How does "Operation Care Kits" work?

Operation Care Kits is Run Brain Run's most recent innovation into the philanthropic or "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) team building arena. Modeled after our immensely popular and successful "Freewheel" game, participants tackle a series of military-themed challenges to "earn" the many components of a care kit that we will then send off to soldiers serving in harms' way, defending our nation's interests.

But what actually happens?

Operation Care Kit: Success!A typical agenda is:

  1. Before the day of the event
  2. Long before your team shows up to build communication and camaraderie, we designate the fighting unit that will receive your goodies, figure out what they need, go shopping to buy all the stuff, and get it ready for your team to assemble into kits.

    Then (shh! this part's secret), we arrange to have a representative of the armed forces come by at the end to accept your donations. That part REALLY rocks.

  3. Icebreaker and Intro

    We start with a fun, energetic icebreaker that gets people moving around and laughing - and, cleverly, sorts people randomly into teams of three to eight people (depending on the size of your group).

    These teams will then compete against each other for the remainder of the event. Teams can get VERY competitive! And competition helps build energy, excitement and incentives to complete the many wacky challenges that lie ahead.

  4. Create a team identity
  5. Every good fighting unit has a cool nickname. Here we give you a chance to come up with your own, and design your own "insignia" and marching song.

  6. Challenges

    We throw a series of challenges at you - creating your own "uniform," navigating a "red tape" maze (blindfolded), eating "rations" - and with each round of challenges you earn two things:

    • Points - which are valuable, because the team with the most points wins the match
    • More importantly, care kit components, such as personal hygiene items, foodstuffs or convenience items that are sorely lacking on the front lines (and that soldiers actually ask for)
  7. Medal ceremony
  8. We tally up the final score, announce the winners and award "medals." You know... bragging rights.

  9. Military acceptance
  10. Here's where the representative of the armed forces surprises your guests by coming in and symbolically "accepting" the donations on behalf of the service men and women and extends heartfelt thanks - from the voice of experience.

  11. Wipe away tears
  12. Even the strongest men cry at this point. Really.

  13. Cherish lifelong memories
 

What if your team just wants to have fun?

Most of our games are what I call "mildly competitive." That is, we introduce a competitive element into the challenges to elevate the level of energy, interest and pacing. That helps motivate some groups who would otherwise not feel a strong incentive to exercise their brains quite as strenuously on a paid-for company outing.

Bragging rights, in other words, are a pretty strong motivator.

But what if you really, really don't want to compete?

For that I might offer three suggestions.

Alias and AlibiOne is, some of our games are less competitive and more cooperative (remember "co-opetition"?) than others. Alias and Alibi, for example, requires that ALL teams succeed in order for the mission to be accomplished. SOMEONE's got to solve each of the mysteries or... well, let's just say, you won't enjoy those beers afterwards.

Second, you CAN play our games without competing with one another. If you really, really want to. You can put your whole team onto the tasks of Search Party, solving all of the clues and engaging in the challenges as a big group. It can get unwieldy with large groups, but it's not a problem if you have 10 or fewer people and you really, really (really) want to stick together. Same with Game Show Live! - you can engage as one big group.Game Show Live

Third, we can send you over to a really terrific group who has activities that can keep your whole group together.

We guarantee that no matter which way you go, your team WILL have fun. And there's NOTHING wrong with that.

 

   

Resolutions to build a better team

How will you improve your team in 2013?

It's a good time of year to take stock on how well your team is doing "as a team" and think about how you can improve your teamwork in the coming year.

In our experience, better teams:

  • Communicate openly and often
  • Involve each other in key decisions, and delegate the rest
  • Understand each member's roles, and back each other up
  • Know each others' strengths - and where they need help
  • Love to take on challenges that exceed past accomplishments - i.e. "stretch" goals
  • Enjoy working with each other

Is your team doing each of these things well? We mean, REALLY well?

If not, what will you be doing about it in 2013?

   

Games Team Builders Play

2012 has been an amazing, fun year for Run Brain Run.

And, for you, too! At least, according to our year-end analysis.

(Yes, we analyze fun. We're funky that way.)

By far, the most popular game amongst youse-guys was Search Party, our location-based scavenger hunt for grown-ups. You played Search Party at our dozen or so locations nearly 100 times in 2012. The most popular locations were Pike Place Market and Seattle Center in Seattle, and the Pearl District, Central City and the Kennedy School in Portland.

When you weren't on scavenger hunts, you were probably either engaging with spies and secret agents, saving the world from eminent disaster (such as the destruction of the city's beer and wine supply) in our Alias and Alibi spy-vs-spy game, or doing good for others in our philanthropic (CSR) games. Freewheel players built and donated some four dozen bikes for needy kids. Operation Care Kits participants sent over 100 pounds of goodies and hundreds of dollars in gift cards to service men and women in Afghanistan. And Play it Forward participants raised funds and awareness for several grateful charities.

You also preferred to play outside while you can. Over three quarters of our games were held outdoors - including a few Freewheel games. Guess you really like testing out those bikes!

   

Alternatives to the Hideous Office Party

It's that time of year again.

That time when someone gets stuck organizing the office holiday party, who either (a) doesn't want to do it, ever, like EVER, or (b) REALLY WANTS to do it... and you don't want him to.

It's going to be another one of those marathon dinner "roasts," or a skee-ball tournament, or a seventies theme party with a very badly spiked punch bowl (it's amazing those lampshades survive year after year).

Yeah... we all know how those turn out. Memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

It's a great time, then, to subtly suggest something different.

Maybe slip a link into an email for something that would, you know, be FUN. (Hint: we're not biased or anything, but it rhymes with Lurch Hearty.)

And since you want to eat at this event... check out the options at those awesome McMenamin's locations, or for the afterparty events.

With luck, this year's holiday event could be memorable - for all of the RIGHT reasons.

 

   

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