Engineers are typically known for being good at putting things together. So we were only too happy to help some Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) engineers build teamwork skills. Our WheelCharity™ program was the perfect opportunity. The group had never participated in a workshop like ours before. We were glad to give them an event to remember.
Tennessee Valley Authority Engineers Practice Teamwork
We met the employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority on-site in Chattanooga, right in the heavenly Tennessee Mountains. About 30 people were in attendance. Ice breaker games gave us a chance to “read” the room, and this was a group that was already pretty familiar with each other and comfortable interacting. That worked out well, because it meant we could really hit the ground running, and spend more time on the WheelCharity™ part of our program, to benefit members of the local American Legion Post 95.
We divided everyone into several teams. Each team received some tools and several wheelchair parts. We then held a series of competitive games, like Say What I Say, Air Counting, Pyramid, and our popular Word Game. Winners earned additional wheelchair parts and more tools. Participants had a great time while honing problem solving skills. These folks also practiced recognizing and appreciating each other’s strengths, and developed stronger communication skills. The sounds of friendly competition filled the room. By the end of the day, we had more than a dozen wheelchairs!
WheelCharity™ Event Hits Home
Participants were invited to join in a quick obstacle course using the wheelchairs they’d just built. This is just one way of driving home how important wheelchairs are to folks facing mobility issues. The day’s program was indeed developed with a goal of improving teamwork among TVA members. However, no one could forget that it was also intended to help local members of the American Legion Post 95. Gaining first-hand experience in using a wheelchair motivated several participants in a special way. They wrote messages of support for the person to receive the wheelchair.
TVA Engineers’ Work Helps Chattanooga-Area Vets
When Phil Sumrall arrived from the American Legion to take delivery of the wheelchairs, he was pretty impressed at the number of chairs completed. He talked with the group informally. He shared with them several stories of American Legion members whose lives would be positively affected by receiving a new wheelchair.
The whole WheelCharity™ experience made the ‘charity’ part of the team building workshop incredibly ‘real’ to participants. This wasn’t just an academic exercise in the practicalities of building something. It was a sincere opportunity to put their skills to use in helping their neighbors. It was a genuine instance of ‘win-win’, and the TVA engineers returned to work with a new-found outlook on the power of teamwork.