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YLT-Helium Stick

Work as a team to slowly lower the helium stick (a tent pole works well!) to the ground. Careful now, don’t let it float away!

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  • What materials do you need for this activity?  
  • Who will facilitate the activity? Who will lead? What’s the difference?  
  • What strategy might be helpful for this challenge? Who in your group has done this activity before? 


  • As a group, form two equal lines and stand facing one another. Point your index fingers at the person standing opposite you and hold them up at chest height—everyone in the row should have their fingers held at the same level.  
  • Your facilitator will rest a pole on your fingers (a tent pole works well).  
  • Your challenge is to bring the pole down to the ground as a group. Sounds easy, right? Here’s the catch—everyone needs to keep both of their index fingers in contact with the pole while you bring it down to the ground. You should keep your fingers sideways – don’t hook them around the pole! You’ll find this task isn’t nearly as easy as you expect! 


  • What do you know now that you did not know before?  
  • Who emerged as a leader in this challenge? How did he or she lead? Was his or her leadership style appropriate?  
  • What was challenging about this activity? Why was this the case?  
  • How did your team communicate when doing this activity?  
  • What strategy did you find successful?  
  • What other situations does this activity remind you of? Why? 

Keep it Simple

This activity is easier with a heavier stick – start with a heavier stick and then work your way to a lighter one! 

Take it Further

Try this activity a different way and have everyone close their eyes except for one person. That person oversees leading the group to get the stick lowered to the ground. Was it easier or harder to do the activity this way?