation
(approximately 30 minutes)
To get things going, get a lively brainstorming session going, focusing in turn (and briefly) on each person in the group. Ask everyone to come up with ideas for a suitable challenge for that person. Individuals may also suggest challenges for themselves.
I usually throw in lots of rules but these are also subject to negotiation. Therefore you will not find a ready-made set of rules on this page! Here is just one very useful rule: ANYONE CAN VETO ANYTHING. The consequences of this (kind of) rule are typically:
Stage 2: The Challenge
- the group doesn't let an individual get away with a challenge that is too easy, too hard, too unoriginal, or too like someone else's
- if an individual feels they've got a bad deal, or feel under pressure, they are encouraged to keep using their veto until a decent/acceptable challenge is devised.
- I will keep using my veto until I am satisfied that everyone has come out with a fair deal and has a decent challenge that they can safely undertake - and enjoy.
There have been physical challenges, but those requiring creativity and communication have provided the most memorable breakthroughs in personal and group development. For some people it is the negotiation phase at the start that provides most learning - when they are the focus of attention.
What types of 'solo challenges' have come up?
Here are some examples of 'challenges' that have been agreed and carried out:
for a modest person who has achieved a lot:
come back in half an hour and tell us the story of your life in 5 minutes.
for a person who no longer finds time to write for pleasure:
write a poem
for a very academic person:
in 30 minutes greet 10 strangers with an everyday comment about the weather
(''You can say 'Chilly isn't it?' but any technical terms like 'adiabatic lapse rate' or even 'warm front' are not allowed!'')
for a busy non-stop person:
lie down for 30 minutes (in the same place)
for someone not technically minded:
to have a hands-on lesson about a repair to a car engine from someone not very patient (not strictly a 'solo' challenge - but who cares? - see 'rules' below)
a similar pairing as the last example but for learning to play the piano in 30 minutes.
Do all the challenges happen at the same time?
Yes - that's how I have used it. One advantage of activities taking place simultaneously is that it generates a great report back session (see next).
Stage 3: Report Back
Immediately after the 'solo challenges', news and interest value are hot, and report backs are fresh, improvised and unrehearsed. In fact the report back session is often the highlight of the exercise. This can be because:
- Everyone has contributed in some way to the generation of each individual's challenge and wants to know how each challenge worked out.
- In some cases the 'reporting back' is actually part of the challenge itself (e.g. the person telling their 5 minute life story to the group).
- Everyone has a tale worth telling about their personalised challenge - and there is typically plenty of variety, emotion and humour in these tales.
Next: More Notes and Tips about Solo Challenge
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