Saturday, May 17, 2008

Corporate Team Building

I'm a little behind with this post but I half wrote it last week and I wanted to finish it up and share some pictures. The week of May 5th was not your typical week. On Tuesday night a bunch of folks helped Gary and Katie finally move into their new house. Gary works in my group, attends church where I did in the last town that I lived in and just made the same move that I made a month or so ago. He commuted over an hour each way for about two years. I did it for about two weeks and I was tired of it. They had a time getting closed on their houses but they finally did and were able to finally move into the house they were buying on Tuesday night.
Then early on Wednesday our group at work made up of about 20 people, left for our corporate team building retreat. Having never worked for a large corporation this was a new concept for me. I was put on the planning committee for the trip a few weeks ago and so I had a pretty good idea of what all was going to happen on the trip.

For Wednesday through Friday, our group would be staying at Chateau Elan, about 45 minutes past Atlanta. I had never stayed there but I had passed it may times as my dad and I made our almost annual trip to Road Atlanta. The two are only about seven miles apart and many who come into town for the Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta stay at Chateau Elan.

Anyways, we left early Wednesday headed towards the Atlanta area. We were scheduled to stop on the way for a tour of a facility our company owns. Well thanks to extremely heavy construction and traffic delays, we were about 1.5 hours late. We finally made it for an abbreviated tour. Then we were back on the road. We got hopelessly lost a few times in some back roads in Georgia but we finally made it to Chateau Elan (CE) about two hours behind schedule.

The first activity was a grape squeezing contest.
CE is centered around a winery and so our first activity carried out that theme. I was helping to set up this activity so once we got checked into the hotel it was off to the Publix to buy a ton of grapes. Since I was partially in charge of the activity and opted to take pictures, I did not have to participate. What we did is everyone paired off and each pair had to race to see who could fill their plastic wine glass the fastest. We had two rounds and the wine of each round had to compete in a squeeze off. Our winners were Gary (yes the same Gary who moved the night before) and David. Their "prize" was a Lucille Ball wig and half a set of I Love Lucy DVD's. There is apparently an episode of "I Love Lucy" where they go to Italy and squash grapes with their feet. The group watched this episode while we were setting up the activity. Don't the winners look thrilled? By the way we did not make them drink the nasty stuff.I have to admit, I had given Gary insider information and told him he did NOT want to win this activity but I guess his competitive side and his desire for the activity to be over got the better of him and David. I had also given this inside information to most of the people in the second round so it was a pretty apathetic group of participants in that round.

They threw grapes, ate grapes and basically made it obvious they did not want to win. Oh well... I can't say I blame them.

After we finished up with the grape squashing, we went to dinner and then we hung out for several hours in a lounge area at the hotel. Since it was a Wednesday night we were basically the only ones there and so a lot of pool was played and I got a chance to talk to a lot of folks from our office. It was nice to be able to relax with everyone and talk to them on an informal level. To prove I was on this trip, here is a picture that someone else took of our boss Holly and I attempting to play pool. We were not good but the guys we were playing scratched and we won.
Holly and I have a lot in common and I enjoyed getting to talk to her a lot over the trip. She's fun to hang out with and I enjoyed getting to know her better on this trip.
The next day we had breakfast followed by a number of team building activities. We played a game similar to musical chairs where we had to ask questions of each other. Then we played a game similar to Clue and our group ended up winning thanks to a bonus question and my knowledge of who started Chateau Elan and how they made their money. The only reason I knew is because it is the same people that started Road Atlanta. Here is our group presenting the Clue results.
Then it was outside to the "Ropes" course. I'm not sure why they call it that because there is no rope involved but basically you have to get your whole team across five stumps with only three boards to go between the five stumps. You have to work together and move the boards back and forth to get everyone there. We did a really good job at working together and getting it done. Here is a bunch of people from our group making their way across the course. That's my manger Sean on the left. There are four people in my "sub-group," Sean, Gary, myself and Andrew. Andrew is the guy in the dark blue shirt and jeans (sorry you are looking at the side of his head).

Sean had on some funny looking shoes and everyone was making fun of them. Holly kept whispering to me "take a picture of his shoes... make sure to get a good shot of his shoes." I was trying to do this subtly and not laugh at the instructions. He claims they are going to be all the rage this summer... Holly wanted to make sure we had something to make fun of him with later on. :-)

Here is me making my way across the boards. I did not fall or make a klutz out of myself.

Once we finished up with the activities it was off to lunch and then our wine making activity. I don't drink wine and know absolutely nothing about it. I didn't really expect to get much out of this activity but it was fun I suppose. I was in a group with Sean, Gary and Craig.

Here is a shot of another group. The girl in the white is Angela, the guy in the dark blue is Andrew again, the guy in the stripes is Clint and the back of the head with the ponytail belongs to Alex.
Two of the five stations in this activity had to do with smelling. I have zero sense of smell so I was completely useless in those. One of the stations had to do with mixing up your wine. I was completely useless in this activity as well (as was Gary... who also does not drink) so it turns out our group did pretty terrible. Our wine was compared to Kool Aid and our label was described as boring. Oh well...

Here is (from L to R) Gary, Craig and Sean at the wine mixing station. I thought Sean was going to sling wine all over the room... but it all worked out.

Once we finished with the wine making it was time for free time. A bunch of the guys and one of the girls played golf. Holly and some others went to the spa. Since I'm not a golfer and I don't really do the spa thing, I decided to wander around and take some pictures of the beautiful resort and then take a nap before dinner.

Here is the outside of the winery. There was some driving event there that day and so there were lots of fancy cars around... hence the red Ferrari in the background.
Here is a cool stained glass window inside the winery.

Here is the vineyard. I guess at this time of year there are teeny tiny grapes... at least in Georgia. Beats me... I know squat about wine and grapes.
Here is the inside of the hotel/inn. It was a really nice place and I enjoyed our trip there.

Thursday night we all met for dinner but everyone was tired and turned in early after their busy afternoon and the late night the night before.

We all met back Friday morning for breakfast and then a guest speaker and then we were on our way home. We got caught in some construction traffic on the way back but were home by 2 or so and then off for the rest of the afternoon. It was a great trip and I enjoyed getting to know some of the folks on our team better in a beautiful setting.


Amberly said...

Pretty place!

Vader's Mom said...

Looks like a really fun time! And the place you stayed in was beautiful!!