Boston Bruins Score Team Building Goal on Thompson Island

July, 2013

By Paul Lamoureux, Vice President Programs

The Boston Bruins created a buzz of excitement on July 15th as their rookie prospects tackled trust exercises and climbing walls to build teamwork, communication and conflict resolution skills. The 23 prospects boarded a morning ferry to Thompson Island where they participated in an Outward Bound Professional (OBP) course as part of the Boston Bruin’s Player Development Camp. Off the ice, they were pushed out of their comfort zones and driven to new limits.

The challenges they faced and lessons learned are all similar to the experiences our young people enjoy every day through Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center programs. Throughout their OBP course, activities were documented on social media by Caryn Switaj, Boston Bruin’s Digital Content Specialist and crew. Thompson Island youth alum immediately recognized their location and excitedly announced their favorite team was engaging in the same activities they have experienced. Boston’s young people flooded Instagram and Twitter with comments and tweets:

“This is teambuilding and getting to know one another on Thompson Island. I’ve done it before!”

“I climbed this Alpine Tower this summer! It was way fun and challenging!”

“Hey (tagged all his Thompson Island friends)! They are going to Thompson Island just like we did!”

This year more than 6,500 young people will be able to discover the same excitement and life changing activities as the Boston Bruins prospects, as well as more than 1,500 adults in OBP courses. Below is a blog post and social media photos from the Boston Bruins prospects’ big day. It paints a great picture of the challenges all kids face on the island, whatever their age.

We are very thankful to for giving us permission to redistribute this material! All coverage was produced by the Boston Bruins’ crew of Caryn Switaj, Jonathan Gotlieb and Brandon McNelis.

Prospects Taken Out of Their Comfort Zones

Monday, 07.15.2013 / 2:51 PM

By Caryn Switaj – Bostonbruins.comBruins Blog

THOMPSON ISLAND – After finishing up with the on-ice portion of Development Camp, the prospects traveled into Boston and out on the water for team-building activities on Thompson Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands system.

In years past, the prospects have taken part in The Program, a military training based challenge that is physically grueling. This year, the “team bonding” time happened on the final day of camp. On the island, they’re taken through various challenges that test them with problem solving, leadership, and most importantly, teamwork.

“To serve and not to yield” is the motto for Thompson Island Outward Bound Professional, who organizes the programs for young kids, as well as specialized programs like the one today for the prospects.

Before the day started, the prospects were asked what they’ve learned this week throughout camp.

“Sky’s the limit,” said Anthony Camara. “You take out what you put in,” added Wiley Sherman.

The prospects then separated into two groups for activities. All week, they’ve been tested on and off the ice in many capacities. But on a day like today, while their athleticism helps them through low and ropes courses, the lessons become entirely about teamwork.

Trust and “learning by doing” are the name of the game. Throughout activities, they learn from mistakes and improve performance, while sharing advice.

One particular challenge that ended the morning involved the prospects hoisting each other over a 14-foot wall, one by one, until Brian Ferlin was the last one standing.

Then the real challenge began.

Anthony Camara, Malcolm Subban and Adam Morrison had to help him get over the edge.

Several ideas were thrown out: Dangle a leg, use Subban’s (extremely) long reach, rely on Camara’s upper-body strength. They decided on having Ferlin run up the wall and grab onto the trio. It took countless tries.

What was the magic method?

“A lot of teamwork,” said Ferlin. “I mean, I didn’t know how I was going to get over at first. So I was just sitting there watching the other guys go over. A little boost and seeing how difficult it was.”

“So I didn’t know, without the boost, what I was going to do – it took us probably around 10 or 15 minutes just to get it down.”

“Just trial and error and eventually me and Subban got the wrist going there.”

Trial and error. Teamwork. And a little encouragement goes a long way.

“It’s definitely a little chaotic and stuff once everyone’s pushed out of their comfort zone out of their limits,” said Zane Gothberg, who has emerged as a leader during his fourth camp. His vocal leadership helped give Subban, Ferlin and crew the vote of confidence they needed to get over the hurdle – literally.

“It makes for an interesting morning so far, but it’s obviously fun to learn from each other, learn how to react in certain situations with each other,” said Gothberg.

“You learn and react with different situations and stuff with all the guys here and that’s how you really get to know each other is in those uncomfortable situations, resolving the conflict together, and doing it productively.”

The morning altogether resulted in a variety of learning experiences – and the day was just half over. The prospects were set to take part in high ropes courses and rock climbing, and Gothberg was appreciative of the process so far.

“Each different exercise had good aspects, good team bonding aspects so they all were very beneficial to the whole process.”

To get an even closer up and personal view of the Boston Bruins prospects’ OBP course please visit the following links:

Photo Gallery:

Additional Blog Post:


Alpine Tower Climb from Chris Casto’s video camera:

For more information about conducting an Outward Bound Professional course please contact Ellen Harris at


Posted July 24, 2013 by thompsonisland in Uncategorized

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