Basic Information

The preparation process is not only about setting up the team or defining the target group but also about defining a common goal. As a team you have to think about what you want to achieve with the treehouse camp. The overall goal can be different for every treehouse camp.

  • Do you want to focus on cooperation and communication?
  • Do you want the participants to deal with fears and trust?
  • Or do you mainly want them to experience treehouse building with a group?

Besides the overall goal it is good to think about what result you want from the treehouse camp. Do you want to live in it or be able to sleep in it? How many platforms do you want to build? You can make a building plan ahead of time or you can make one together with the participants (depends on overall goal).

The overall goal and the result of the treehouse is closely linked to your teams experience but also your group of participants. Make sure that during the camp you keep checking if you are on your way to reach the goal, if the goal is still suitable and if not, is it necessary to change it?

Background Information

The Golden Circle

Simon Sinek (2009) describes the 'Golden Circle' as a way of thinking and presenting ideas. The Golden circle consists of 3 circles. He believes that we should first identify ‘why’ we do what we do (inspiration/motivation), then address ‘how’ we do it, and end with describing ‘what’ we do (product or service).

He discovered that behind successful brands the same way of thinking, acting and communicating (from ‘why’ to ‘what’) are underlying. This is the opposite of how the majority typically thinks, acts and communicates (first ‘what’ then ‘how’ and only sometimes considering ‘why’).

This model is applicable in every setting, also in the world of outdoor education and therefore for treehouse building. ‘Why’ is about why you do an activity, what your motivation is and what you would like to accomplish in the group? ‘How’ is about the method that you are using to achieve that goal. ‘What’ is the activity itself that you do.

What is the need of the group and what would they like to accomplish? When there is a connection between people, suddenly the "what" becomes less relevant.

If you want to know more, here is the TED talk where Simon Sinek introduced the Golden Circle to the world.

TRACTOR method

Those who do not know the goal will also not know the way, says a well-known proverb. Pioneering technology as a pedagogical method relies on the process, i.e. planning and implementing something together. It is important to deal with your own goals right from the start, but also with those of the team. Realising a building project together means that everyone is pulling in the same direction. It is helpful if everyone has the same vision in their mind (e.g. Brüngger, Sam)

The TRACTOR Method helps you to work with a group of people on common goals.

T What is the Topic from the team's point of view? Ask yourself whether everyone has the same goals. The same goal does not mean that everyone has the same ideas about how a goal can be achieved. Clarify together your goals and how you want to achieve them.

  • Example: The topic is to build a tree house together. The goals are to create a habitable tree house, a good experience for each participant and for the group. Each person should be strengthened in his competencies and learn new things

R What material Resources are available?

  • Example: is a suitable piece of woodland / terrain and the necessary material for the project available?

A How do you manage to Activate the team? Activating means to motivate and inspire each individual for the project. Enable participation and initiative. Activating also means to work in an experience-oriented way.

  • Example: Motivation is increased by leaving responsibility and creative freedom to the individual.

C Which Competencies are necessary? What skills do the individuals bring with them? How can I strengthen the competencies of the individual? Which ones do we have to work towards, and which ones must be called upon?

  • Example: One team member is a carpenter. Does this person want to take responsibility for building the stairs, for example? Or someone from the team takes great photos. Could this person accompany the project photographically?

T How is the whole thing Terminated? How much time do we have? How do we allocate the time sensibly? Are there any intermediate steps (milestones that must be reached by a certain time)?

  • Example: Create a project structure plan and a resulting schedule or project plan, which the team can use as a basis for orientation

O How do we Organize ourselves? What is the organisational framework? The leaders encourage cooperation between the individuals.

  • Example: Distribution of tasks

R What should the Result look like in the end? A common vision helps and connects. Are there other results you want to achieve besides the actual product? (e.g. social, methodical or emotional goals?)

  • Example: A habitable tree house was built. All participants and teamers had a good time together. They grew together as a group. Together they created something and developed personally and in the group. The experiences and adventures can be transfered to learning for home. The goals set at the beginning were achieved.






CVJM-Akademie gGmbH
Institut für Erlebnispädagogik
Im Dru­sel­tal 8
34131 Kassel

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Funded by Erasmus+ "Youth in Action"

The website and the content was developed in the project "Treehouse Camps - a Method to Strengthen Key Competences and Integration in Youth Work".

Project duration: September 2018 - August 2021