The Mighty Unicorns team – featured here in the boy band photo challenge – included (l-r) VCH’s Kerrie Watt and Lisa Hogan, CMHA peer navigator Yvana Avram, Parkgate Community Service’s Marionne Facundo and Haley Lackie from North Shore Neighbourhood House.

Fun-filled Amazing Race event features Foundry partners in race across North Shore

On TV, participants in the reality competition show Amazing Race travel the globe deducing clues to get to their next destination, perform mental and physical challenges, interact with locals and sometimes eat foods uncommon to their diet. Remember the wiggly live octopus?

Staff from VCH North Shore’s Child Youth Mental Health and Substance Use  Team and fellow service providers at the soon-to-open Foundry participated in their own version of the Amazing Race on Monday. Instead of globetrotting, 34 participants divided into seven teams and raced through  the North Shore. And thankfully there was no octopus on the menu.

THE GOAL: To familiarize participants with North Shore youth services that will be relevant to Foundry clients.

(When Foundry North Shore opens this summer, VCH will be the main occupant. However, nine partner agencies will also be working onsite including MCFD, Hollyburn Family Services, Canadian Mental Health Association, Family Services of the North Shore, YWCA (WorkBC), Parkgate Community Services, Capilano Community Services and North Shore Neighbourhood House.)

Team building

The idea for the race came from Terry Bulych the Clinical Planner for Foundry North Shore. Terry wanted staff to have the necessary information needed to feel confident in referring Foundry clients to appropriate services.

“An event like the Amazing Race has great potential for team building via problem solving, creativity, engagement and sheer fun plus its format can be easily adjusted to incorporate our target learning components such as increasing agency and service knowledge,” says Terry.

Terry Bulych

“One highlight for me was visiting the North Shore Women’s Centre. I’ve worked on the North Shore for 30 years and have never visited this charming agency!  The staff and setting was so warm and friendly. I learned so much about the many free services available to self-identified females on the North Shore. Truly a treasure agency.”

Other “destination” stops during the race included Family Services of the NS, Ayas Men Men (Squamish Nation), Stepping Stones, NS Multicultural Society, Hollyburn Family Services, Work BC, NS Women’s Center and Ambleside Youth Centre.

Plotting out the day

Though the  event idea  came from Terry, it was  Dominique Pouliotte, a Prevention Educator, and Youth Clinician Kristin Gattens who were tasked with the heavy lifting of planning the day’s logistics.

A few of the challenges Dominique and Kristin came up with involved “Best Ofs,” where the best team video won the team bonus points. One of these challenges tasked teams with creating an original rap about their teammates, and another involved teams creating an interpretive dance! “Kristin and I loved watching the videos of the raps and dances, they were hilarious and it was great to see everyone having a good time and being silly,” says Dominique.

One of the toughest tasks of the day may have been the marshmallow challenge at Stepping Stones. Teams had seven minutes to create the tallest possible tower using only 20 dry spaghetti sticks, one yard of string, lots of tape, and one marshmallow. “The team that got it the highest far surpassed others at a height of 48 cm, and I still don’t know what their secret was!” says Dominique.

And the winner is….

The overall winning team of the day was Nolan’s Angels, which included Terry Bulych (VCH), Nolan Gendron from YWCA (WorkBC), Kendra Hartney (VCH),Rosanna Ng (North Shore Multicultural Society), and Elizabeth Ross (Squamish Nation) .

As each team arrived at a stop, they completed a challenge, gathered information about the agency, and were handed the next clue which would lead their  team to heir next stop. Other tasks along the way included a picture challenge (e.g. Team posing like a boy band), “Busta Rhyme” challenges (solving a riddle, and the answer would be a piece of North Shore artwork that they’d have to take a picture of), and Grab Bag items (e.g. collect one sushi roll, one “I Voted” sticker.)

Outcome achieved

If the comments from participants were any indication, Terry’s goals were achieved.

Said one participant: “I really enjoyed bonding with like-minded individuals. Despite the rain, traffic etc – we were able to laugh it all off. Also learning about the North Shore resources and putting a face to these agencies is a huge help in my field.”

Said another: “We were not that enthusiastic at first but once we started we got into it and actually enjoyed it. Great learning about some of the different services available on the North Shore. Had a good day.”

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