We typically run workshops for groups where people know each other – if not well, at least with passing familiarity within a department. In this case, the 35 people who joined us for a January Rescue Buddies™ workshop had never met before!
An Emergency Response Team Prepares
Program attendees were all healthcare professionals employed by St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, and the thing that brought them together was a willingness to volunteer for a specialized emergency response team. When activated during a significant outbreak of infectious illness, such as Ebola, they would work together on patient care. So they needed to trust each other with high-risk, high-pressure activities like donning hazmat suits.
Helping Ann Arbor, MI Kids With Rescue Buddies™
Rescue Buddies™ workshops feature the assembly of stuffed animals. They’re handed out to comfort children in crisis situations. Oftentimes, the Rescue Buddies™ are donated to area first responders, like police departments or fire departments. But in this case, the stuffed animals would be staying at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital where they could be placed in the hands of children arriving in emergency situations.
People assembled themselves into seven teams made up of five people each. Considering they’d never met before, everyone clearly connected well. Rescue Buddies™ features friendly competition among teams for the stuffed animal parts needed for assembly. The specialized games do double-duty as opportunities for fun and learning, too. Teams practice sharing resources and knowledge in order to meet common goals. It was great to see people support and encourage their teammates and other teams, too. They met each of the challenges and obstacles we gave them with optimism and a good attitude. By the end of the program, there was no mistaking that this was indeed a team.
Moment of Truth
By the end of the program, we had dozens of Rescue Buddies™, ready and waiting for any child at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital who needed one. As people stepped back and realized how much they accomplished that afternoon, a kind of hush settled over the group. It was a genuinely moving moment. Everyone understood that each of those Rescue Buddies™ represented a kid facing a genuine emergency, and that stuffed animal was a symbol of comfort. Hugs, gentle back-slaps, and soft conversation marked our wrap-up. Everyone understood that this teamwork activity was preparation for something serious. But the medical professionals who worked as part of this special response group at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital were ready.