Alabaster Teen Council holds team-building day

ALABASTER- The newly appointed Alabaster Teen Council got to know one another through adventure-based, team-building exercises at the Family Connection, Inc. building and Challenge Course on Friday, April 21. Mayor Marty Handlon said the event served as a way for members to interact for the first time and kick-off their year in office.

“This is just the beginning of their service,” Handlon said. “This gives them a chance to bond, because they all come from different groups in our community. They don’t think about all they accomplish before they’ve completed these exercises.”

Handlon said the teen council has participated in yearly team-building exercises since its inception four years ago. She said she got the idea from a similar event hosted by Leadership Shelby County.

“I first experienced this while I was participating in Leadership Shelby County, and I remember the benefit that it had for adults. That’s what I love about this,” Handlon said.

According to Handlon and Family Connection Resident Adolescent Counselor Kimbrlei McCain, the exercises taught teen council members about the value of teamwork, problem-solving skills and communication.

“They have to assess each other’s abilities, communicate, develop a plan, trust each other and utilize their strengths,” McCain said. “A lot of these activities can’t be done alone, and they require you to get input from other people. This pushes them out of their comfort zone.”

McCain noted that all of the exercises involved getting each member from one place to another.

“Everything on our Challenge Course has a starting and end point. It helps them find what the problems are and overcome the issues together, and it helps them recognize the perspectives of different people,” McCain said. “There is a lot that goes into something that looks so simple.”

McCain said she saw the potential for a strong teen council through watching them on the Challenge Course.

“They’re doing a wonderful job. You can tell that, together, they have so many abilities. They’ve done a great job of being inclusive and supportive of each other,” McCain said.

After the teen council finished activities on the Challenge Course, they participated in a personality profile, where they assessed the interests and leadership skills of their fellow members, and held a brainstorming session to make plans for the upcoming year.Handlon said she expects the skills the members developed will extend far beyond the Alabaster Teen Council in their future years.

“The repeating theme here is communicating and listening. Everybody has something to contribute,” Handlon said. “It would be nice if a lot of adults had those skills, as well.”