After being back in Boston for almost a week, I think about my friends back at the Global Leadership Program (GLP) in Panama City at least twice a day. Though we were a large group, almost thirty total, I felt a special connection with each person I met.
The month was more intense than any of us ever expected. We had more class and homework than we were used to but we got the gist of things after a few days. As a class, we always did our best finishing group projects and presentations. We even created and ran a workshop for the Lion’s Club: Panama! We were so proud of the team after the day of the workshop. It was a great feeling to know how much hard work everyone put in to this group effort.
I know the only way that the GLP team worked so well is that we bonded as a team before going to work. Just like each SWSG Chapter, GLP valued team bonding (or “mentor bonding” for SWSG). The first weekend we were there, the GLP team was taken to a beach house for three days solely for team building. Focusing merely on that helped us tremendously. We got to know each other through activities and games, and were able to see how we worked together in a relaxed, fun setting before heading to our more serious work that awaited.
Team building is the main thing I want to bring back to my SWSG Chapter. I know what a tremendous difference bonding can do to a team, I lived it. After our team building retreat, we were stronger than ever, ready for the busy month ahead and we got through it together. Leaving Panama was bittersweet. I was sad to leave my GLP family but there was something in my head telling me that I will see all of my team again, and I know I will.
What are some of the most effective team bonding activities you have tried? Why do you believe team building is important, or not?

Andreia is the Chapter Director for UMass Boston. She founded the chapter in 2012.  She resides in historic Boston and is constantly singing or listening to music.