Before creating philanthropic teambuilding that gives back to the community through our Life Cycles program (where teams build a bike for children in local communities; Helping Hands and others, Odyssey Teams used outdoor experiences like ‘The Edge’ to help people move beyond fear – both real and perceived. And no program was more important to us than Healing Odyssey, a cancer survivor’s retreat for women conducted in the hills above Santa Barbara.
‘The Edge’ describes a literal cliff where women would hang their toes over the edge and stand tall in their harness with outstretched arms. Connected to ropes from behind, with eyes wide-open, they would lean out at a 45-degree angle beyond the Edge. Beyond the literal Edge is the Edge that lives in all of us. It is an end, a beginning, a place to avoid, or lean into, and so much more.
iDisorder – Unplugged, Live – it’s Odyssey Teams!
“iDisorder: Understanding our obsession with Technology and overcoming its hold on us” is a new book by Ph.D.’s Larry Rosen with N.A. Cheever and L.M. Carrier. It is a fascinating subject that supports the basis of Odyssey Teams world-renowned Philanthropic Team Building Programs. Life Cycles, Helping Hands and our other Corporate Social Responsible offerings I’m sure would be a welcomed breath of fresh air to the above co-authors.
I encourage you to go to Amazon.com search the book title and click on the ‘read inside’ button. Read the first few pages of Chapter 1. It lays out so many often seen and experienced examples of how technology gets in the way of effective relationships, family, and teams. The authors state early on that they believe in, use, and appreciate the technological advances that come before us at an unprecedented speed. However, they believe there is a time and place for these items, as most any ‘tool’ can be used to build or destroy…intentionally or unintentionally.
Environment and Opportunity!
220 people changed the lives of 44 youth and vice versa. This all took place in a warehouse in East Los Angeles via our capstone Philanthropic Team Building Life Cycles Program.
As the lead facilitator I had some work cut out for me. The physical environment/meeting space was a challenge. It felt like I was trying to do surgery in a swamp-infested jungle with mosquitos buzzing around everywhere and pythons dropping down from the trees. However, the participants were outstanding…optimistic, engaging, and willing to take on whatever we put on the agenda. The result was a huge victory for all involved.
Small Team Builds Hands and Changes Lives
When I was asked to do our Helping Hands philanthropic teambuilding program for a group of six people, I reluctantly agreed. My favorite size groups delivering Helping Hands, Life Cycles Build-a bike program and our others has been in the hundreds of participants range. I wasn’t sure how the build-up activities and conversations would go before assembling the LN-4 Prosthetic Hands.
This small group was from Cisco – Latin America and they just blew me away. Yes, the Latino culture lives up to its reputation of being a passionate culture.
These six have much to teach the rest of us about teamwork and leadership from a place of thinking deeply AND feeling deeply. They came to the states for a larger meeting with cohorts from North America. They wanted to align on desired outcomes and make a difference for others in the process.
What a difference they made for three people whose lives will be changed by receiving the new LN-4 prosthetic hands they built during the Helping Hands program. Most surprisingly, however, is the difference they made on me. I am digging small programs now just as much as the large ones – with the caveat that they’re ready to think deeply and feel deeply as this group did.
Philanthropic Team Building is good for your head, hands and heart
There is a new paradigm in the concept of Team Building and it’s called Philanthropic Team Building. In days gone by it was sufficient to be selfish, even decadent, about getting to know each other outside the work setting. When it was done well it involved heads and hands in experiential exercises and simulations. Now it’s about incorporating the heart through give back events or Philanthropic Team Building. The response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive – all over the world.
Events like Life Cycles, the original Build a Bike workshop (Odyssey Teams has built and donated over 13,000 bikes alone), Helping Hands is the building prosthetic hands for amputees in developing countries (over 10,000 delivered to 63 countries), and The Playhouse Challenge have revolutionized the Team Building industry and it’s good for more than just your team. It’s good for your heads, hands and hearts and that means it’s good for the world.
I can’t take it anymore!!! What is teambuilding?
After 20 years of traveling all over the world and working with the top of fortune 100 companies and the bottom of lots of others, I have hit my breaking point. I’ve been doing leadership development, communication seminars and “teambuilding” and many of my own clients are still wondering… What is teambuilding? I’m wondering what they really want from me. I’m not sure anybody really knows. I might not even know. But at this point, I’m as big an expert as I can find, so I am going to try and help define this beast for all of us. The definition has become so broad, so overused that some people are beginning to confuse “team hazing” as teambuilding and I don’t really want to be a part of that. Do you…?
The Lifecycles, bike building teambuilding program is hands down one of the most emotional teambuilding experiences. After attending over 50 of these programs, I still find myself overwhelmed by the human aspect this program provides; and every program creates its own unique story.
One of my favorite programs occurred about six months ago when I was in Houston Texas. The recipients of the bikes were children from a foster care agency. We had a total of 9 children; four of them were siblings who had been split up into two different homes; they hadn’t seen or heard from each other in months and had no idea they would all be together. This story is the prime example of how the Life Cycles ripple affect extends beyond anything we can possibly imagine…
I was meeting the kids and their foster parents at a hotel; they were all coming in separate cars and meeting for the first time. One of the fathers and two children had already arrived. He and I chatted a bit until the rest of the parents arrived. As I got up to greet some of the other parents, two little girls who had just walked in started shrieking with joy- they had just spotted their brothers. Immediately they ran and embraced each other; then looking each other up and down started declaring “You look bigger!” “Is that a uniform you’re wearing?!” “You have a band new belt!” Then they started talking excitedly about all the changes in their lives- their new homes, new schools, new parents and new friends. When I was finally able to wrap my head around what I had just witnessed, my eyes started welling up and my heart just swelled. When you witness something of that emotional magnitude; you can’t help but be moved.
It’s crazy to imagine that this family reunion started with a phone call inquiring about a teambuilding session. Someone wanted to bring their employees closer together, and in doing so, brought a family together. It makes you realize everything you do, all your actions-and even inactions affect someone somewhere all the time, and you may not even see it.