Food Bank Charity Challenge


Each team building activity is designed to accomplish a specific set of outcomes.  First, teams are given an objective to complete (usually some kind of large scale team puzzle/challenge).  Secondly, each team is given limited resources and must complete the challenge within a strict deadline.  Finally, additional unanticipated obstacles will be thrown in the team’s way. Each of these elements represents scenarios the participants face at work every day.

During the team building challenges individual team members frequently exhibit the exact same behaviors they do when they are at work.  Thus, if someone is overbearing, demanding and sarcastic at work, they will probably be much the same way during the activities.  We call this leaky behavior. Participants will become aware of many different behaviors and personality types among their fellow teammates and also within themselves. These experiences and observations allow them to grow in their ability to see the fundamental importance of teamwork through collaboration, communication and creativity in the workplace.


Proposed agenda for team building training. Activities are flexible and subject to change based on your team’s specific needs, location logistics, etc.


During this phase of the program teams must complete enough team building challenges (completing each challenge earns food items) to build their Food Tower of Triumph!  Teams must plan strategically which activities they will accomplish because not all team building activities can be accomplished by all teams in the time available.  More difficult activities have a higher value (more food items earned), while easier ones have a lower value – but they can be done quicker.  Teams may select several challenges from a variety of team building activities given to them (some examples are listed here):

Overview:  Five to six different colored ropes are dropped onto a table.  One of the ropes is the key rope that all the others are looped around.  The team must come to full consensus on which rope is the key rope.

Outcomes: This challenge tasks the team with considering different problem solving processes. Teams must analyze data, without actually handling any of the material.  Then they must develop a consensus, avoid group think, manage strong personalities and make a decision as a team.  This challenge is excellent at helping a team to understand its own team dynamics. Participants discover the way different personalities and ways of thinking must function together.

Overview: M.C. Escher is a famous Dutch artist known for his geometric paintings.  One such mind boggling image is the basis for this team building activity.  Each team member is given a card with instructions on how to solve the puzzle.  Some cards are technical and give specific steps to solutions are some are more process oriented, such as “Your job is to observe how the team overcomes communication barriers – be prepared to share your observations once the activity is finished.”  During the activity no one may speak.  This challenge is very dynamic and fun.

Outcomes: This team building challenge mirrors several aspects of organizations: the “silo” effect, communication challenges, the importance of contribution in order for the team to accomplish its task, and good teamwork wins the day.  This is an excellent activity to help individuals understand how important they are to the overall team’s success and how important their teammates are as well.

Overview: This event challenges the team to balance a hammer, string and 12 inch ruler in mid-air, with only 1/2 inch of the ruler resting on the edge of a table.  Each element of this “puzzle” is introduced and linked to a specific personality type (hammer = dominant type A, driver, strong, hard-headed, string = influencer, people person, flexible, warm, feelings hurt easily, table = steady team player, role expert, reliable, resistant to change, and the ruler = conscientious, high standards, detail oriented, precise, rigid).  Each style has its strengths and weaknesses, i.e. preferences about how that person likes to approach their work environment.  The goal is to bring the team (hammer, string, table, ruler) into harmonious balance.

Outcomes: This activity demonstrates how different personalities must work to solve a task. Learning who on the team has which style can overcome a number of misunderstandings and barriers quickly.  This challenge brings up the importance of innovation, cooperation (working together), perseverance & communication.  This is a great exercise to help explore key leadership areas and discover personality differences.

Overview: Each team member is given a set of rope “handcuffs” which they place on their own wrists.  Everyone partners with another team member and tangles their handcuffs with their partner.  The objective is to untangle the handcuffs according a specific set of rules.  Participants are challenged to think out of the box as obvious solutions prove unworkable.  Brainpower and perseverance win the day.

Outcomes: This team building challenge forces critical thinking, brainstorming and perseverance.  Partners must work together with their team mate and be willing to explore new ideas together in order to solve the challenge.

Overview: Each team is divided into two groups facing each other single file with each team member standing on a square with one open square in between the two sides.  Participants are to remain on the squares while they exchange places with the team opposite them according to certain rules that define their movements. If a rule is broken or the team gets stuck they reset back to their original positions and try again. This activity is a bit like a chess game, it takes the ability to think several moves ahead and recalling why different strategies do and don’t work to win the day.

Outcomes: This activity mirrors the reality in organizations that the farther a person is from the center of communications the more difficult it is for him/her. Strategic planning, problem solving and overcoming communication barriers are key outcomes for the Traffic Jam.

Overview: Teams use all of the food they have earned from completing team building challenges to build a Food Tower of Triumph.  The tower will be judged on several categories by the Team Building USA facilitator and the local food bank representative.  One of the categories to be judged is the message and presentation of the tower.  Each team crafts their tower to reflect a message they would like to communicate to the food bank and the larger local community.  The food bank representative is on hand to hear these presentations and you’re your team’s messages back to their community.

Outcomes: The end goal of this event is to touch the life of local needy families in a meaningful way.  The families that receive the food are in desperate need of these basic items. Because of the teams’ efforts, they will be able to impact these families’ lives in a powerful way.