Dr. Jim Cain is the author of 14 adventure-based teambuilding texts, including the award winning book Teamwork & Teamplay, which received the Karl Rohnke Creativity Award presented by the Association for Experiential Education, The Book on Raccoon Circles, A Teachable Moment, Teambuilding Puzzles, and Essential Staff Training Activities. He is a former Executive Director for the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) and the creative force behind his training company, Teamwork & Teamplay. Jim makes his home in Brockport, NY. For 15 years he worked as a senior research engineer for Eastman Kodak. He holds four degrees, including a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester. Dr. Cain frequently serves as a visiting professor on subjects ranging from teambuilding and experiential education using adventure-based activities to corporate culture and leadership. He is the innovator of more than three dozen teambuilding activities and props, and has presented more than 1500 programs in 49 states and 28 countries in the past 10 years.
Jim began teaching dance and games as a 4-H camp counselor in 1973 and has assisted with hundreds of summer camp programs in North America since then. He is a third generation square dance caller, plays guitar and mandolin, and has recorded with the ensemble Thistledown performing acoustic music of Scotland and Ireland on guitar, fiddle and hammered dulcimer. His first CD, The Hills of Lorne sold over 10,000 copies.
In recent years, Jim has presented workshops, staff training events, seminars and keynote presentations in 44 states and 12 countries. In 1996, he helped create and facilitate a team building program for the NASA Lunar-Mars project to prepare personnel for extended missions. Jim also assists with the staff training of many camping programs each year. He has designed and constructed his own barn which holds an extensive woodworking shop and space for adventure activities.
In 1998, Jim traveled twice to Nagano, Japan to construct a high and low element challenge course near the site of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The high element ropes course was only the second ever constructed in that nation at the time and received extensive media coverage.
In addition to challenge and adventure education programs, Jim has created a series of corporate teambuilding activities that have been used with technical teams, managers, sales teams and assembly workers in the United States, cosmetic workers and sales forces in Italy, and language teachers in Japan. These activities have also been applied in academic, therapeutic recreation and other professional settings. Jim has also worked extensively to create fully accessible adventure programs and challenge course equipment for organizations which include participants with specialized needs.
Over his many years in the adventure field, Jim has invented more than 3 dozen team activities. He has worked extensively with challenge course and teambuilding professional organizations including collaborations with Outward Bound, Adventureworks!, MAP (Italy), Cradlerock, ERI and Alpine Towers. During his graduate studies he mechanically tested the strength and physical properties of many types of adventure equipment and ropes course hardware.
In addition to teambuilding activities, Jim also makes a variety of boomerangs, 2 liter bottle and paper rockets, rain sticks, tin whistles, metal pipe chimes, sundials, and generally has more toys than many developing nations. As the owner, director and creative force behind Teamwork & Teamplay, Jim frequently consults with schools, colleges, youth centers, camps and corporate clients regarding the use of adventure-based and active learning activities. He has created a multitude of portable, ground-level initiatives and challenge activities in addition to designing and building equipment for these activities. His publications include contributions to The Book of Metaphors - Volume II edited by Michael Gass, 50 Ways to Use Your Noodle by Chris Cavert & Sam Sikes, Adventure Programming by Miles & Priest, Developing Challenge Course Programs for Schools by Wurdinger & Steffen, and his classics Teamwork & Teamplay, The Book on Raccoon Circles, Teambuilding Puzzles and A Teachable Moment. His newest book is The Value of Connection - In the Workplace. Watch for a second volume of Teamwork & Teamplay and an updated and expanded version of The Book on Raccoon Circles in the future.