MPI–ONE – September 2008
"Leaving a Lasting Impression: BUSY BEES GIVING BACK TO THE HIVE"
by Michael Pinchera
(link to article online)
Teambuilding – Impact 4 Good
Founded in 2005 by an event industry pro and a globe-trotter from the non-profit, community service world, East Hanover, N.J.-based Impact 4 Good aims to “bring community service to the ballroom,” according to Executive Director Alan Ranzer.
With prior community service experience throughout the Americas, Asia and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Ranzer proudly supports communities and implements Impact 4 Good activities worldwide.
“An instrumental component of our work is to respect ethical values, people, communities and the environment, while introducing corporate employees to local cultures and communities,” according to Impact 4 Good’s mission statement.
The Event – Charles Schwab Beehive Building
Three hundred of Charles Schwab’s top salespeople on an incentive trip in Montego Bay, Jamaica, recently experienced a team-building activity that gave back to the community and grew participant understanding and enjoyment of the sights and sounds of the Caribbean island.
Strategies and Objectives – Team Investment
The message behind the socially responsible team-building component to the incentive trip was to help develop local sustainability in a way that supports the Charles Schwab ideal, “help everyone become financially fit.”
To accomplish this, Impact 4 Good implemented their beehive-building program—working with a local bee farmers association to help individual bee farmers become more financially sound and sustainable.
For this, attendees were split into teams and a “queen bee” assigned to each. Studying a treasure map of the resort, the “queen bee” interpreted directions via “waggle dance”—sort of like charades—to locations spread across the property. Bee passports were stamped as participants arrived at each location, and full passports were exchanged for the materials necessary to construct a beehive. Completed hives were donated to a local bee farmers association.
Bee farmers and the president of their local association were on hand to educate participants about the process of bee farming and otherwise provide for a more complete social experience. To sweeten the deal, each participant was also given a jar of honey made locally from the group of beekeepers they were helping.
Conclusion – Conundrum Resolution
The event ran smoothly, without any special problems (there were no bees present)—but, Ranzer says, finding the perfect match of client and beneficiary is always the main challenge.
The community conundrum—how to present a ballroom- or resort-based community-service experience that retains the community-service feel—was resolved by bringing in bee farmers to work side-by-side with the participants.
Working with the community in the beehive construction also succeeded in giving participants a truly unique incentive travel experience. Attendee comments revealed an appreciation for the CSR component of their trip to Jamaica: “Great to see things going back to the community” and “I’m so proud that we are able to come together to help others become independent.” In that, Ranzer sees success: Impact 4 Good unveiling the human passion of community service.