I still vividly remember the company picnics our family would go to when I was young. At the end of August a few hundred people related to the business my dad worked for would gather in a city park in Minneapolis for food and games. A huge cauldron (my childhood memory tells me it was like a 15-foot metal watering troff) had a fire built under it with dozens and dozens of ears of fresh Minnesota corn being boiled. Everyone would gather for Bingo, with each winner taking home a silver dollar. I prized the few I managed to win. The sights and smells of the whole event still linger with me.
Yesterday we at IVP had our company picnic just a couple blocks away from our office at Ty Warner Park (yes, the Beanie Baby mogul). We pretty much devoured a roast pig provided by Uncle Bub’s (also a fine Westmont, Illinois, establishment), concluded and crowned champions in IVP’s summer-long cornhole (also known as bags or corn toss) tournament, and gave prizes for the best balloon animals. Since IVP is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, we also had a trivia contest about our glorious (and not as glorious) past as well as hearing war stories from past employees.
The grand old tradition of company picnics lives on for good reason. It is a way to thank employees for their hard work, to mix with people in the organization you don’t normally work with, and enjoy a break from the usual routine. It’s a way to build relationships and enhance corporate ethos. At IVP we actually alternate each year between a picnic and some other summer event, like a local Shakespeare in the Park production or a boat ride. Sometimes what we cook up to do is a bit corny, but, hey, that’s part of the fun.
Building memories. Building relationships. It’s all part of being a team with a mission to accomplish. Sometimes even some old-fashioned ways can help you do just that.