Fun and educational activities to get teams working together 

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by Angela Kryhul, Ignite magazine | April 2024

Between work-at-home and busy travel schedules, team members can sometimes feel a bit disconnected. When it comes to fun and educational teambuilding ideas, Waterloo Region has you covered, whether your group is into outdoor adventure, culinary experiences or activities that integrate social responsibility goals. These three Waterloo Region businesses can help re-energize groups and get creative ideas flowing. 

Canoeing the scenic Grand River 

It doesn’t take much convincing to get people out onto the picturesque Grand River for a few hours of canoeing, kayaking or tubing. Of the three activities, canoeing is an ideal way to get people collaborating, says Shelly Jo Holmes, owner of Canoeing the Grand. “They have to work together to keep the canoe going in the right direction,” she explains. “It truly is an art and people feel very empowered by that.” 

River canoeing is an iconic Canadian experience that visitors from near and far enjoy. Groups from Google’s Waterloo Region office loved the experience so much that they asked Holmes to host Google colleagues from New York City for a day’s adventure out on the river.  

Canoeing the Grand’s home base provides outdoor space for meetings and informal barbecues, which can be catered by local partners, such as Chef Darryl Fletcher or the Charcoal Group of Restaurants.  

Video courtesy of GCP Industrial Products

Sharing a meal at Relish Cooking Studio 

Cooking is the perfect way to discover a colleague’s hidden talents, says best-selling cookbook author Donna-Marie Pye, who, together with business partner Maria Burjoski, owns Relish Cooking Studio. “It really opens up conversations between people outside of what they talk about on a day-to-day basis,” Pye says. 

Among the most popular of the Relish menus is the Paella Party, featuring Spanish tapas, paella and mini orange cakes. Participants improve their cooking skills while learning about seasonal ingredients sourced from nearby St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, Pye says. 

Relish also carries a diverse selection of locally made items—from organic maple syrup to honey—that planners can tuck into gift bags for participating team members. 

WholeHearted’s customized experiences 

WholeHearted founder, Catherine McGuire, helps organizations bridge the gap between donating to a cause and employee engagement.  

“The WholeHearted concept is built on the idea that small gestures go a long way, whether you have a group of 10 people or 1,000 people,” McGuire explains. “Good deeds have a ripple effect that does as much good within an organization as it does in the community.” 

Here are three of WholeHearted’s most popular experiences: 

Heart to Heart Market is a kit-assembly activity where donated items are tailored to a cause, such as mental health or the needs of a specific group, like a women’s shelter. 

An artist leads the Team Mural program where everyone contributes to a large canvas that is donated to a local organization. “During our programs, we talk about the science and the benefits behind creative activity and how it impacts our well-being,” McGuire notes.  

The Notes of Hope program typically takes place during a business event. Attendees are encouraged to write positive messages on note paper that has been infused with native wildflower seeds. The notes are hung on potted trees, which are later planted in the community. The notes themselves are planted by children as part of local community garden learning programs. 

Heather O’Leary and Catherine McGuire of WholeHearted

Personalize Your Group Experience 

Contact Jennifer Eddings to learn more about hosting your planet-friendly business event in Waterloo Region. 

Headshot of Jennifer Eddings, Business Development Manager at Explore Waterloo Region

Jennifer Eddings, Director of Business Development 
Explore Waterloo Region 
[email protected] 

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