Colorado Team–Building Events and Activities
By Beth Buehler
Pretty much everyone can agree that it’s been a wild ride the last few years with the pandemic and many people shifting to working at home. There have been shifts in how meetings and events are planned, so it seems like a good time to look at why and when groups should include Colorado team building events and activities on their agendas. Destination Colorado reached out to three industry pros to gather insights.
Drew Schulte, marketing director, program facilitator and outdoor guide for The Nature Place in the mountain community of Florissant, describes nature as “the safest, most comfortable space to not only recreate, but also to re-create.” He says, “If a team feels stagnant, get outside; that is both a why and a when reason to take a moment to reflect, rest and recover from breaks in systems, miscommunication and organizational change.”
There is no better time than now for Colorado team-building events and activities and getting outdoors, agrees Scotty O’Brien, president of a group of companies including The Teambuilding Company, Interaction Denver, Visionwork Group and The Sunshine Entertainment Group. “COVID destroyed everything corporate in the United States. People have no faith or belief in companies. … It’s the corporation’s job to make people feel secure in the workplace and they will perform better for the company as a result.”
However, team building events and activities can be implemented to do more than reinstalling faith. Jordyn Valentine, account executive for CSI DMC, says, “Team collaboration is key to success, and team building also can be used as a creative element for learning new products and product knowledge.” CSI DMC has offices in Denver and Colorado Springs
Find out what else they had to say on the topic.
What team-building activities does your business offer?
Drew Schulte: The Nature Place offers a variety of team-building activities from physical challenges and initiatives (think low cables, walls, beams) and problem-solving case studies and ethical dilemmas to a high ropes course, rock climbing and rappelling, and land navigation skills.
Jordyn Valentine: We offer a variety of team-building activities, anything from corporate social responsibility (CSR) and city scavenger hunts to a relaxing retreat or true Colorado experience at a ranch. We are currently working on a team-building event at Coors Field for 400 guests. Located on the concourse and warning track (the gravel space around the perimeter of the field), teams will rotate between baseball-themed stations to earn points. Guests will test their skills to see who can pitch the fastest, what team can make the tastiest loaded hotdog, and who is the best at baseball trivia. Guests will end at a brewery where they will put together a duffel bag full of games and baseball equipment that will be donated to children in need.
Scotty O’Brien: What we offer is custom and very much out-of-the-box. A client has a vision, and we help figure out what needs to be accomplished and how to make it happen. I provide my 35 years of experience, and we work with groups of 20 to 1,000. For a small group, it might be a Survivor Challenge, or we can do an Inflatable Olympics for up to 1,000. Everything we do is very thematic … and very production oriented, people want big here in Denver. Another option is Your Company Idol, which is like “American Idol” but it’s live. We can do hybrid and people vote while sitting in their living room; it’s our version of a talent show.
What separates quality team building from an activity that simply involves enjoying a destination?
DS: A visit with us is an immersive, intentional programmatic experience with anticipated outcomes to enhance a high-performing team. We want you to enjoy the natural space, quiet, and relaxation; yet, in this experience we realize the opportunity for growth moments are infinite. You are taken away from your common, comfortable work environment and thrown into the natural environment where all distractors and detractors are removed. You and your team are focused on what is in front you, in the present moment. That is what makes a team-building experience impactful when overlayed at a unique destination.
JV: Quality team building equals true quality time and a moment to learn about your teammates in a fun way. Team-building excursions will enhance your attendees’ experience by creating human connection and leaving lasting memories.
SO: It’s all communication and the involvement of who is doing the team building to understand goals, how-tos, and the whats and whys. Clients come to me wanting specialized, goal-driven and hands-on.
Why is Colorado a great place for these events and activities?
DS: Year-round, the weather is all-around amenable, and you can strategize a meeting based around any number of scenic mountain towns to suit your off-site needs. And the recreation access is endless, with views of mountains, valleys and forests. Your team-building activity can be recreation; that is a no brainer for anyone who wants to meet in Colorado.
JV: Colorado averages 300 days of sunshine a year that provides the opportunity for attendees to experience team building in a unique way, through the breathtaking mountain scenery and an ever-growing arts, food and cultural scene. CSI DMC can create an experience whether your team is looking to get out in nature for axe throwing and lassoing or to explore the top sites in the city.
SO: The outdoors. It doesn’t get much better than this! There is so much space, and when groups come to Colorado they expect to be outdoors. One of our new activities is laser skeet, which is skeet shooting with real rifles minus the bullets. We are the only company in a three-state area (Colorado, Utah and Wyoming) to have laser skeet.
What are your top two or three tips for planning and executing team-building activities?
DS: As a host team-building site and educational center, it is critical that your team leaders meet to establish objectives, address specific challenges or current obstacles, and include all stakeholders in the organization to validate the objectives and challenges to be worked through during the desired team-building blocks during a group’s stay.
JV: Define your goal, engage your guests, experience something new, and find a trusted partner to execute your goal. A DMC can help with logistics in regard to timeline, activities/excursion, venue, budgeting, etc.
SO: Explain exactly what your goals are and how you want to accomplish them. This is your company or client, and the team building should be customized for your needs. The more input planners can give, the better the team building will turn out. Inclusion also is key. If someone has a physical handicap, they should be included and it’s the team-builder’s job to figure out how. Also, get feedback from your group. You can’t get better without knowing what you are doing right and wrong.
What is one of your favorite stories as an organizer or participant?
DS: In general, as a facilitator of the client experience, I feel the most joy when the groups I’m leading begin to debrief their own exercises. I can only interject so much as a guide-facilitator, and I remain separate from the core team. The value in the exercise(s) comes from all stakeholders being involved directly with the daily challenges of a team and addressing them head on. To see the organic progression of a team evolve and truly take ownership of their team-building event is something magical.
JV: CSI DMC’s “A True Colorado Experience” involves guests being transported to a ranch where they received custom embroidered jean jackets with their name. With stunning views of the mountains, guests work together to complete fun tasks and games such as axe throwing, lassoing, fly fishing and more. The group continues to network and mingle over smoked barbecue, cocktails and live music.
Is this activity even more important now than in the past?
DS: Team building has always been important and relevant. The great organizations invest in teams, and the ones who don’t experience high turnover of human capital or stagnant revenue growth.
JV: Post pandemic, we are noticing a trend where companies are in a new growing phase and have added new members to their team. Team building is a great way to bring your team and company closer together, which contributes to a more successful and creative workplace.
When planning your next gathering, consider adding Colorado team-building events and activities to the schedule. With the right approach, it can be both memorable and invigorating for teams.
Top Photo: Courtesy The Nature Place, Colorado Outdoor Education Center
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 17 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.