Fourteen members of Upper Iowa University's Fayette campus Facilities and Management Services team had the unique opportunity recently to break out of their comfort zone and give back in a big way.
The team traveled to Thunder Rode Therapeutic Riding north of Decorah, Iowa. Tricia Pugh, Facilities Management and Services assistant, was looking for a team building exercise that would also allow the Facilities crew on the Fayette campus to interact with different members in the department while performing a service for a well-deserving organization.
Pugh turned to Cody Jones, assistant director of Residence Life and Civic Engagement, to find an organization that would benefit from the team's expertise, as well as help them engage in effectively working together and getting to know one another.
Jones spoke with Michelle McClain-Kruse, executive director of Thunder Rode, and explained what the Upper Iowa Facilities team wanted to do. McClain-Kruse was excited to have the UIU group. She had scheduled some upcoming events and wasn't quite sure if she would be ready. With the Facilities team's help, the farm was looking great and Thunder Rode was ready to continue its mission.
Thunder Rode is a non-profit organization that provides confidence building and rehabilitative training to individuals of all ages with special needs within the aspects of the equine industry. Participants interact with the horses, learn and have fun.
In just two hours, the Facilities crew cleared sticks and scrub trees from the farmyard at Thunder Rode, as well as led horses, hauled wood, cleaned and polished saddles and overall, "had a blast!" said Pugh.
"Facilities members who don't normally work together on a daily basis, got the chance to meet and work with each other," she added. "While we're a small department, oftentimes we're segregated on campus due to our specific duties."
Pugh said she hopes the team-building exercise will continue in the coming years. "It was such a positive experience for everyone involved," she said. "We all wished we could have stayed longer. It really was a great experience, both for Thunder Rode and for us."
Participating in the event were Facilities Management and Services staff members Robin Vinson, Leif White, Sheila Noska, Mark Myers, Dan Volker, Becky Conner, Teressa Woltzen, Diane Michael, Konnie Olson, Donna Wenthe, Penny Fink, Carol Langerman-Aten, Kim Knapp and Pugh.
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