Feeling very, very small indeed.
I am standing in the middle of Lightning Lake, British Columbia, Canada. The light of the stars is bright enough for me to easily see the contrast of light and dark - brighter, actually than I thought it would be. An igloo stands a ways back, off to my left.
I check my watch. Time to go in.
I turn and walk in silence, a hundred paces back the way I came - where I join the rest of the scout troop I am leading. They have retraced their own steps back to the circle.
Technically I was not really alone - however with everyone separated and facing away from each other, looking only at the sky, the lake and the mountains, it was very easy to imagine you were indeed alone out there.
In absolute stillness.
We waited for the last few to join the circle and then we quietly shared observations of the experience. Most felt small, insignificant, alone in the vastness - but also not alone, either. They were not talking about the other members of the troop hundreds of feet from them - they were feeling small, but also part of their surroundings. Maybe the start of a sense of belonging to nature, and a few did not feel as cold standing there as they did on the walk out onto the lake.
The interesting part of the whole exercise was that from being and feeling quite alone out on the ice, we walked back to camp with a deeper connection from the shared experience of being alone in the universe - together. And I am quite sure that each of them will remember the experience as long as they live.
There is no one prescribed way to build a team, but the common thread in all successful methods is in doing things together. Whether you are leading and developing the youth who will be the leaders of tomorrow, or working with already-grown-ups, the principle is the same.
Teams grow and bond (and sometimes break apart) through challenges and the shared experience of building or accomplishing things - together.
Listen to the podcast, or read the full article on Gazza's Corner blog.