What is trust?

On Oct. 22-23, JUMP! ran a leadership program with 12 students from the Western Academy of Beijing’s middle school.  As part of this program, which focused on personal and community leadership, JUMP! ran the students through a series of trust challenges.  The trust sequence is made up of progressively more difficult partner and group activities that challenge participants to trust themselves and their community.

We started with some partner challenges, such as ‘Reflection’, in which partners must mirror each others movements exactly, as if they are standing in front of a mirror; ‘The Lean’, in which partners lean against each other, connected at the hands, while taking small steps backwards, applying more and more pressure to their partner; and ‘Partner Stand’, in which partners start in a sitting position, with their backs to one another and their arms linked, where the goal is to get both partners to a standing position.

We then moved into some group trust challenges, such as ‘Trust Fall’, where two people support a third as they fall backwards; ‘Wind in the Willows’, where the group stands in a tight circle and passes one student around the center, as if they were a willow tree in the wind; and ‘Trust Run’, where the group forms a corridor with their arms stretched out to block it, and one at a time, each person runs through the corridor as the arms are lifted up.

The last challenge in the trust sequence is a whole group activity called ‘Levitation’.  This challenge is done in silence. The group stands in a tight circle and one person is chosen to lie flat in the center.  In three steps, the group raises that person above their heads, creating the feeling of levitation.

The WAB Middle School students successfully completed the trust sequence and had a thoughtful debrief discussion around the questions: What is trust? Who do you trust? What does communication have to do with trust?

We look forward to JUMPing into more leadership programs at the Western Academy of Beijing this winter!

Written by JUMP! Facilitator Aveleigh Gateman

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