September 2019 Session Recap: Real Colors & High Ropes Course

This post was written by LDA Class of 2019-20 Team On The Rocks member Tonya Jackson of Mercyhealth. Other team members include: Sarah Millard, City of Beloit; Emily Behrens, Balsey Printing; Kayla Oestreich, Community Action; Matt Robinson, City of Janesville; and Jim Brewer, Clinton Community School District.

LDA Class of 2019-20 Team On The Rocks
Members of Team On The Rocks

Touring Prent Corp.

The 2019-20 class kicked off the year with back-to-back sessions. Day one, the class met at Prent Corporation in Janesville, WI. We learned a lot about how medical packaging is made. Every package is custom made. We were able to see the process from how the prototypes are made all the way to the final product.

Who would have known that there was that much detail for just one package container? It was a very informative tour and I will never look at the packaging my items come in the same again.

Learning about our personality types

While at Prent, we learned about Real Colors. I really learned a lot about myself and the people in my life. I knew how I tick, and I had a hard time understanding how others ticked that were different from me. As Linda was explaining the other colors, I instantly could place my husband, family, and co-worker in categories and things started to make sense.

The class really opened my eyes and taught me how to successfully communicate and work with people that are different “colors” than me. The class really showed me that my weaknesses are someone else’s strengths and when we work together we can balance each other out. I will be taking what I learned about Real Colors and use it to become an effective leader at my work place and within my community.

Working together at OWLS

Day two, the class met at Outdoor Wisconsin Leadership School (OWLS) in Fontana, WI. “Wow, oh wow” is what I have to say about my day at OWLS.

From the second I arrived, my team and I were challenged with completing group challenges. The group challenges were not only physical, but they were very much mental challenges. The team had to rely on others when they were faced with their weaknesses.

It was great to see the Real Colors lesson come into action. Everyone’s colors were coming out in every challenge and we would call out specific colors at certain times because we knew as a team that we needed that colors strengths at that moment. It was a bit hard for me at first to put my “gold” traits aside and let someone else do something. But then you see the team inching closer and closer to the finish line, you realize that it’s no longer about you and it is about the team.

Tackling the high ropes course

My team took part in seven team challenges. There were three that stood out the most for me: the lava/trail/spider web, the poles, and the hula hoop.

In the lava/trail/spider web challenge we had two members that lost multiple blocks each and not once did the team give them a hard time. Instead we worked to correct the issue and came up with a new strategy where we wouldn’t lose anymore blocks. Thank you to our “green” teammates for coming up with an alternative solution. PS, I was one of those teammates that lost three blocks…sorry team.

The poles and the hula hoop challenge, on the other hand, really tested our team’s patience. It might have been because it was the last two challenges of the day, but the team was growing frustrated and voiced multiple times that they wanted to quit, my “orange” teammates. Good thing there were some “blue” team members that kept encouraging the team to keep going because if they wouldn’t have been there I think we would have just waived the white flag.

Picture this: the instructor is giving you instructions on the high ropes course, a tree limb breaks off and falls to the ground. Well that is what happened to my team. Talk about testing your mental strength! The team managed to put that behind them and moved forward to complete the high ropes course.

With the cheering of encouragement, the entire team climbed to the top of the high ropes course. All members pushed themselves and went farther than they ever could have imagined. But that wouldn’t have been the outcome if it wasn’t for the rest of the team on the sidelines cheering them on.

The ropes course was my favorite, it tested my physical strength more than anything, well, after I forgot about the tree limb falling in the beginning. I took it as a challenge and wanted to climb the hardest ladder up and complete all the different obstacles at the top. I can say that I was successful and I owe my teammates the credit for encouraging me.

At the end of the day two, our amazing OWLS instructor, Tony, gave us a bracelet. The bracelet was multicolored and summed up our entire day. To me it signified all the teams’ colors coming together as one.


This was a great experience and I am grateful that I was able to be a part of it. In just two days, I have developed a great group of friends that I know I can reach out to, if I need them.