Edwards’ Beachside Safari Team Building Day
Hours of Fun
Giving Back to Their Staff
It’s always an honor to partner with companies who strive in all they do to make a lasting difference in the world. We were contacted by Edwards Lifesciences to help them plan a big summer company picnic. Edwards Lifesciences is a leading medical innovator specializing in the heart, and they sure won ours when they came to us looking to plan their next department cookout.
The company has been leading the way in cardiovascular research since 1958 and has never stopped putting their patients and their employees first in all they do. They asked for our help arranging an employee-only picnic, with a focus on relaxation, fun, and team building. Together, we brainstormed on the perfect theme, and decided on none other than a Safari theme. We planned plenty of exciting field games and lots of one-of-a-kind experiences for their valued employees.
Safari at the Marina
September in California is still very much summer, unlike so many other parts of the country. The sun hasn’t yet lost its life-giving heat, and while that can be tricky to plan around, we always find a way. We scheduled this staff outing for the afternoon to beat the heat. By this time of day, the sun has dipped lower in the sky, and its heat is more welcome than not.
We like to arrive early, with plenty of time to make the magic happen. It’s important for us to be sure each little detail is accounted for, after all! Our guests were set to arrive at 2:00 that afternoon, and we arrived far ahead at 9:00 that morning. The hours preceding any staff picnic are bustling and busy, full of setting up and meeting with location staff and organizing each vendor.
For this company barbeque, we partnered with the amazing staff at Newport Dunes Resort & Marina in Newport Beach. They provided us with paddleboards and a volleyball net for that day, classic beachside activities for the employees to enjoy.
Food, Games, and Fun
It was to be an all adults, employee-only cookout. So, we brought in a serviced bar to mix drinks for our guests. After arriving at the location, we busied ourselves setting up the Safari décor.
We brought with us signage for the entrance, statues of wild animals, and lounge furniture decked with animal print pillows. We readied the picnic tables and adorned them with zebra print tablecloths and tropical centerpieces. Within no time, it was shaping up to be a Safari in our guests’ own backyard.
We’d worked with Edwards to cultivate the perfect menu for a Safari staff picnic. Our team grilled Teriyaki BBQ, Asian Tropical BBQ Chicken, and Veggie Burgers, as well as a wide variety of sides like Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. We wanted to make sure everyone at the company cookout found something they’d love to eat.
Let’s Go on a Safari!
Our preparations went smoothly, and everything was in place and perfect before the guests arrived. 300 total filed in at 2:00 sharp. They were greeted with our Safari signage and by a zebra-clad stilt walker who would later take photo ops with them. The smell of barbeque drifted through the air as they made their way to the registration booths, mingling with the salty scent of the marina. At the booths, they got their wristbands for the bar and grabbed branded fanny packs and animal print bandanas to wear.
There was no shortage of fun to partake in. Guests tried their hand at a game of Human Hungry Hungry Hippos. Laughter filled the air and colorful plastic balls flew from the game station. Yet others tried out the Boulder Throw game we’d brought. In this game, competitors go head-to-head, batting an inflatable boulder in the hopes of knocking their competition off their stands. We’d also brought in a ping pong table for our guests to enjoy.
Furry, Feathered, and Scaly Friends
At 3:00, our fun foods vendors opened their doors. We’d brought in a kettle corn machine as well as a donut truck, which offered both boozy and classic donut options. We also provided a Sno-Cone station for guests to grab a cool treat while they played games or lounged on the plush furniture. Meanwhile, our Henna artist opened their booth for guests to visit. They did some seriously amazing art, and pretty soon, guests were adorned with beautiful pieces.
We knew it couldn’t be a Safari themed employee appreciation day without animals. So, we brought in an amazing animal handler to give an educational show about a wide variety of animals. Our handler brought guinea pigs, chinchillas, hedgehogs, snakes, turtles, tarantulas, lizards, iguanas, and even more. We also brought in a parrot meet-and-greet, with several beautiful, brightly colored parrots for guests to snap pictures with. Guests had a blast learning about each species and giving each critter plenty of pats.
Memories to Last a Lifetime
Before the day was up, staff played a round of water balloon toss, then faced off with a game of Giant Cup Stack. By now, the sun was dipping low in the sky, and a faint chill began to touch the air. As the staff cookout wound to a close, guests got their pictures made with props, animals, and one another. We were happy to see that, what with the swag and photographs, everyone would have a keepsake from this day to look back on.
By 6:00, the guests made their way back to their cars. We, meanwhile, got to work on packing everything away and returning the resort to its natural state. Fondly, we remembered the smiles on our guests’ faces and the joyful sounds of laughter and cheers that had rung in our ears like music all day.
We felt like we’d done right by Edwards Lifesciences, that we’d given their treasured staff a wonderful and successful company barbeque. It’s always our utmost goal to give others the perfect day, and it’s what we’ve strived for these 35 years. As we packed the final decoration away, we looked back at the setting sun. It was a great day. Now it was on to the next.