Thousands of colourful Lego pieces greeted our Junior Worlds team on Wednesday, as they took part in a team bonding exercise which allowed their imaginations to run wild.
Arriving at the Telstra Tower in Canberra, the team had no idea what was in store for their team activity during their National Youth Camp – and it’s fair to say they were very surprised.
“We were told we were coming on this day out and then we ended up at the Telstra Tower making Lego, which has been great for team building and getting to know each other through our Lego creations,” Rackley swimmer Bronte Job said.
The session was held by lifelong Lego fan, Ben Craig, from The Brick Builder, who uses Lego as a form of communication and team building.
“I think most people when they see Lego bricks start to smile, it’s a creative way to communicate and engage – it’s also out of the norm. It’s usually child’s play but to bring it into a team context gives it a bit of wow factor,” Craig said.
“We’re using Lego as a way to communicate their individual strengths, personalities and ideals, and then bringing that into a team context to discuss team values and strengths.
“Rather than using whiteboards or pens or one person talking in a meeting, this way everyone can build their own little piece and build a collective structure at the end,” Craig added.
It wasn’t just the athletes who took part in building creations, as a true team activity, all coaches and support staff were also involved, including National Youth Head Coach Glenn Beringen.
“We thought this would be a good opportunity to do something different. It’s a fun activity based around working together as individuals and as a team,” Beringen said.
“I think it’s another way for individuals to reveal a bit about themselves through the things they make, but also they’re going to have to contribute as a whole to the group for us to be successful – both of those things are really important as a team.”
Starting off the four-hour session with an “icebreaker”, each small group familiarised themselves with the Lego, before building little structures which encapsulated their values and strengths. Those structures then came together to create one big “super story” that embodied the team values and what they see is important to them.
From castles and animals to rockets and towers, there was no ceiling on the scope of creativity and lessons learnt – some more valuable than others.
“I learnt that I’m not too good with Lego – I’m quite clumsy and I’ve never used it before,” Job laughed.
“It’s important to have team bonding exercises and come together as a team because you just have to have everyone’s back and whether you swim well or not so well, it’s just important everyone gets around you and get your spirits up so you can race better.”
The junior team held their National Youth Camp from 7-13 July at the AIS in Canberra, before they travel to Budapest in Hungary to compete at the World Junior Swimming Championships in August.
Stay tuned to Swimming Australia’s website and social media channels, as we look forward to introducing you to the team.