culinary team building

Food Fight! A Culinary Team Building Event

When Genmark Diagnostics approached us about creating a custom team building event involving a cooking competition with a “fighting” theme, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to get our culinary creativity on. We came up with an epic fight of the food trucks culinary team building competition that took place at the beautiful Laguna Cliffs Marriott. Team competed to create unique food truck concepts and signature entree dishes. The food trucks and dishes all had to have a “fighting” theme.

culinary team buildingEach team conceptualized, prepared, plated and served a unique dish featuring a secret ingredient. They were also responsible for wowing the judges with a 1-minute presentation featuring life size renditions of their food truck designs.

We started the event by having all teams compete in an initial food-related challenge. How they placed in the challenge determined their order when it was time to choose their secret ingredient.

Once each team had their secret ingredient, the real cooking battle began. Each cooking station had the same core assortment of ingredients.  But as teams cooked, we gave them mini challenge competitions to earn “marketing dollars.” The money earned was used to purchase additional seasonings, food, and food truck marketing swag from our Marketplace Store.culinary team building

Our judges looked for flavor, presentation, and creativity in both the entree and food truck design for the winning team!

Between the presentation, the dish, and the challenges, there was something for everyone to do and each person on the team contributed to the overall success. Excellence in the kitchen requires strong communication, creativity, and the ability to remain cool under pressure. The need for these skills is also mirrored in the workplace. Does your team have what it takes to win?

culinary team buildingJoin us in the kitchen for culinary team building!

We’re so ready for the next food fight! We love getting creative and giving food for thought to design custom events. Fill out our website form or contact us directly: events@fireflyteamevents.com.

 

 

Your Childhood Game of Tag is Now a Professional Sport Called World Chase Tag

Can’t touch this.

Original article posted on Laughing Squid:

Brothers Christian and Damien Devaux founded World Chase Tag, an exhilarating competitive sport that combines parkour, obstacles, and the classic childhood game of tag.

This is a team format that is played by two teams in each match. Each team has a maximum of six athletes. The match is divided into sets. Each set consists of a pre-determined number of chases (usually 10-16 chases). Each chase is twenty seconds long and has one chaser and one evader from opposing teams. The winning athlete in each chase stays on as the evader and the losing athlete is replaced by a teammate in a new chase who comes on as the Chaser. If an athlete steps out of bounds, they lose that chase. A team is awarded one point when their athlete successfully evades their opponent for the entire duration of the chase (i.e. 20 seconds). The team with the most points after of the pre-determined number of chases wins that set. Tags must be made with the hand (i.e. NOT your foot).

Outrigger Canoe Team Building – Out-paddle the Competition!

outrigger canoe team buildingAloha! Last week we gathered with TYR Sport in Long Beach to enjoy a sunset paddle for our Outrigger Canoe Team Building Race event. Participants were treated to a brief lesson on the history of outrigger canoeing in California and a hands-on lesson in paddling. Then it was into the canoes for the tournament!

Our experienced na ho‘okele (steerers) captained each canoe and urged the teams to huki (paddle fast)! Their expertise was welcome since outrigger canoes are much more difficult to navigate than regular boats. Outrigger canoes require synchronicity and communication between teammates. Hence, outrigger racing is perfect for team building! If crews are able to work together they can get their vessels cutting quickly through the waves. Their speed when manned by a cohesive team invokes the memory that these canoes were once used as powerful war vehicles.

outrigger canoe team buildingHere in California, outrigger racing has been a popular sport since 1959. That’s when we held the inaugural race from Orange County to Avalon, Catalina and back. FireFly’s race is much shorter, spanning a football field’s length of sheltered channel. Crews gathered on the sand to cheer on the other teams and await their turn to compete. Soon the instructors shouted “HO‘OMAKAUKAU!” meaning “get ready!” Team members piled into the canoes and set off for the starting line. The chase boat followed along, directing the participants and transporting yours truly to get the best action shots of our athletes. Crews chanted to keep rhythm like dancers or drill sergeants “One, two, one, two!” I think singing Moana songs would have been equally effective. We held many heiheis (races) until we ultimately crowned the victor.

The winners showed off their medals as the sun sank below the horizon. The event was equal parts exhilarating and tranquil. The thrill of physical competition was complimented by the peaceful protected bay and gorgeous weather. Our participants worked up a hearty appetite and certainly deserved the dinner that they headed off to as they outrigger canoe team buildingtraded stories of the day.

Outrigger Canoe Team Building with FireFly Team Events

If your team is up for an adventure, contact us to schedule your own Outrigger Canoe Race and learn the ho‘owala‘au wa‘a (canoe lingo).

CEO and Co-founder, James Bennett FireFly Team Events Interview with USA Weekly

USA Weekly recently did an interview with James Bennett, CEO and co-founder of FireFly Team Events. Check out James’ FireFly Team Events interview session below.

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.

Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.

Below is our interview with James Bennett, Founder and CEO at FireFly Team Events:

What does your company do?

We design interactive team building events for companies who want to improve their culture and engagement. We use play as a vehicle for teams to explore communication, trust, vulnerability, collaboration, and leadership. Our events allow your employees a safe space to explore new relationships and ideas. They also create opportunities for employees to show talents in previously unrecognized areas. Each event is designed for maximum participation so that every person has a way to meaningfully contribute to a win.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?

I’m the CEO and I take a large role in creating new programming for our clients. I LOVE that I get to shape the vision of both our company and create new experiences for our clients. My favorite client is the one who challenges me to get more out of an existing program or to create a new idea for their specific needs. We often have to be agile with both concepts and implementation but I thrive in those circumstances. I get to be creative, technical, and help other people realize their goals.

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

The biggest challenge we face right now is scale. We’re at a growth point where we need to invest in infrastructure in just the right amount to stimulate growth. For our company that means finding the right people for the right positions. Where can I apply my efforts to see the maximum amount of return. As a small company we have to say “no” often to insure we’re focused on the right tasks, clients, and outcomes. I haven’t found a magical solution to that yet but I have found great sources of advice.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

There are people out there that have the business knowledge you need and will give it to you for the cost of lunch. Reach out often and be humble. Surround yourself with positive people and find a group of people going through similar business struggles. It doesn’t matter if they’re the same industry. What matters is that they understand what it means to own a business and the attached struggles. Also, don’t worry about being first just focus on being great at what you do. Often time the innovators see success that creators might miss.

Winter Olympics Team Building

Let the games begin.

The XXXIII Winter Olympic Games will begin next month. So that means it’s perfect timing for an Olympics team building event for you and your office team!

Here in Southern California, we pretty much win at the weather lottery year round. So even our winter months are great times for an outdoor beach Olympics. The series of challenges featured in our beach Olympics bring out both the fierce and the fun in all participants. Smaller teams are created and compete head to head in physical challenges. Most importantly, the challenges are adapted directly from actual team building concepts designed to get teams thinking, talking, and working together.

Maybe outdoor Olympics is not your thing? We still have you covered with fast paced team competition indoors. Our Minute Madness is our team-based take on the popular game Olympics team buildingshow, Minute to Win It. Each of the 1-minute challenges are wacky and hilarious, yet bring out the competitive spirit in everyone. And we always have a purpose to the fun. In Minute Madness’ case, we designed the fun to focus on full team participation. We also cover concepts like dynamic problem solving, communication, and relationship building.

Once all points are tallied, we bring the Olympics flair even ’til the end by awarding the top team with a medal ceremony for the ages. Maybe you really want to get into the theme? An opening ceremony, parade of the nations, and torch lights are totally all options! Whether you stage the competition indoors or out this Winter Olympics season, you’re honoring your employees’ accomplishments by getting them out of the office and encouraging their engagement.

We’re pros at producing Olympics team building competitions!

Go for the gold this winter by getting in touch with us to help plan your team Olympics event. Fill out a website contact form, email us directly at events@fireflyteamevents.com, or call 877.267.1939!

CSR Team Building: Chemo Care Kits

Our 2017 year end holiday season was a popular time for our corporate social responsibility, or CSR team building events. These “giveback” team building events are different from our other team building event offerings.  Doing good in the community is a key component in addition to activities that unify and bond a team.

In fact, CSR programming is quickly becoming a corporate element that is of high priority to the Millenials who are today’s dominant workforce. TalentMap recently published an article about the connection between CSR and employee engagement. In it, they cited an observation in the Global Workforce Study conducted by Tower Perrins:

“One thing is increasingly clear. It’s not a choice any longer. Your employees expect it, and your company needs it. It is in fact linked to how well your employees perform. In other words, CSR extends to the bottom line.”

CSR team buildingGiven this growing body of evidence that Millenials want to work for organizations where similar values are shared, the holidays proved to be a perfect time for corporate employee groups to come together and play an active role in the season of giving. One of those corporate groups was our client JM Eagle, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.

The team at JM Eagle was passionate about putting together chemotherapy care kits for local cancer patients in need of a pick-me-up. But with our CSR style team building events, we don’t just hand over supplies and say, “build.” Teams would be done in minutes! CSR team buildingInstead, we create lightly competitive and fast-paced team events to keep all participants on their toes and fully engaged. JM Eagle completed rounds of team challenges to earn each item that went into the chemotherapy care kits.

We also made sure to truly humanize the activity. We gave all participants an opportunity to create a uplifting personalized card to accompany each assembled chemotherapy care kit.

Chemotherapy is an unpleasant constant in the life of a cancer survivor. It’s nauseating, debilitating, yet a necessary evil. Every item placed in our chemotherapy care kit served a purpose. Sensitive lotion to soothe dry skin. Oral rinses to combat dry mouth. Ginger candies to help ease nausea. Activities to pass the time while receiving treatment.CSR team building

CSR Team Building with FireFly Team Events

Are you ready to ramp up your company’s CSR efforts in 2018? Show your employees that they work for a company that cares about how it contributes to society! Check out all our CSR team building options here.

worklife organization

Worklife Organization Tips to Help You Declutter For Good

Organization: a word that elicits much joy and much pain. It’s a relief when you have it and it’s stressful when you don’t, and everyone has an opinion on how to “do it right.”

One major theme in the books, articles, and blog posts about organization is decluttering. It’s out with the old and ditch the unuseful, and in with the new and keep the highly useful. When you start thinking about decluttering and organizing at work, it’s helpful to think about organizing three different spaces: physical space, mental space, and digital space. This article will point you toward a few ideas and resources that can help you to declutter and organize your worklife in all three areas and increase your productivity.

Remember: worklife organization is intensely personal, so there is no “right way” to do it. In order to be successful, you’ll likely have to try out a few ideas and tweak them to work best for you and your work environment.

To-Do List

Yep, the tried and true to-do list still reigns supreme to declutter and organize your worklife. According to a recent episode of the podcast Hidden Brain, to-do lists are actually responsible for saving lives too! But writing down a simple, column list is not always enough when projects start multiplying. I like to have a macro list of all my projects that I break out into daily to-do lists every morning. This helps create to-do lists that I can accomplish in one day.

I personally prefer analog to-do lists, but there are dozens upon dozens of to-do list apps. The Verge’s recent article The Best To-do List Right Now will help you learn more about to-do list apps. (FireFly’s co-founder, James Bennett, uses The Verge’s No. 1 recommendation — Todoist.)

Bullet Journal

Bullet journaling creatively helps my worklife organization exist in one place. I don’t keep track of my calendar or daily to-do lists in my journal, instead I write ideas, thoughts, research, and resources for each project; plus I keep them simply but well-indexed for easy reference. My pages often end up looking like little brainstorms that are easily fleshed out into full-fledged projects. There are many ways to personalize a bullet journal for high productivity, and you can learn more about how they work here.

Color Coding

As a costume designer and theater professor, my friend La may have up to four plays she’s in the process of designing while teaching several classes — that’s a lot of project management! To keep track of each class and show, she color codes all her physical and digital materials. This includes sticky notes, highlighters, pens, folders, and more. It even includes color coding each class in her grading and attendance apps.

Desk Declutter

If you’re tired of lifting up piles of paper on your desk to find the right piles of paper, it’s time to start thinking about a desk declutter. Of course you don’t have to go full minimalist for your desk. Some of the philosophies and tips Becoming Minimalist states in this article can help you figure out what will work best for you. Once you get in the habit, it may only take you 5 to 10 minutes a day to keep it tidy. Remember to include decluttering your computer desktop too!

Meditation

Guided meditation via a mobile app is a great to help you focus energy on clearing specific mental blockers (AKA mental clutter) such as managing stress and workplace pressure, according to the Huffington Post. To help you find the right meditation app for you, check out this article from Healthline for a breakdown of the highest rated apps. I use and like Calm.

Team Building for Worklife Organization

When it’s time to declutter team stress and bring everyone closer together, organize a team building event! Contact us via our website at fireflyteamevents.com, phone at 877.267.1939, or email james@fireflyteamevents.com.

post-holiday slump

How to Bust a Post-holiday Slump at the Office

The holidays are fun of activities like cooking, parties, shopping, traveling and other happy yet often stressful activities.

“As joyous as they can be, the stress and expectations associated with the holidays can overwhelm us and switch our brains into overdrive,” clinical psychologist Brett Kennedy told Greatist.

This means that workers can head back to the office on January 2nd emotionally and mentally depleted. In other words, your team members may head back to work with the post-holiday blues. Mix that with a backlog of work after time off during the holiday and productivity and morale in your office could suffer.

Don’t worry, there are ways you can help your office beat the post-holiday slump with grace and ease.

Get Ahead of the Post-holiday Slump

Helping a post-holiday slump can start with an ounce of prevention. For example, you can ask your employees to truly take a break and  leave work at the office during any time off. This can help them feel rested and ready to work when they return. You can also set up expectations for a lighter, post-holiday work week with fewer meetings and deadlines so everyone can get on top of holiday backlog without feeling overwhelmed.

Tidy Up the Office

An easy way to feel refreshed and energized is a good tidying up. Schedule an hour or two for an office-wide desk purge where people can clean and organize their desks and files. Make dust wands and cleaning wipes readily available for extra encouragement. You can also organize unwanted items into bins for easy coworker perusal. After all, Jane might be ditching the pens that John loves to use! If there any unopened office supplies or used electronic items in good condition, donate them to a local Goodwill.

Focus on Office Wins

You can stop gloomy office energy in its tracks if you take some time to focus on office wins. Meet with each department and point out how that team contributes to the company’s goals and why their work matters. You can focus on recent department wins or overall team strengths, but make sure you’re specific in your praise. If you’re not a manager, you can still tell fellow team members what you appreciate about them. There’s nothing like a confidence boost to spark renewed energy for your work.

Start an In-office Wellness Challenge

After weeks of parties and rich foods, getting back to routine and healthier habits can do energy-boosting wonders for productivity. A post-holiday wellness challenge might be just what your office needs to get started. Here are some easy, at-work activities you can include in your office challenge:

  • Take the stairs
  • Eat a healthy snack
  • Bring lunch from home
  • Take a walk at lunch
  • Bike to work
  • Meditate for 15 minutes
  • Stretch for 15 minutes
  • Use a stand-up desk

Announce an Activity or Event

Sometimes we get the blues when we have nothing to look forward to. Just after the holiday break, announce an activity or event for your staff to look forward to in the coming weeks. The activity can be as easy as a relaxing afternoon at the movies or a catered lunch at the office. Or you can go whole hog and plan a fun team building event to energize and bond the whole office.

Luckily, we know just who you can turn to when you plan your next team building event. Check out our team building event options to get started or contact us at 877.267.1939 or james@fireflyteamevents.com.

How to Win at Giving Corporate Holiday Gifts

You have a great team working with you and you want to give your staff the best company holiday present ever. Corporate holiday gifts can be hard to get right, juggling sentimentality with practicality.  You’ll notice a lot of my suggestions come from crowd sourcing sites.  By supporting a campaign, not only do you score a new to the market cool present for your staff, but you’re also promoting innovation which will help your team on their way to becoming creative powerhouses.  So toss out the boring standbys, I’ve got some great ideas for corporate holiday gifts to put in your manager Santa hat.

3-D Pens

corporate holiday gifts

For the staffer that loves desk knickknacks, give them the pen that allows them to create their own.  If your staff doodle on the edges of memos during meetings, unleash their creativity by allowing them to draw in three dimensions!  These pens have surged in popularity this year so the prices have dropped, making this dream item actually affordable.  Not to mention, getting a must have toy from work is really cool.

Digital Pin

corporate holiday gifts

Be super hip with this digital accessory that allows you to display images and animated GIFs on a wearable.  Your swag game will reach a new level as the company Pins Collective runs a companion app where you can make your own designs and share them with the online community.  You could even create company designs for staff to show off their office pride.

Tile Mate

corporate holiday gifts

The savior of productivity.  Give your brilliant but slightly absent minded staff member this Bluetooth chip that can attach to anything- keys, phone, purse.  Your team will be grateful they never have to spend time looking for things again.  This also works as a great theft recovery device.  I would use it on my stapler that tends to get borrowed and never returned…

DIY Robots

corporate holiday gifts

There are a lot of robotics kits out there.  What makes the robots from Spanish company Emme great is their simplicity.  These robots require no cables, soldering, or coding on the user’s part.  They make technology accessible to everyone.  They’re extremely durable, able to traverse streets, off road, even under water.  Expect to see these little guys cruising through the office well into Spring.

Augmented Reality Headset

corporate holiday gifts

Augmented reality is the next big thing in tech.  Silicon Valley has been playing with it for years, but it hasn’t become consumer friendly yet.  I’m not recommending you go out and buy Google HoloLenses for your staff, unless you have a hidden treasure trove you’re pulling from.  Instead check out the Aryzon Headset.  It uses your smart phone and its lens technology display 3-D digital images superimposed on reality.  Life looks more like a sci-fi movie every day.

Company Swag

corporate holiday gifts

Your business is awesome and your staff are proud to work there. Gift them a quality sweater or stationary set that’s been customized with your work logo.  Lots of websites offer this service, but my favorite is Clove & Twine because of the quality of their items.

Hometown Candles

corporate holiday gifts

Some staff often need to relocate to work for amazing companies like yours.  People tend to miss home around the holidays, so thank your team for their sacrifice with Homesick Candles.  Each candle is scented to reflect the unique smells of different states.  For instance if you have a staffer that moved from Utah their candle would smell like cedar, sandalwood and cinnamon.  I love that they made different candles for Northern California and Southern California to reflect their different personalities.

MoviePass

corporate holiday gifts

The top of my personal holiday wishlist, movie pass is a subscription service that allows you to see a movie in theaters every day.  Keep your team culturally relevant and give them something to chat about around the watercolor.

Home Away From Home

corporate holiday gifts

The home automation market is exploding this year with Alexa and Google Home.  The Elf Smart Plug works with those systems allowing users to control their house even when they’re not there.  Great for giving staff peace of mind while working overtime, users can switch on lights, adjust their A/C, even set their DVRs to record a show they don’t want to miss.

Staff Outing Corporate Holiday Gifts

More and more people are valuing experiences over possessions.  Gift your team a special outing during which they can socialize and let their hair down.  From simple dinners to exotic travel, staff will enjoy getting to know one another in a different setting and you’ll learn a lot about their personalities.  Check out some of our team bonding events for ideas.

Whatever you gift your employees this season do it with good cheer and generosity of spirit.  We spend more time with our coworkers than our families so the holidays is a great time to bring your team together.  If you want to share the goodwill throughout your community, contact us to help plan a philanthropic giveback event or kick awesome holiday party for you.

company cultures

5 Company Cultures We Admire

With our team building work, we at FireFly Team Events have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of different companies. Often when searching for great company cultures you’ll find articles highlighting fun work spaces like Pixar’s breakfast cereal bar or Google’s colorful and spiraling office slides.  Now, I love playgrounds and sugary cereals as much as the next person, but how much engagement do those perks inspire?  The following companies have a culture that extend beyond flashy Instagram fodder. Instead, they focus on policies and procedures that inspire communication, creativity and group identity.

Zappos

Zappos is no stranger to top lists.  Whether measuring customer service quality or employee satisfaction, Zappos ranks high.  This is likely due to the apparent lack of office politics.  When interviewing, candidates are questioned not just about their qualifications, but their personality and values.  This unique personality test ensures they will be a good cultural fit for the office.  Zappos also rewards employees based on skill tests and reviews.  The clear paths to growth reduces nepotism and politicking.  They also have a strong unique corporate identity shaped by their core values including, “Create fun and a little weirdness.”  Staff are referred to and treated as family, which breeds immense loyalty and drive.

PepsiCo

Speaking of family, if you want to start one, you should work for PepsiCo.  It is one the few companies in the US that offers paid maternity AND paternity leave. PepsiCo’s commitment to family and diversity is more than just flowery language they add to their About page.  They are truly trailblazers of equal opportunity.  Diversity has been an integral part of their culture since the 1950s when they promoted people of color and women to positions traditionally held solely by white men.  More recently they sponsored the United State of Women Summit where they signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge.  PepsiCo’s culture is that of inclusion and promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Fitbit

The new kid on the block, Fitbit unsurprisingly focuses on wellness of their staff.  What IS surprising is their program is so inclusive and encompassing that they’ve created Fitbit Group Health. This program has been adopted by many other companies as a part of their corporate wellness efforts.  Not bad for a fancy pedometer.  Beyond counting steps, Fitbit offers a diverse menu of employee perks. How do regular on-site workout classes, fully stocked kitchens with wholesome foods, and regular team outings sound?

Blizzard Entertainment

Tech often attracts a certain personality in its worker. Shall we say a certain….geekiness?  Rather than a derogatory term, this phrase has been celebrated and harnessed by Blizzard as a way to bring out the passion and creativity of its team.  Blizzard encourages the geeking out of its staff with GameJams (a competitive game development marathon), Activisionaries (a TED style speaker series tailored to the interests of Blizzard employees), and lavish launch parties of their products that include free swag which ensure the creators are as big of fans of the product as their customers.

Wells Fargo

Its hard to like banks, but Wells Fargo is far more compassionate than your stereotypical image of bankers would be. Often when speaking of engagement, we think of how aligned employees are with the core mission of a company. Yet Wells Fargo aligns itself with the personal missions of its employees.  Ranked as one of the most philanthropic companies as measured by donations, the bank’s giving is not just a smart public relations move. It’s an embedded element of the culture.  Employees get two days of paid leave every year for volunteer work.  The bank also offers sabbaticals for nonprofit work taking up to six weeks.  When staff do good, they feel good.

Boosting the Strength of Company Cultures with Team Building

Creating quality company cultures isn’t a cut and dry recipe to be followed.  The best culture is informed by those who live in it.  We admire the employee driven mentality of these company cultures and others. Anything that makes work fun and fulfilling is awesome in our book!  To make your work more fun and help build your culture, contact us to help plan a creative event. We especially suggest the creative uniqueness of Team Graffiti or philanthropic giveback events like our Bike Build.