CBS may be the original proprietor of The Amazing Race reality TV show, but the Community Relations Department at BRS has redefined it as a fundamental team building series for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In the American competition show, teams of two race around the world in competition with other teams to complete challenges, solve clues and win the grand prize of one million dollars. The concept led Blue River Services COO Tammy Seitz to create the agency’s version as a friendly competition with clever challenges designed to capitalize and improve upon social, decision making, fine motor and problem solving skills while interacting with the community.
Now in its third year, the month-long race between the Corydon and Salem habilitation groups took place throughout October. The teams competed one day each week, receiving clues with information leading them to the destination of their next challenge. The goal was to complete the challenges in the least amount of time without incurring any penalties.
The teams made their way to the administration building to take a picture with CEO Daniel J. Lowe for the first clue. Teamwork was key in the next challenge popping a bag full of balloons while wearing oven mitts then piecing together the letters inside to spell out the location of their next stop. Another day, a challenging selfie scavenger hunt led the groups across the county to pose with local celebrities and 19 other items on the list.
One of the favorite challenges included a visit to Salem Industries where each group had to find a smiley face at the bottom of a container. The best way to reach the bottom? Eat M&Ms! After eating their way to success in this challenge, it was time to prepare for the final day of the race.
On a dramatic final day of seven challenges, the Corydon team narrowly won, reclaiming bragging rights and a trophy from Salem’s win last year.
“This event has grown in both size and popularity,” said Seitz. “Several of the consumers have asked if we can do this activity every month! They really enjoyed and benefitted from interaction with their peers, community members and Blue River staff.”
As the Corydon team celebrated their win, the Salem team was already looking ahead to next year’s race. “We will get you next time,” they said.