Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cartoon of the Day: Gingerbread Houses

TeamBuilding Unlimited facilitates a special holiday event: Gingerbread House TeamBuilding Challenge where teams are given the supplies to build their 'houses'.. sometimes new hospitals or research labs for physicians or researchers.. or new hotels for hotel staff or Hotel Management or Marketing companies. Very fun! Each Gingerbread House Building event is customized for the company to make it more relevant--and fun!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BLANKETS OF HOPE

TeamBuilding Unlimited offers several different charity challenges. One of our favorite is Blankets of Hope. In this Philanthropic Team Building activity, teams work together to create warm and cozy Blankets of Hope

Teams are given multi-patterned and solid fleece panels that they combine to make no-sew Blankets of Hope. Teams work together to cut and knot these blankets. There are many different ways to assemble and finish these great fleece blankets, so there is ample room for creativity, as well as practicality. Team members choose from a variety of patterns and styles of fleece, as well as finishing techniques. Working in teams of 2-3, these no-sew blankets are fun to make.

Once the blankets are completed, they will be donated to local organizations: Shelters, Police, Fire, Disaster, Hospitals or another charity. This Charity Challenge is fun and altruistic. It benefits your team and the children who receive the Blankets of Hope. It's a Win-Win event for your group.

Recently TeamBuilding Unlimited worked with a Silicon Valley group that assembled and donated 65+ blankets to the Family Giving Tree. The Family Giving Tree in turn donated them to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital for the pediatric and oncology patients. It was a win-win event for all involved. TeamBuilding Unlimited was proud to play a part. 


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Murder on the Menu

Murder on the Menu® is the oldest mystery event company in California. With over 35 years in the business, we're the BEST! That's because all events are about the clients. Each mystery event reflects the goals and objectives, jargon, agenda and specific participants. Professional actors and audio/visual enhance the performance and ensure a great evening.

Murder on the Menu designs mystery plots for corporate meetings, incentive programs, appreciation dinners, FAM trips, hotel openings, fundraisers, conventions and more.

Murder on the Menu works with you to create an event that not only "hooks" you with a story and characters that are unbelievably close to home, but lets you wrestle with the clues in an unforgettable whodunit. A customized murder mystery insures a successful and memorable event.

Murder on the Menu is booking holiday parties now.. at the venue of your choice. Groups of 10 to 350!

Request a Proposal.

Friday, October 4, 2013

WHY TEAM BUILDING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER!

From Smart Meetings Magazine:

TEAMBUILDING GETS PERSONAL!

Long gone are the days when co-workers chatted around the water cooler, catching up on how Johnny fared in his soccer game, discussing the newest, coolest restaurant and hearing all about a colleague's recent business trip. It's much more likely that by Monday morning you have already viewed pictures of the winning goal on Facebook, received a tweet about that trendy bistro and opened a group email highlighting the success of an innovative sales pitch. 


Social and electronic media have certainly increased intimacy among employees, speeding up the transmission of information as well as expanding the circles that personal and business news reaches. Kudos to technology, but despite all the benefits, communication has inevitably become less personal, and therein lies the reason that team building is more important than ever. 

"The way the world works and communicates has greatly changed over the past 20 years," says Frank Price, co-owner of TeamBuilding Unlimited. "Companies are composed of more people from different nations, cultures and languages than ever before. Because of the Internet, there is often a lack of face-to-face meetings and relationships. The change of culture allows for a variety and diversity of events and activities to enhance team building." 

Price brings valuable, practical experience to his San Francisco Bay Areabased company, having served as a teacher, sports coach, consultant and mentor to educators. He spent three years in Francophone West Africa with the Peace Corps and later traveled to Nigeria through the Fulbright-Hays Program. 

Janet Rudolph, the other co-owner, boasts more than 25 years of experience in team building, hospitality and meeting planning. She is a member of MPI, the International Society of Special Events, the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, the San Mateo County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Napa Chamber of Commerce. Together, Price and Rudolph form a power teambuilding couple who help businesses, corporations and organizations improve internal relations, which often translates to improved productivity. 

"Participants will learn about their co-workers, their strengths and their weaknesses, as well as personal information that will help them bond and create a better working environment back at the workplace," Rudolph says. "Teambuilding activities give co-workers the ability to work together on a level playing field where their jobs and critical company work are not at risk. It's great to mix up the teams—by country, by work group and by job level. It's so much fun to learn about others, and the goal is that this follows through to the workplace." 

Beating the Bad Rap 

Somewhere, somehow team building got a bad rap, much like the meetings industry as a whole. People often roll their eyes when they learn of an impending team-building exercise or activity, which can understandably trigger reluctance among meeting planners. For that reason alone, it's important to turn to dedicated and experienced companies to facilitate team building. 

"I believe people groan about team building before they realize how much it will benefit the group and how much fun a team-building exercise can be," Rudolph says. "Maybe they've had a bad experience with a less than fun or meaningful activity. That's never the case with TeamBuilding Unlimited." 

Rudolph has coordinated scavenger hunts for MPI members to help introduce them to hotels, venues and offsites. "What a great way to learn about a property, an organization or a city—as well as others in the group," she says. 

TeamBuilding Unlimited is actually a byproduct of Rudolph's earliest venture, Murder on the Menu. Rudolph orchestrates interactive mystery entertainment for corporate meetings, incentive programs and conventions, customizing murdermystery events that complement group interests. Adding specific team-building activities to her portfolio was a natural progression for Rudolph. 

Stirring up Group Chemistry 

Just as coaches often bring out the best in their teams, Price believes that team building can accomplish the same thing among co-workers. "Chemistry is an elusive term for sports and business, and I enjoy the challenge of kick-starting that kind of chemistry," Price says. "Giving a simple gift to a participant and letting that person know he or she is unique brings a smile and positive comments. For example, if I know that John is a huge fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team and I give him a custom-designed T-shirt with the upcoming football schedule, it's an excellent way to get conversations going." 

Price says his Peace Corps experiences have been valuable in developing team-building exercises, providing insights into the variety of ways people view the world. "It is important to respect that differences do exist," Price says. "I may still hold on to my viewpoint, but I need to be able to look at the world differently. Diversity and variety make for better team building. Laughter is a common human experience, and when people laugh and smile, they can share." 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Murder on the Menu at Brassfield Estate Winery

Peter Nachtrieb as Frank T. Lawman
Brassfield Estate Winery in Lake county was the stunning setting for an evening of intrigue and mystery produced by Murder on the Menu. Flappers, gangsters and 'others', dressed to the 'nines', mingled with 'characters' from Murder on the Menu, as they became involved in the Crime of their Lives. 

This evening was the second annual mystery event for Brassfield Estate's Serenity Wine Club. Not only were the guests feted to an outstanding mystery, but they dined on great food by Piper Johnson, and drank wonderful Brassfield Estate Wines. Eruption is a personal favorite!

There were four crimes, lots of clues and innuendos, and great acting by the Murder on the Menu troupe! Whodunit? All was revealed at the end of the evening. Winners received wine and mystery novels! What a great evening.

Next year: Dying on the Vine


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BLANKETS OF HOPE: Charity Challenge

TeamBuilding Unlimited will lead your participants through this fun and meaningful Charity Challenge! Your participants will work in teams on these warm and cozy Blankets of Hope. After assembling these blankets, your team will donate the Blankets of Hope to children in hospitals, shelters, and other charitable organizations.

There are many different ways to assemble and finish these great fleece blankets, so there is ample room for creativity, as well as practicality. Team members will choose from a variety of patterns and styles of fleece, as well as finishing techniques. Working in teams of 2-3, these no-sew blankets are fun to make.

Once the blankets are completed, they will be donated to local organizations: Shelters, Police, Fire, Disaster, Hospitals or another charity.

This Charity Challenge is fun and altruistic. It benefits your team and the children who receive the Blankets of Hope. It's a Win-Win event for your group.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sandcastles at the Beach!

TeamBuilding Unlimited is known for its wacky sandcastle building team events... both in instruction and execution! Who wouldn't want to spend a day at the Beach working with colleagues to build new Sandcastle offices, hotels or castles. We bring the tools, facilitation and motivation to make this team building exercise a unique day at the Beach!

Sensational Sandcastle Building!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sensational Chocolate Tastings: What to do with Left Over Chocolate

TeamBuilding Unlimited is known for its Chocolate Team Building events. Maybe that's because Frank Price, the VP, spent 3 years in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in the Peace Corps. Cote d'Ivoire produces one of the largest amounts of cacao in the world. And, then there's the fact that I blog about chocolate every day at www.DyingforChocolate.com. Recipes, reviews and chocolate news. And, I'm a Judge at International Chocolate Salons.

Last week for Administration Assistant Appreciation Day, TeamBuilding Unlimited was asked to host a Chocolate Tasting for 75 Admins of a large multi-national company. What a fun time was had by all. The Admins tasted chocolate from different manufacturers and chocolate makers with beans from all over the world. Terroir, process, history and lots of other chocolate information was dispersed as the admins sampled the chocolate. A score card for remarks was provided to participants, so they could rate the chocolate. Chocolate, as you know, is a matter of taste. I personally prefer dark chocolate, but the choices were immense.. beans from Equador over chocolate from Ghana? Stone ground vs. more traditional process?

But let's face it, there's only so much chocolate one can eat at a time. Never fear. Teambuilding Unlimited provided baggies so the participants could take home some of the chocolate they preferred. So here's the quandry. What to do with 'left-over" chocolate? Yes, you can always eat it. But if you're not planning on baking anything, here's an easy solution--Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Simple to make and they look fabulous!

CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients
1 quart fresh large fresh strawberries, with tops
1-1/2 cup "left over" Dark Chocolate, broken or chopped
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

Directions
Rinse strawberries and dry thoroughly, keeping tops on. In top of double boiler or stainless
steel bowl on top of a pot of simmering water, combine chocolate and heavy cream. Stir until
chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Dip strawberries 1/2 to 3/4 way up in chocolate mixture and place on parchment-
lined cookie sheet to allow chocolate to harden.

Hints:
Wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Make sure strawberries are
completely dry. A drop of water in melted chocolate can cause it to "seize" and turn the
entire mixture into a mess.
How to Fix Seized Chocolate

How to dip:
Grasp stem of strawberry and dip into chocolate, swirling to partially cover with chocolate.
Give the strawberry a small shake as you pull it out of chocolate. When strawberry is
completely out of chocolate, swirl it in quick, clockwise motion to let excess chocolate drip off.
Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with rest of strawberries.

The Chef pictured in the photo is by Sonoma artist Cynthia Hipkiss. I love her oddball humor, and I have several of her sculptures. I love this Chef, in particular, and he holds a coveted space by my stove (the blue O'Keefe Merritt), and I've had the Chef and the stove forever. What's particularly fun about the Chef is what he's holding can be changed. I have a strawberry shortcake, a birthday cake, and a plate of hot dogs with all the trimmings.  The smaller food sculptures are attached with velcro. Very clever! Hipkiss Gallery is located in Sonoma, CA, and her work is carried in several art galleries.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chocolate Construction Challenge

February is Chocolate Month, and what could be more fun than a Chocolate Team Building Event?

One chocolate team building event that TeamBuilding Unlimited facilitates is The Chocolate Construction Challenge--build a structure completely from chocolate. TeamBuilding has never been so Sweet!

TeamBuilding Unlimited leads your group in this luscious activity. Teams are challenged to construct a "creative" designated chocolate structure while incorporating their Company into the event. The process is grounded in both the reality and uncertainty of the task. Specific structure will be defined after reviewing company information.

Teams are provided with all kinds of chocolate based foods that might include chocolate-covered graham crackers, M&Ms, chocolate Gummy Bears, Hershey bars and all kinds of other chocolate--different shapes, sizes, and textures.

Teams then compete to build a structure. One HMO firm had its teams build their ideal medical center. A hotel group set its teams to designing resorts. The final chocolate structure has to stand up on its own and, except for the white cardboard base, has to be completely edible. Teams are given time to design and build, and then they present the results. Half the fun is explaining why they built what they built and how they built it.

And, of course, there are rewards! How sweet it is!

Contact Team Building Unlimited for your next teambuilding event--chocolate and more!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Charity Challenge: Operation Red Wagon

Teambuilding Unlimited leads your team in an interactive fun and philanthropic Charity Challenge: Operation Red Wagon

The Red Wagon has become a symbol of American childhood. Teams work together to build wagons that will be donated to shelters, hospitals or child care centers. Our red wagons feature full-sized all-steel seamless body with no scratch edges, extra-long handle that folds under and steel wheels with semi-pneumatic rubber tires.

The reward for building the Red Wagons is the reward of giving back to the community. What a great team bonding activity for your team!

Charity Challenge: Operation Red Wagon II: Welcome Wagons
 
This team building event is a twist on our traditional Red Wagon team building event. Wagons are filled with various supplies depending on the receiving organization: Children or Families.  Wagons can be filled with household supplies or children's toys, school supplies or a mixture. We even have an optional Library Wagon that participants fill with Books!

Working together each team becomes part of an even bigger team that makes a difference by providing basic supplies for families in need.

Besides teambuilding skills, a lot of team bonding goes on during this meaningful and fun charity challenge!

Contact TeamBuilding Unlimited for more information on how your team can make a difference.