Saturday, June 26, 2010

Building a single-person boat out of cardboard...

Every year our company completes a team building event which varies from being practical (cook-offs in the kitchen featured in Top Chef), to techy (geocaching event in Tilden park), to the downright geeky (scavenger hunt in downtown Berkeley where, among other thing, we found actors in various stores dressed as comic book heroes). This year's event takes the cake for being the most creative: we designed, built, and launched single-person boats made out of cardboard.

Each team of four had to design a boat that would ferry a single person across a lake and we could only use the materials provided at a store for a small price (or so we thought, the rules were left intentionally vague). We then built the boats, decorated them, pitched them to the "client" (who was determining which one to mass produce), and finally tested each one in a lake.

Some teams spent time planning their boats before buying the supplies. Unfortunately for them, other conniving teams (*innocent eye roll*) bought all the supplies first and held monopolies over valuable resources such as tape. Those teams also began scavenging the park for extra flotation assistance, with recycled plastic bottles conveniently left over from our picnic working quite well in assisting the pontoons. Once the boats were built, flags designed, and hulls decorated each team made a hilarious sales pitch and showed off their designs (a few teams scrambled to find more resources to finish their boats while others pitched).

Finally we trekked to the lake and selected one lucky, volunteer from each team to sit in the boats and row across the lake. Some boats actually floated quite well (especially the winning pontoon with sealed plastic bottles inside).

Others... did not.

Overall we had blast, and we were surprised at how some of the "sure-thing" boats quickly sank while other "doomed" boats made the entire voyage unscathed (except for the nerves of the expecting-to-be-drenched passenger). I don't know how we are going to top this next year, but word is that it may involve building hang gliders...

Click the link below to see all photos from the event (including the delightful picnic prior to the boat building)

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