The phrase “team building” often inspires sighs, eye rolls and maybe even a mild sense of dread among members of corporate teams.
These days, smart management teams skip the name tags and the icebreakers and opt for some fun, out-of-the-box bonding exercises that can fool even then most skeptical office worker into enjoying a day of fun with their coworkers and central Ohio offers several options for unique team building experiences.
Ever spent some time in the kitchen with someone?
Cooking together highlights strengths, problem solving skills, ability to follow instruction and sense of urgency. At Woodhaven Farm in Johnstown, cooking is the basis for an alternative to traditional team building methods like golf outings and treasure hunts.
“Through the process of food preparation, your group will create both a gourmet meal and a cohesive, results-driven team,” the farm’s website states. “Good food and dining serve to breakdown cultural and social barriers.”
Woodhaven states that the hands-on experience of cooking allows teams to hone their skills in planning, communication, meeting deadlines and evaluating results.
Groups receive instruction from a Culinary Institute of America trained chef and corporate teams can choose their menus when they organize their visit (the farm is also a retreat.) After cooking, teams sit down to enjoy a meal together.
Using cooking as a tool for facilitating coworker interactions, Woodhaven maintains that the experience helps team members get to know each other beyond email and provides means for everyone to relax in a “high-fun” environment.
Details can be found at WoodhavenFarm.com/TeamBuilding.
The Go Game
Many employees who have had to take part in team building exercises have experienced the meeting that involves sitting in a musty conference room while solving a problem or, worse, going around the room stating “interesting facts” about themselves.
The Go Game aims to take teams out of the conference room or event center and put them in the action as they run around their city solving puzzles.
“Playing The Go Game with your coworkers will be the best thing you ever do as a team,” the game’s website states. “Bring us your over-competitive salesperson, your skeptical product manager and stressed-out director; The Go Game will braid you all into a friendship bracelet of professional effectiveness that will be the envy of your professional peers.”
The Go Game touts itself as “sitting at the intersection of technology, exploration and creativity.”
The company connects corporate teams with “game producers” to customize a team building experience specific to the client.
Once the event is set up, players race through the game zone on “missions” solving clues and performing tasks with the aid of customized cellphones, digital cameras and even actors inserted into the action in order to earn the most points.
The games are customizable in order to achieve the goals of a specific employer and can include things like trivia questions written specifically about the company or team members.
According to The Go Game, teams will “discover the magic of your real-world surroundings and the creative potential that resides within you all.”
Since the game coordinators work closely with their clients to customize the experience, Go can work with small teams of 10 people, large corporate teams of 1,000 or even customize “epic” games for 10,000 people with advance booking.
For more details, visit TheGoGame.com/team-building.
Camp Mary Orton
For those who want to go a more traditional route but still get the team out of the office, Camp Mary Orton is located just outside the I-270 loop and offers everything from zip lines to climbing walls in an outdoor setting.
“Thousands of corporate teams, athletic teams and community organizations in central Ohio have escaped the board room for a unique, fun and impactful experience at Camp Mary Orton,” the camp’s website states.
Through “ground initiatives” teams collaborate to solve a problem using physical and mental means.
“The process of obtaining a solution results in improved group cohesion, communication, trust and problem-solving skills,” the program description states.
An indoor and outdoor high ropes course develops team support at up to 25 feet off the ground. The camp also has a climbing wall, a zip line in the woods over a natural ravine, and a pamper pole that challenges participants’ courage as they climb to the top of a utility pole and jump from a suspended bar.
The activities, according to the camp, are meant to “boost individual self-concept, push comfort zone limitations and provide support” to others.
All activities are facilitated by certified camp staff and are preceded by safety briefings and trainings.
Visit CampMaryOrton.org/team-building for bookings and more information.