Giving Back

Circling the Wagons

At one company summit, a combined team-building and community-service activity felt a lot like child’s play — which was exactly the idea.

Each year, Maryland-based staffing and recruiting firm Allegis Group Services holds its Global Summit, a sales and operational meeting that brings together employees from all over the world. During this year’s summit, which took place April 17-20 at the Landsdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va., approximately 200 employees turned their attention to Allegis’ core business — filling positions — and then moved on to filling little red wagons.

Allegis usually closes out its meeting with a team-building event, and for two years now has made a social-responsibility initiative part of that activity. This year, the company worked with Orlando-based event-services company Wildly Different on the Red Wagon Brigade, which gave Allegis employees the chance to build connections and morale while giving back to the community, according to Danielle Lofland, Allegis’ director of communications.

Groups from 20 to several hundred participants can take part in the Red Wagon Brigade – one of a variety of team-building activities organized by Wildly Different – with the the end result being red wagons filled with items that are donated to local children’s charities, such as Boys & Girls Clubs. Allegis selected Virginia HealthWorks, an organization that partners with hospitals to provide transportation for sick children. “Anybody can become compassionate about children,” Lofland said, and Allegis participants felt good “knowing the end product was going to benefit children being transported to and from local Virginia hospitals.”

Wildly Different facilitated the program from start to finish, assisting Allegis in the selection of the charity, and providing materials for teams to construct and decorate the wagons, as well as on-site staffing for the activity. A program emcee led the group, divided into teams, in challenges like trivia questions, “name that tune,” and word games. Winning teams were awarded school-supply items to fill their wagons for donation. “The personalities and the people [Wildly Different] brought were really motivating,” Lofland said, and “really able to get our team excited with challenges and getting people to want to win in order to build these wagons.”

Kerri Bishop, Wildly Different’s director of F&G (that’s fun and games), said the company has noticed more organizations – from pharmaceutical to cosmetics companies – choosing team-building activities that have a community-service component at their meetings. “Lately there’s been a huge trend toward CSR programs,” Bishop said, “so that’s why Red Wagon Brigade and some of our other programs have been very popular.”

This particular activity, which can take place outdoors or in — as long as there’s a big enough ballroom or similar space — has a feel-good factor that was aligned with the Allegis culture. “We’re a staffing company, so we’re helping people every single day find jobs all over the country, all over the globe,” Lofland said. “We know what we do every day feels good, and it felt really good to see these children able to use the wagons that we put together.”

Katie Kervin

Katie Kervin was formerly assistant editor of Convene.