Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Gift to Everyone There

I hope I can tell this story well.

Wednesday, Bruce, Pat and I had a small supporting role in a nice event. A large employer had gathered employees at a local hotel for training which stressed diversity and team building. They had arranged with a second company for a team building activity which was based on assembling children's bicycles. bikes@vienna supplied the bicycles.

The team building activity was cloaked in secrecy. The unassembled bikes were hidden until the last moment. The meeting participants were divided into teams and then told of their task. In addition to the assembly task they had to decorate the bikes, create a team poster, and a team chant. An important theme was diversity.

We walked into the ballroom as the teams began one by one to tell why they had selected certain names for their group, to show off their bike and their poster and perform their chant. It was a fun activity of people shedding some of their reserve. The crowd roared with laughter at many of the presentations. The setting was fun-filled.

With the last presentation the moderators directed the teams to line up their bikes at one end of the ballroom. The noise was peaking as the teams anticipated that the bikes would be ridden in a comical race of adults on 16" kids bikes. A number of people were already seated on the bikes.....ready to ride. The moderator worked to get the attention of the 140 adults in the room. She urged them to get their bikes ready for their riders.

Then the ballroom doors opened. Hand in hand twenty-four children walked into the room following their leader. These children, students in a local Headstart program, were to be the riders and ultimately the owners of these new bikes. The emotion in the ballroom was electrical. Teams reached out to children. Children rode the bikes. There were plenty of teary eyes, but tears of joy.

I share with you a photo of this sweet group of children sneaking down the hotel corridor to surprise the adults in the ballroom and to be surprised with receiving a new bike. Bicycles bring joy.

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