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Prospects Taken Out of Their Comfort Zones

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

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."

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