Easy Team Building Activities

On the 3-Day, we are all part of one big family. We walk, eat, cheer, glamp, share and succeed together. However, many of our 3-Dayers walk as members of teams within that larger family (teams ranging from 1 member to 119!), and we love seeing you all bond and thrive over the course of 60 miles.

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To make your team as strong as possible, we recommend doing a few team building activities leading up to the 3-Day to get bring your teammates as close as possible. This is especially important for teams where not everyone knows each other. We have some simple and fun ideas to get your next team meeting off on a fun note!

Human Knot

Tried and true, this is never a bad idea, and could be a fun way to start each of your team meetings. Starting in a circle, participants connect hands with two others people in the group (but not anyone next to them) to form a human knot. As a team, they must then try to unravel the “knot” by untangling themselves without breaking the chain of hands. Time yourself each meeting and see if you get better the longer you work and train together.

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Photo Finish

The aim of the challenge is to set up a “finish line” or your training walk, and get the whole group to step across it at exactly the same time. Strike a pose, or take a leap! If one person is out of sync, then you must start over again. This activity involves planning, communication and timing. Create your own finish line, and make it as exciting or intricate as you like! Then, set a timer on your camera and capture the action. This is great practice for crossing the finish line at the end of your 60 miles.

Human Shapes

Working together as a team, the group must use their bodies to form letters and words. You can lay on the ground to form them, transform your body while standing, or even use your fingers to make words together! Spell out your team name, the name of the person you’re walking for, or phrases like “The 3 Day” and “More Than Pink.” Take photos and tag us on social media! We might just re-post!

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Shoe Tower

Just completed a long training walk or a team shoe fitting for the 3-Day? Make use of your sneakers! Using the shoes available to your team, split into two sides and try to construct the tallest tower of shoes. The team with the tallest tower wins the challenge!

Geocache Adventure

A lot like a scavenger hunt, a geocache adventures rely on clues, but has the added level of using GPS coordinates to find an item. There are several apps available to use on smartphones that you can use for geocache-ing. The team captain can hide clues or 3-Day treats in locations around a park or your local town. Then, split into pairs and go off hunting! The pair that hits all the spots first, and gets to the “finish line”…wins! This helps team members work together to achieve a specific goal, just like you will on the 3-Day.

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Group Timeline

Using poster board, a bulletin board, or a large piece of paper, create a timeline. Have it start on the birth year of your team’s oldest member, and go up to this year. Mark each year on the timeline. Then, also mark important years for Susan G. Komen and the 3-Day, like the first year there was an event in your city.

After that, give your team members four slips of paper, and ask them to mark down four important moments in their life. Let them pin them to the timeline. This will help your team members learn more about each other, and about the history of the 3-Day.

What are your favorite team building exercises? Tell us in the comments!

Meet Northern Nippys, Twin Cities 3-Day Team

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Twin Cities 3-Dayers take their walking and training seriously all year long, even in the dead of winter temperatures. Minnesota’s freezing temperatures bring teams together early in their 3-Day journey, whether that team is two people or 32 strong. One team, The Northern Nippys, has been both a duo and an army of more than 30 people, and through the years they have become a Twin Cities 3-Day staple thanks to creative fundraising and boundless recruitment energy.

This year, the Nippys, led by Team Captain Laura Lamson, are aiming to raise $100,000 as a team of at least 40 people, and already have 39 team members behind that goal.

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“I’d always dreamed of a big team! And then a friend of mine signed up and she said, “If we have ten, then we should go for 15!” And I said, “Why don’t we go for 20?” Lamson explained.

“It turned into such a positive peer pressure situation from there and escalated up, and that was the year we had 32 people. It was just amazing! A lot more work, but a lot more fun came with it. After that the numbers changed, but this year is my 10th year walking and my friend’s 10th year as a survivor, so we have vowed to raise $100,000.”

Such a bold goal means recruiting new team members, hosting many group meetings for support, and a whole lot of fundraising.

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Recruiting was the easy part for Lamson, who welcomes anyone and everyone onto the Nippys. A few team members signed up immediately after the 2016 3-Day finished, and more soon followed thanks to word-of-mouth through various friend groups, and social media promotion.

A good support system is key for any team, especially one with lots of new members, and the Nippys have it in spades.

“We have team meet and greets to make it fun! I make a video from all of last year’s photos to give them a feel for the 3-Day and make them comfortable right from the start,” Lamson says. “Then, we talk about why you’re walking and who we’re walking for, and just keep it positive! We do ongoing team meetings and brain storming, and see what we can do for fundraising and support. We also have our team Facebook page for people to ask questions, and share ideas or tips from past walks.”

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For veteran walkers like Lamson and a few of the other team members, that means sharing everything from their packing list to their fundraising letters.

Even with a large team, fundraising can be a daunting task, especially for new walkers with a big goal.

“So many of my walkers are intimidated by [fundraising] but I tell them that on average you need about 50 people to donate.”

Getting those donations just depends on what each walker is comfortable with. Lamson has developed a list of more than 500 people she mails letters to each year, and continually reminds new teammates that “it doesn’t hurt to ask.”

The team also runs one fundraiser with a local restaurant and another with a local bowling alley, distributing the proceeds throughout team members who need an extra boost towards their goal. In the past, the team has also done garage sales, dog washes and more.

“Every little thing we do brings fun and brings us together. The more we do, the more it makes us unified as a family.”

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This feeling of family culminates every year on the 3-Day itself.

“You are just in this happy little mode no matter what happens,” Lamson recounts. “It’s how we all wish the world would be. It’s just the kindness and generosity that comes out in everyone, and you feel like a family. The more years I walked, the more I knew how important this was. One in eight women are affected and I’ve got to walk for them! You get on the 3-Day high and it’s too fun to walk away from the little 3-Day bubble.”

So every year, the Northern Nippys come back for more of that family love from their team, and their whole Twin Cities community. This year they have a big goal to achieve, but luckily, they also have each other to help them on their journey.

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A Disruption of Pink – Seattle 3-Day Team GTM

This is team GTM.IMG_8363 GTM stands for Gargantuan Thrill Machine. Of course, my first order of business when I sat down with sisters Jennifer and Sue MacMenamin at lunch on Day 2 of the Seattle 3-Day was to find out where that name came from.

“When we were in high school, maybe a little bit into college, we started a basement band, and that’s what we called it. The Gargantuan Thrill Machine, GTM for short. It came from a movie review on the back of a VHS copy of an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that was described as ‘a gargantuan thrill machine,’ and we just thought it was a great name for a band.”

A couple decades later, it was clear that GTM was also the perfect name for a 3-Day team. And not just any team; team GTM includes all five MacMenamin siblings, both parents, an aunt who came out from Ireland (where Mom and Dad MacMenamin are originally from as well), and a healthy smattering of very supportive friends. They are all first-timer walkers except for Jen, who walked in the Twin Cities 3-Day in 2010 with a friend whose mom died from breast cancer.

What brought their extended family to the Seattle 3-Day this year was the deeply personal motivation that brings so many people to the 3-Day: one of them got breast cancer. Sue was diagnosed last summer and just finished treatment this past August. As she got stronger in the spring, she started to get the idea of doing something. “Jen and I were on the phone once at work, and we thought, it’s coming up, we could do it. Let’s do it! So we signed up.”

Sue and Jen on Day 1 in Seattle.

Sue and Jen on Day 1 in Seattle.

They didn’t have much anxiety over walking 60 miles in 3 days, but the fundraising aspect made them a little nervous. Turns out, they didn’t have much to be nervous about; the 12-person Gargantuan Thrill Machine raised over $31,000, putting them in the top 10 fundraising teams in Seattle. “We all did our own things,” Jen told me. “Some people reached out on emails and texts. A couple of bake sales that our kids did.” Sue added with a laugh, “We did one bake sale with my kids at Shilshole Marina [in Seattle], and my 6-year-old daughter would run up to anybody who was walking down the docks and yell, ‘We’re having a fundraiser for breast cancer! We’re selling cookies!’ And then she would do the splits. Jen told us, don’t let the fundraising hold you back. People will support you. It will happen.”

Sue was the first person in the MacMenamin family to be diagnosed with breast cancer, so the family went from having no family history to suddenly having a very strong connection.

“Just from talking to the family, we’ve sort of never faced a type of stress that we couldn’t do anything about,” Jen said. “And so, the idea of this coming up was…everybody was so far away from Sue, and we all tried to be here, tried to be here, but there was nothing we could do for her. Treatment had to take its course. But the 3-Day felt like something that could focus our energy somewhere on something good.”

There was no hesitation from any of the MacMenamins to sign on, even though they are spread out over four states (and don’t forget Aunt Bea from Dublin). “It is remarkable. We’re incredibly, incredibly lucky, and I have been lucky this whole year.” Sue gets choked up and hugs her sister. “They’re really good.”IMG_8354

“The whole thing has been great,” Jen says. “It’s a beautiful walk, and everyone cheering, and all of us being together and having time to talk. That was one thing we were looking forward to. We’re all spread out, we each have kids, we don’t really get moments to get away and just be adults and chat and talk about life.”

Sue agrees. “For us, it’s a great way for all of us to be able to talk about our experience with breast cancer, for them to talk about it, and to talk about it in a positive way. All the people who are helping, all the research that’s being done, all the activism. It just helps to focus on the positive aspects.”

We talked about the whole idea of breast cancer awareness, and how it’s such a great thing, but also difficult, especially when it comes to our kids. “I know my kids worried about me dying,” Sue shared. “But they also see so many people that we call survivors. They see people, they know people. ‘Oh yeah, her mom’s a survivor, or his mom’s a survivor.’ It’s because there IS this presence, they see those examples.” Jen adds, “That’s one of the neat things about these types of events, the long walks of awareness, through all these neighborhoods. It’s a disruption of pink.”

A gargantuan disruption of pink—with an occasional pop of a green shamrock (they are Irish, after all).

On Day 2 of the Seattle 3-Day, when we had our conversation, I knew it may be too soon to tell, but I asked them anyway: do you think you’ll do it again? Sue thought about her answer for a second before responding, “I’d never say never, so who knows, but I will say that this time, this event has been so special that we just can’t recreate it.”