Team Building Night

By: Lilly Walsh

“Go, go go!”  The excited screams filled the stage as kids raced to the middle of the circle, carrying watches set to strange times and shoes tied together, whatever was required to fulfill the unusual demands of the scavenger hunt. 
Last week was the 17th annual TEC Teambuilding Night.  For those of you who don’t know, it’s a 12-hour long lock-in in the PAC and gym, filled with fun activities for all of us to enjoy.  Any TEC member who has participated in a production within the past year is welcome to attend the event, and we usually get about fifty members.  It originally started as a chance for the teachers to see how the TEC students would get along when outside of school before taking them on the first spring trip. Now, it has grown into so much more.
As an officer this year, I’ve been a part of the group that worked for the past several weeks to pull this event off.  Finally seeing it come together and be the huge success that we’d hoped for was very satisfying.
The evening began at 7 pm with our annual TEC photo, which will be in the 2015 Zenith program, school yearbook, and fall football program.  Afterwards there were icebreakers and a whole lot of barbecue.  Throughout the evening we passed out door prizes, courtesy of the generous Westlake community, and watched videos filmed and edited by TEC students.  One of the best parts of the night was when we split into smaller groups to work with the kind and talented professionals of the Andy Furman Group, whom we have been lucky enough to have join us for the past eight years, to complete different teambuilding activities that they provide. Over the years there have been some odd and challenging games, but they're always very entertaining and they teach us important lessons about becoming a stronger team.  Now that I’m older, it’s fun to take a step back during these times to allow younger members to become the leaders and share their ideas.  There were some new activities this year, including a game outside the school at 1am, which definitely got some stares from the people in cars passing by.  Andy Furman’s team left at about 2 am, and then we were up to our own devices.  The officers worked hard to come up with games to keep people interested for the following five hours: Ultimate Frisbee, football, crab soccer, video games, and twister, just to name a few.  Sometimes people go to bed at this time, but most people want to take on the challenge of staying awake all night. At 6:30 we packed up, and by 7 am we were out the door, happy but utterly exhausted.
Teambuilding Night is a special event for members of TEC.  It’s a chance for everyone to come together to celebrate the year we’ve started, and it allows us to get to know each other on an out-of-school basis, making us a stronger team to finish out the year.  Even more importantly, Teambuilding Night is when we, the older members, get to meet and watch the younger students.  It is our first glimpse into the future of TEC.  When we all leave high school in the next year or so, it’s this year’s freshmen and sophomores who will step up and take our places as the leaders of TEC.  The shy freshmen who were nervous to share their ideas this year might very well have a spot as on officer on the leadership team of 2017.  We get to see who is already showing a love for TEC, and we begin to do what previous students did for us, helping them to grow in their confidence and leadership, so that when we are gone, TEC won’t just be as good as it was when we were here, it will be better.