Power of Play

Jordan Hardy- Senior Consultant

Last Friday, some members of our Minneapolis crew stepped back to the playground to play one of our favorite recess games: Kickball! We took to the fields in Northeast Minneapolis along with 13 other teams from other companies around the Twin Cites in hopes of bringing home the Regional Kickball Trophy at the Playworks Annual Corporate Kickball Tournament! The best news is that even if we were less successful than other teams and didn’t bring home the coveted trophy, we were simultaneously raising funds that support healthy, inclusive, respectful and developmental play for over 7,000 children in 14 Twin Cities metro area schools.

At Twelve, one of our passions outside of connected business planning is connecting with our community through different organizations whose core values align with our own. One of these organizations is Playworks. Over the past year, we have been privileged to partner with them through donating recess equipment, participating in their annual Soirée for Play, and playing alongside some of the Playworks kids at a local elementary school. Most recently, we raised funds for and participated in their Annual Kickball Tournament. To say we had a blast at this event would be a complete understatement (as would be to say that we were all incredibly sore all weekend)!

The afternoon started with an overview of the kickball rules in order to ensure the culture was set for fair play, which is a key platform of Playworks. With the rules set, we were set to begin 4 games of round robin play. Each game started with a friendly game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the more successful player deciding if his/her team would start in the field or ‘at bat’. Rock-paper-scissors is a problem solving technique regularly utilized by Playwork’s kids so that they can own their games by quickly resolving playground disputes in a friendly manner. With starting positions determined, it was game on! No matter the outcome of every game, all teams were cheering and high fiving throughout and never left the field without congratulating the other team on for a “good game” with a high five.

As the evening ensued and we progressed from the preliminary games to the final bracket games, our Twelve team grew together in collaboration, communication, and teamwork. We learned through a seemingly juvenile playground game that maintaining a positive culture, constantly communicating, and having each other’s back were the keys to success not only on the field but in our daily lives as well. This is what I find so awesome about Playworks — they are teaching kids games that not only help their physical and mental well-being but are paramount for growth in inclusion, respect, collaboration, communication, and so much more. These lessons learned as a result of games go far beyond recess to improve students’ focus and participation in academics as well as serve as valuable life skills that will take will take them so far.

We ended up placing second in the tournament, but the lessons we learned and our connection with Playworks are far more valuable than the Regional Kickball Trophy. It is safe to say that we will be back next year, but until then, we will be referencing the Playworks ‘Games Library’ for team-building and engaging games or icebreakers!

Check out the Power of Play in ACTION: https://vimeo.com/222853443

Not pictured in the video: our MVP videographer Max Jagodzinski.

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