Tuesday 11 July 2017

Amazing Race 2017!

Each year our summer internship kicks off with a three day Amazing Race, based on the TV show by the same name. Teams are put in teams, generally the teams they'll be serving in all summer, and are given clues that take them all over the place to complete challenges. The race is a lot of work to organise (there are people who work on it all year, alongside other responsibilities) and run but it is so rewarding. 

And it's rewarding because it accomplishes what we need and want it to - we bring together people who are usually total strangers and we need them to bond and come together as teams really quickly. The Amazing Race gives them the opportunity to do that as they create shared memories and learn how to celebrate each others' strengths and protect weaknesses. People learn how to push themselves and each other - through hard tasks, and conflict. And they learn to celebrate one another as they conquer tasks.

We debrief the Amazing Race at Intern Training, after it's all finished and people have showered and slept. Teams get to talk through what they learnt about themselves and each other and what they want to be true of their summers in light of that. The Amazing Race is just the start of a summer spent serving local churches throughout central and eastern Europe, so it's wonderful to see teams loving one another well and bonded because of the race.

This year we had one hundred and five interns running, plus staff who led a lot of the teams. You can see all the photos below of most of the tasks to get a sense of the race - we landed and finished in Prague, with a little day trip on the second day.

The teams reading their first clue - it told them to go to a statue of a famous reformer, Jan Hus!

Pretty much that entire line is our interns (one per team) queuing to get transport tickets.

The statue they were looking for - on Old Town Square.

The task here was a scavenger hunt - teams were given a lot of photos of details on buildings which they had to find, plus some tasks to complete and record.

The next clue told them to go to the statue of the dead horse - easier said than done (I struggled to find it even thought I knew where it was) and there they had to memorise a bible verse in Czech and find a stranger to translate it for them.

At the next spot they had to locate the bible verse that had just been translated for them - "I have come that they may have life and life to the full". Some teams knew it right away, and others had to search a little.

One of the tasks during the scavenger hunt was to find someone to tell you one of three Czech fairytales. The last task of the night was to reenact the fairytale you were told, as a musical with costumes. It was pretty funny! And sadly some strangers hadn't given enough information for teams to tell the full story, so they had to find another person to give them more details.

It was a beautiful spot to watch a lot of teams perform musicals!

The next morning teams had to recite the JV core values, with each core value earning them one puzzle piece to a photo not unlike the one below. Teams had to figure out where the castle, KarlĹĄtejn, was and head there. On the train teams were given a mini devotion and an outline for praying for one another.

It was quite the hike to the castle! But absolutely beautiful.

After a task at the castle (to find our "Wally/Waldo" in the village - yes, we had a helper dressed up in a red and white striped shirt) teams entered the forest where most of the rest of the tasks for the day were. The theme for the day was that they were in the resistance during the Second World War - a secondary aim of the Race was to expose teams to some religious, cultural and historical elements of Czech, as that would help them understand central and eastern Europe more.

First they had to create some team war paint and then one member had to run along a path with two paintball-gun-wielding helpers standing guard to retrieve a clue. For every hit they received, teams had to wait five minutes before continuing.

After hiking through more of the forest teams had to construct a tent, although only one of team members could see and talk. The rest were blindfolded and were obeying the speaker's instructions. An excellent task in learning communication! 

After more hiking through the forest there was a physical challenge as teams had to carry a teammate around a big circular area, one time for the number of teammates they had.

A sudoku held the clue for the village they were heading for.

A beautiful location to do a sudoku in!

And a beautiful walk to the village (as you can see - I walked/ran the entire route the interns did that day - I think I did more than 22,000 steps! And I had the benefit that I knew where I was going, and could speak Czech to ask for help if I needed to.)

From the village interns caught a bus to Prague where there was just one more station - and the most dreaded of them all. Teams got to spin the wheel of doom and that revealed what delight they had to eat. 

Team Bulgaria enjoying their choice.. with some bags in case they threw up.

On the last day teams had a lot of challenges around Prague Castle - here they are memorising facts about a different JV missionary from each of our thirteen countries. Later they would have to match missionaries to their country and say one fact per person.

Teams also had to paint a communist poster that focused on teamwork. Also that day they had to complete a physical challenge involving a lot of squats, burpees and pushups, and creating a team pyramid. Teams also had another time of prayer overlooking the city.

On the last day I was mostly sitting at the finish line at the top of Wenceslas Square. Teams arrived at the bottom and had to carry an egg on a spoon to me at the top and that was them finished! The winners were the International Edge Sports team - they won each day (which has never happened before) and are the first all guy team to win! It was a lot of fun to watch them tackle each challenge with determination before running to the next one!

Second place went to the Czech Edge Sports team! Another team that ran a lot!

And third place was Czech BenBarr. 

It was so fun to celebrate each team as they crossed the finish line! Then I just had the small task of co-ordinating getting over one hundred and fifty people on the correct train, when the platform wasn't even called ten minutes before the departure time. 

Thankfully we made it! The conductor was lovely, and thought the sight of one hundred and fifty very tired people getting on a train was hilarious. It was good to get everyone on the train and begin our four hour journey to Ostrava, and then our conference centre at Malenovice to shower and sleep (and we definitely needed both of those things - you could smell us on the train!) before Intern Training began the next day.

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