An Excuse to Get Outside (Team Building via RC Helicopter)
Last month I was lucky enough to attend YAPC::NA in Madison, WI. Among the many spectacular talks, impressive people, and events there was a raffle that took place for conference attendees. With all proceeds going to the Perl Foundation, I contributed $100 and threw my raffle tickets in to two buckets: lunch with Larry Wall and some ThinkGeek swag.
Now, at the time, I was slightly underwhelmed. My first thought was, "Wow! I won! Wait .. I won? How am I going to get this thing home?" My second thought was, "What the heck am I going to do with a remote controlled helicopter!?"
Thoughts aside, the helicopter was a great ice breaker for meeting new people and I had some great conversations at the event. By the time the conference had ended, I decided to check my carry-on bag and continued to draw attention with my helicopter as I traveled from Madison, WI to Irvine, CA.
When I returned home, I explained the highlights of YAPC to my co-workers and told them of my grand prize winnings. Their first reaction was, "You won a remote controlled helicopter!? ... WHY IT IS NOT HERE!?"
So, the next day I brought the helicopter in to the office and over the last several weeks we have taken 15-20 minute breaks to get outdoors and take turns flying it. Not only does it make me feel like a kid again, but it gives us a great excuse to get out of the office, enjoy the sunny southern California days, and have some fun. We even started assigning achievements to people that flew it: If you were able to cut the leaves off a tree without crashing you were awarded the Paul Bunyan achievement, or if you demonstrated excellent control/maneuverability you were given the Sensei achievement.
Sadly, however, last week it had its last flight. It had been slowly deteriorating over the last few trips and now no longer flies after losing some critical pieces.
To remedy this, we have now started a fund so we can all pitch in and buy another, better helicopter, since we all had so much fun. What are some activities you do with your co-workers, either inside the office or out?