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The IATF "10 in 10" Project: A Team and Leadership Development Experience for 5th Graders

ABOUT the 10-in-10 PROJECT

The IATF provides teachings, tools and community to help people more fully realize the power of teamwork. Virtually everyone in the IATF community is an adult and yet we know that when young people learn how to leverage the power of teamwork we are far more likely to bring about profound levels of positive social change.

To put it simply...

When we make the investment to help young people learn team and leadership skills the world is a better place.

Our goal with the 10-in-10 Project is to create massive positive social change by providing a free three-hour in-school leadership development program (called "Adventure Day") for 10,000 fifth graders.

The "10-in-10" refers to 10,000  ten  year olds (most fifth graders are ten years old).


The Adventure Day Leadership Program helps students learn how to:

  • become strong leaders
  • work in a team
  • communicate with greater effectiveness
  • creatively solve problems in a group setting

Students benefit in the following ways:

  • self esteem increases
  • greater awareness of personal potential
  • increased sense of personal responsibility
  • greater understanding of peers

Program participants (students) learn how to apply the lessons experienced in Adventure Day to their everyday personal, academic and social encounters.




I am happy to endorse the Adventure Day Leadership Development Program. Our school first participated May 2012 when Tom Heck arrived on campus to work with our fifth grade students in a variety of team and leadership development exercises that generated a lot of enthusiasm, excitement, and most importantly, follow up conversations and reflective sessions among our students. These processes that Mr. Heck manages are deceptively simple but carry profound messages that the participating students absorb and carry with them. For fifth graders making the transition from elementary to the next year in middle school, this is profoundly important. Research is showing us that academic accomplishment follows individual adoption of patterns of successful behaviors that promote cooperation, not the other way around. How children succeed depends on how well they learn and apply attributes that predict success in the movement from dependence, to independence, to interdependence. Mr. Heck’s skillful guidance in the acquisition of these skills is an important part of their education.


Dr. Gordon Grant
Hall Fletcher Elementary School
Asheville, North Carolina


Teacher Testimonials


More Teacher Testimonials

Adventure Day is an incredible resource for the classroom. The activities Mr. Heck provided increased student awareness of how teams can work together to maximize their efforts. I saw my students realize the importance of supporting one another, engage in meaningful dialogue and deal with real life conflict in productive ways. The activities also provided me with invaluable data about my students. Not only did I see children who displayed strong leadership and communication skills but also those who needed further instruction on how to cope with difficult situations and frustration. Children learn best in a classroom where there is a strong sense of community and teamwork. This program can help educators establish that type of environment at their schools.

Tommy Seijo
Fifth Grade Teacher
Hall Fletcher Elementary
Asheville, NC 

Adventure Day is a great way to incorporate 21st Century Skills into the 5th grade classroom. During the program our 5th grade students worked in teams and faced challenges that required many new 21st Century Skills, including :

  • communication & collaboration
  • leadership & responsibility
  • creativity & innovation
  • critical thinking & problem solving skills
Classroom dynamics improved following participation in this program.  This is a program we’ll continue to utilize for years to come.
Ms. Marni Rubin-Flanigan
Mr. Bart Murray
5th Grade Teachers
ArtSpace Charter School



The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a vision for 21st century student success in the new global economy.

Mastery of core subjects and 21st century themes is essential for students in the 21st century. Core subjects include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, government and civics.

We believe schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects. 

The Adventure Day program supports these areas of the 21st Century Student Outcomes:

Learning and Innovation Skills

Learning and innovation skills are what separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century and those who are not.They include:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration

Life and Career Skills

Today’s life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge.The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills, such as:

  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leadership and Responsibility

Learn more about the Framework for  21st Century Learning HERE.



From 1991 - 1997 IATF President & Founder Tom Heck worked for the YMCA of Western North Carolina.  During this time Tom developed a program called "Adventure Day", a leadership development program specifically designed for 10 year olds (fifth graders).  Over the course of six years Tom, along with a small team of facilitators, delivered the Adventure Day program to over 8,000 fifth grade students in the city and county school system in and around Asheville, North Carolina.



Adventure Day is built upon a series of experiential learning activities that engage students at a deep level.  Students learn team and leadership lessons through fun learning activties (exercises, games).  The various activities require a variety of skills to complete but physical strength is not necessary to accomplish the activities. 



IATF President & Founder Tom Heck is providing free train-the-trainer workshops.  You'll learn how to deliver the fifth grade leadership program in schools.  These workshops can be 2 to 4 hours in length depending on the needs of the group.  To schedule your train-the-trainer workshop contact Tom Heck directly.


  • February 17, 2012 at the YMCA Camp Greenville PEAK Conference.  Details HERE.
  • March 16, 2012 in Raleigh, NC
  • May 23, 2012 in Asheville, NC.   
  • October 23, 2012 at Montreat College in Black Mountain, NC
  • November 7, 2012 at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC
  • November 19, 2012 at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC
  • November 29, 2012 at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC
  • March 1, 2013 at YMCA Camp Greenville in SC
  • more dates coming soon





All facilitator support materials are free to download.  Materials include:

HANDOUTS: Pre-event Fact Sheet for Teachers, Teacher Pre-event Worksheet, What The Students Need to Know (teacher reads this to the students), Post Event Survey for the Teacher, The Results Diagram Explained, Problem Solving Sequence, Advice from Adventure Day Facilitators, Program Design, Metaphor Cards, Character Education Cards, Optical Illusions and more

GAME  DESCRIPTIONS: Complete lead-it-yourself directions for all the games.

VIDEO: Full 3 hour video depicting a full program from beginning to end led by Tom Heck, the program originator.

===>  To access all the  facilitator resources just create a free account in the IATF Members Only Area and then click on "FORUMS".


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