UACES Facebook ExCEL corporate challenge trades spreadsheets, reports for archery, water balloons
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ExCEL corporate challenge trades spreadsheets, reports for archery, water balloons

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

    • Five corporate teams face off with archery, water balloons, canoes
    • Teams ready to take on the challenge again in 2016

 (320 words)

FERNDALE, Ark. – Five businesses traded spreadsheets and reports for archery and water balloons in a one-of-a-kind-corporate challenge at The Vines Center that left contestants with smiles and maybe a little weekend warrior soreness. 

VIEW FROM UPSTAIRS  -- Members of the Cintas team watch the competition's performance during the ExCEL corporate challenge at The Vines Center in Ferndale. (U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture photo by Ryan McGeeney)

For one morning in May, corporate competition went outside to play as five teams took on the ExCEL challenge around the lake at The Vines Center.

The winner of this inaugural corporate challenge was Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.

“We have a great team here at Farm Credit Services and the small group that participated was no exception,” said Clay Lance, assistant vice president for Farm Credit. “Everyone chipped in where they could and we all enjoyed the day out of the office.” 

Five teams from Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Arkansas Federal Credit Union – which brought two teams -- and Cintas, took part in eight activities including the planks, water balloon launch, archery and the blindfolded canoe event.

In the “Trolleys” event, team members all place their left feet on one plank and right feet on the other. They hold ropes attached to each plank. They must walk as one, coordinating left and right feet and lifting at just the right time in order to move forward.

Jocelyn Jackson of Blue Cross Blue Shield said the Trolleys activity was the most difficult – especially “Getting everyone to step at the same time. I think we were having too much fun, was the problem,” she said. “I liked each station. They were good team-building exercises. This was my first time doing anything like this.” 

Next year

Luke Nipper, ExCEL coordinator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the teams enjoyed the outing. 

IN THE LOOP - Participants from several businesses and organizations participate in the ExCEL Corporate Challenge at the 4-H Vines Center in Little Rock. The event included a series of team-building exercises. (U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture photo by Ryan McGeeney)

“One of the participants cam up to me afterwards and shared with me how much everyone on his team was engaged with the activities and the team the entire time,” he said “The teams asked if we’re planning to do the event next year. We’ll definitely do the event next year, hopefully with more teams.”

The day after the competition, Heather Savage, vice president-Human Resources for Arkansas Federal Credit Union admitted to moving a little slower than usual, but also said “battle scars are awesome!”  She told Nipper she was ready to field a team for the next year.

Overcoming reservations

Tanner Chapman, senior human resources manager for Cintas, said “My management team wasn’t sure what to expect and had their reservations before the day of the event, but now all they can talk about is how much fun they had participating.

“My leadership team had a blast and it reaffirmed how strong we are as a team,” Chapman said. “We may not have technically won the event, but all the same, we loved participating. Next year we will take home the title against the other corporations!”

For more information about ExCEL, visit 4-H ExCEL.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126


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