I am a gripper of the hoist. That means that my specialty skill is rigging, using a griphoist to set up highlines and/or draglines to move heavy objects like boulders that would be otherwise too difficult to move. Our motto is “Slow and boring!” mostly because if we mess up, boulders can go crashing through the forest, wreaking havoc wherever they may!
Specialty skills week has been a whirlwind of learning new skills and honing decision-making processes, making rocky (ha!) puns, and overcoming the challenge of the seemingly never-ending Massachusetts winter. Specialty skills week has also served in molding this tight-knit crew of 26 corps members into smaller, even tighter-knit groups between each specialty skill (chainsaw, griphoist, and carpentry). Over the past week, each group has made so many accomplishments, which really makes our communal meal times more exciting – hearing stories of a sawyer’s first felling of a tree, winning a shirt in the Game of Logging, and even cutting a cookie! Meal time also serves as a forum for telling such stories – about how I climbed a tree to put up a sling and snatchblock and how we as a group levitated a boulder! How cool is that?! Corps members in each specialty skill group seem to even be able to talk to each other using secret code lingo specific to each skill (Can you bring me that snatchblock and shackle so I can work on our angle of deflection?).
At one point in our training, we were working on knot-tying, learning a basic overhand knot on a bight. A bight is a loop in a rope. The instructor showed us the knot and somebody asked, “What’s an overhand not on a bight?” A few of us were confused: hadn’t the instructor just showed it to us?
“This IS the overhand knot on a bight!” the instructor said as he held up the knot for us to see.
“But what is the overhand not on a bight?” This conversation went around for a minute or two as we all tried to figure out what was causing the misunderstanding and correcting it. After we realized that the two words sounding exactly the same (knot, not) were creating the problem, we all had a good laugh.
It just goes to show that communication is a key component of any team , whether it be on the large full-corps community scale, smaller specialty skill groups, and even in more one-on-one conversation. If there is a misunderstanding, talking through it really does help. Who knows – there may something to laugh about later!