Raccoon Circles | Thomas E Smith: a Tribute by Ernesto Yturralde Worldwide Inc.


The Raccoon Circles: powerful tools

This is a tribute to Thomas E Smith the creator of the Raccoon Circles, who provided much of the historical, philosophical, ritual and ceremonial information in his book. Tom is a lifelong contributor to the adventure education field and the experiential learning. He is a frequent presenter at USA regional, USA national, and international conferences on experiential education, special education, therapeutic recreation and corporate training.  

His orientation has always been toward growth and learning, and he has long explored the potentials of outdoor therapy and challenge and adventure education.  In 1997, Dr. Thomas E Smith was honored by the AEE | Association for Experiential Education's Kurt Hahn Award, recognizing him as an important and life long leader in the field.

Raccoon Circles | Thomas E Smith: a Tribute by Ernesto Yturralde Worldwide Inc.    Raccoon Circles | Thomas E Smith: a Tribute by Ernesto Yturralde Worldwide Inc.

Jim Cain
is the author of the award winning adventure-based text Teamwork & Teamplay, and has researched, created, documented and contributed many of the Raccoon Circles activities and writings in The Raccoon Circles book. Which we recommend. www.TeamworkAndTeamplay.com


Raccoon Circles | Thomas E Smith: a Tribute by Ernesto Yturralde Worldwide Inc.    Raccoon Circles | Thomas E Smith: a Tribute by Ernesto Yturralde Worldwide Inc.


Raccoon Circles are an innovative, simple and easy technique for building unity, community, connection and teamwork with any group. This collection of Raccoon Circle activities, ideas, suggestions and stories will help you teach, train, counsel, facilitate, coach and manage your group, and connect them in the process. Click this link to download the article:  www.RaccoonCircles.com/pdf/raccoon_circles-jim_cain.pdf

This website is sponsored by Ernesto Yturralde, mentor, consultant, researcher, experiential learning facilitator & trainer. CEO of Ernesto Yturralde Worldwide Inc.

Raccoon Circle webbing tube
What do you need for Raccoon Circles? |   A loop of one-inch nylon webbing, often used for rock climbing and rappelling. 15 feet of webbing, forms a loop large enough to accommodate 12 adults / 15 children and using the water knot: hundreds of people.  It is strong, light-weight, and durable.

The webbing comes in a wide variety of colors. The Book of Raccoon Circles contains hundreds of ways to use the webbing in settings such as education, teambuilding, and leadership development.

 Need the book? Go to Training-Wheels store by clicking the book image!


Raccoon Circles, the book

Thomas E Smith, the Old Raccoon


"Tom Smith has been fooling around with tied loops of webbing for years, and getting some good experiential mileage from their applications to various games and initiative scenarios. Those of you who know Tom are familiar with his nickname, the Old Raccoon, given him by some Native American friends many decades ago. As Karl watched Tom facilitate a workshop some years ago, he commented that the webbing circles Tom was using looked like Raccoon Circles. And the name stuck. This newest edition of the book is the definitive resource for one of the simplest tools ever devised for creating community, building a unified team and actively learning together. Jim and Tom have teamed up to record the history, philosophy, ceremony and dozens of activities that can be facilitated using just a simple piece of webbing."

Adapted from the first edition's foreword by Karl Rohnke


Raccoon Circles | Tom Smith and Ernesto Yturralde  Karl Rohnke + Ernesto Yturralde Ernesto Yturralde + Jim Cain


The Debriefing


In Experiential Learning, the Debriefing is a semi-structured process by which the Facilitator, once an initiative or an activity is accomplished, elicits making a series of progressive questions, to process in an adequate sequence that let the learning-partners reflect what happened, giving substantial insights projecting towards the future, linking that future with the challenge and the actions.

New trends in the field of learning are supported by the experiential learning methodology developing experiential workshops as part of a training process in which workshops, activities, simulations, initiatives are tools that play a pivotal role in promoting self-discovery from the factual. The activities should be professionally structured and managed to achieve the objectives activated with the debriefing techniques.

There are many ELC Experiential Learning Cycles. Ernesto Yturralde developed the "Yturralde´s Debriefing Model of the 4 Elements: Water, Air, Earth and Fire", pre-presented at the ACCT | Association for Challenge Course Technology 22nd Conference at Boston, Massachusetts, on february 2012 and presented at the AEE | Association for Experiential Education International Conference at Colombia in june 2012.  This model is not an ELC, it is a model that helps the facilitators to make the right questions at the right moment, depending in the facilitators skills, taking the pulse of the learning-partners, as a group, and as individuals.

Want to learn more of the Yturralde´s Debriefing Model?




Ernesto Yturralde Worldwide Inc.



Contact us: +1(305) 600-0645

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