Last week, TTT Studios organized its first-ever company-wide team-building event: TTT’s Jamboree! We flew team members from different parts of Canada—and the world!— to our office in downtown Vancouver, BC, to join our local team for an opportunity to connect in person, create memories, and get inspired during the three-day conference.
What is theTTT Jamboree?
In the past, TTT had ended summers with a Scavenger Hunt and team dinner to celebrate and promote team building. However, in our new hybrid environment, we felt the need to do more. Jamboree is defined as a large festive gathering, and our Jamboree was all about reconnecting and strengthening our bond as a team. The event consisted of a mixed program of entertainment, events, learning activities, and shared experiences centred on three themes: play, celebrate, and inspire.
Rebuilding company culture after a pandemic
Before Covid-19, TTT Studios had already offered the opportunity to work remotely should a team member choose so. So when the lockdown hit and our TTT’ers had to work from home entirely, a remote working transition was quickly achievable. While there are many benefits to remote working, there is also a potential concern of disconnect between team members if they’re not in a shared environment.
One of TTT’s most vital features has always been our culture; sadly, in the last two and a half years, we’ve lost the day-to-day contact in our office, making it difficult for everyone to get to know each other beyond work. And with many of our TTT’ers based outside of Vancouver, we continuously look for ways to keep everybody engaged and affirm our mission of support and inclusiveness.
What happened at the TTT Jamboree?
Day 1: Play
As the name suggests, Day 1 of Jamboree focused on the theme of Play. Play creates a community, releases endorphins, improves brain functionality, and stimulates creativity.
The day started with all of our TTT'ers gathering at the downtown office. It was such a thrilling moment for all of us since it was the first time that many of us would meet each other in person.
After formally meeting one another, it was time to break the ice. The fun began once we broke everyone into four teams for our traditional Scavenger Hunt challenge. We have some competitive TTT'ers here, so the stakes were high for those who don't know. The Scavenger Hunt involved teams running through downtown Vancouver hoping to complete a list of challenge items. Challenge items ranged from photos of a team member with a stranger dressed in cowboy clothing to a picture of a team member holding a Vancouver Olympic Mascot (Sumi, Kwatchi, or Miga).
After we tallied the score, the Blue team emerged victorious and won the official Scavenger Hunt trophy! We ended the day with a catered dinner and highlight showings from the Scavenger Hunt. After a day of fun and running around together, our team was closer than ever.
Day 2: Inspire
After such a fun first day, our second day of Jamboree focused on the theme of Inspire. The day was dedicated to unlocking our team’s potential by transforming how we perceive our capabilities.
The day started in the office, where everyone gathered for breakfast and coffee. We then moved on to some team-building activities, which included street cleaning with the City of Vancouver and making and handing out sandwiches and bottles of water throughout the city. Community involvement is essential to our culture, and we wanted to pay tribute to that during our Jamboree.
We continued the day with Tightrope Theater, an improv theatre based in Vancouver. Two fantastic speakers from Tightrope came in and shared some neat improv techniques. The techniques certainly brought people out of their comfort zone and were applicable outside the stage. It helped us develop an agile mindset, to shift thinking as a situation required.
We then travelled to Granville Island, where team members broke off into groups of two to participate in their choice of kayaking or art classes. After some time in the water and art creations, our team regrouped for a lovely dinner and boat cruise around the harbour. One of my favourite moments was sitting at the front of the boat with the team, watching the sunset, holding a gin and tonic in my hand, and enjoying engaging conversations with everyone.
Day 3: Celebrate
Our final day of Jamboree was all about celebrating. More specifically, taking pride in our success and reflect on our accomplishments.
After a nice breakfast, TTT was joined by Ivan Ruiz of Public Speaking Lab. Ivan's goal was to have us develop our communication, personal branding, and public speaking skills, in-person and in digital settings; using interactive methods, Ivan had us up out of our seats for some fun and creative discussions.
By the afternoon, the TTT Jamboree Cup was on, and the stakes were high! As I mentioned, our team loves some competition, which was another opportunity to flex those muscles. We had a set of challenges for teams to work through, and whichever team had the highest score would come out victorious!
We finished the day with a lovely Family BBQ on the patio. After all the excitement from the past two days, it was a great way to end the Jamboree. We have a fantastic team, and meeting the family and friends that support them daily was a great way to connect.
The inspiration behind TTT’s Jamboree
It's tough to be a cohesive team when you only know the Zoom projection of each other. It brings me back to a passage in Good Will Hunting where the psychiatrist (Robin Williams) started to understand the genius (Matt Daman). And I quote…
"So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo? You know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that."
This quote is applicable for remote working. We know the features of the people we work with, their hair and eye colours, and even what type of coffee they have if we have many morning meetings. But that does not give us the essence of that person, their height, their laugh's authentic sound, or even their favourite book. These things occur during face-to-face conversations, and the Jamboree allowed us to fill in some of those missing features.