Published September 2017
Have you ever wondered where team building companies get their activities from? How do they come up with the themes for their events, and how do they create the large-scale puzzles and challenges you see on team away days?
Unlike a lot of other events companies who buy in their equipment, we build all of our own team building activities ourselves. We have our own workshop and resident handyman ready to turn our ideas into unique and exiting new team challenges. So for today’s article we thought we’d share the story of how a trip to the South of France inspired our popular Construct a Catapult game.
About 8 years ago whilst on holiday in the heart of France our director Ben visited a medieval castle that used to be the scene of many an ill-tempered dispute between the French and English. It was a very interesting place but the thing that really caught his eye was the collection of giant siege engines on display outside the castle walls. One of these was demonstrated for the tourists who were all eager to see how far a Trebuchet Catapult could throw a poor unsuspecting melon. This gave Ben an idea – Perhaps we could make a version of these for our team building events?
Once he returned home he set to work on the design. By reviewing pictures he had taken on the trip he was able to work out the dimensions of this enormous siege engine and scale it down to about 2 meters in height. The next week he started construction with our joiner at the workshop and soon the catapult took shape.
By the end of the fifth day we were ready and eager to see if it worked. The boys lined up the catapult down the driveway and, lacking a castle, settled for a large bin as the target. Fresh out of watermelons they loaded up a large beetroot kindly donated from the farm next door. Not quite knowing what to expect Ben pulled the pin and the weapon fired sending the beetroot flying over the bins, the wall and about 40 meters into the neighboring yard where it crashed into an ornamental pond and gave two swans the fright of their life. Perfect! Exclaimed Ben, and over the next two weeks they built 6 more catapults as well as a castle and other targets.
By the time they were finished our new activity ‘Construct a Catapult’ was ready for use. Since then this activity has been used by hundreds of clients at venues all over the UK. In small teams our delegates are given the challenge of building, aiming and firing these weapons at a giant Castle target located 40 meters away. It remains a firm favourite with our corporate clients and a great way to engage staff with a unique and competitive challenge.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so its no surprise that many other events companies have tried (and failed) to copy our catapult design. The exact dimensions will have to remain a trade secret but Ben would suggest to anyone trying that replacing the beetroot with a large rubber ball is a good start!
If you'd like to book a team building event with us, or fancy trying your hand at our construct a catapult challenge as part of a medieval fun team away day, then get in touch, we'd love to help you plan your next event.