Monday, February 28, 2011

CPA Ski Day: A Great Team Building Event

What happens when you throw your staff into a dangerous winter sport for the benefit of the greater community? Team building, bonding, cooperation, enthusiasm, and laughter.

Every February we invite our staff and their significant others to join us at the CPA Ski Day (Canadian Paraplegic Association). It's a surprisingly popular event considering that only the owners are regular skiers.

Months before the big event we retell stories from last year's CPA Ski Day. Like the time that Ryan's wife fell on top of the boss's son while getting off a chairlift. Or when Joanne froze at the top of a blue run and got yelled at by a stranger. Or that horrible cross country trek we endured while trying to find a green run called the Northwest Passage, and Lorraine towed Ryan with her ski pole.

In spite of these past traumas, our staff was totally stoked about participating in this year's CPA 2011 Ski and Snowboard Day. Joanne and Michelle enrolled in ski lessons and gave us regular reports on their progress. We planned our outfits. We planned our après ski dinner.

Bottom line: Participating in the CPA ski day is more than a one day event. It's an event that brings us together for the entire winter. Why is it so compelling for all of us?

  1. It feels great to support CPA Ontario with their Track 3 Ski program. It is so beautiful to see the Track 3 volunteers give people with disabilities the chance to ski. Check out these amazing pictures of the 2011 CPA Ski Day.
  2. Skiing is dangerous, but not too dangerous. And it's super fun. That makes for lots of entertaining stories. It also gives us lots of opportunities to bond and help each other out.
  3. Skiing is social. Even if you're not a skier, it's really fun to sit in the ski lodge, share a beer and onion rings and have some laughs.
  4. It’s really fun to learn a new skill. Participants in the CPA Ski Day get free rentals, a lesson, lunch and delicious après ski snacks. They also get to ski at Craigleith, one of the best private ski clubs in Ontario.
I want to thank Donna Ha who encouraged us to go to our first CPA Ski Day about 5 years ago. Donna uses a wheelchair and worked for CPA Ontario before joining our staff. The first CPA Ski Day we participated in occurred during one of the worst snow storms of the season. I drove Donna up to Craigleith in whiteout conditions. When we finally arrived we were greeted by a warm buffet lunch and caring colleagues. Donna even got to ski that afternoon.

I also want to thank CPA Ontario and their key sponsor The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company for hosting this amazing event and for supporting the Track 3 Ski program.

And of course I want to thank our amazing staff for embracing this event and making it so much fun. Now we are all brainstorming ideas for a community outreach activity where our staff could volunteer weekly for a few hours.

Do you have any suggestions for a volunteer program our staff could participate in? Do you have any teambuilding events that you recommend?

Laura Upcott
Stafflink Solutions Ltd.

1 comment:

  1. I received this response from a representative of the Disabled Sailing Association of Canada ( in the Toronto Queens Quay.

    Hello, Laura:

    I’m Ann Kennedy, the CPA Ontario membership coordinator and I was just reading your blog on our Ski and Snowboard Day (unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend) which was forwarded to all staff by our Communications Coordinator. I just wanted to tell you about the Disabled Sailing Association Ontario and its Queen’s Quay Disabled Sailing Program. I’m on the board of directors as well as a sailor myself, and we have lots of opportunities for people to come out and help on the docks, with social events, as sailing companions…and we’re centrally located on Toronto Harbour, directly south of the Rogers Centre. Our season opens May 7th this year and goes through the middle of September. For more information, please visit I think your staff would have a blast!