Today I helped provide team building for an amazing group of young people. Times have been rough. Meals missed. Warm socks a blessing. Shelter questionable at times. What one considers basic necessities not always available. Family members struggling with mental illness. Perhaps some of them struggling with similar illnesses. The everyday cares of this world could very well cloud a day and understandably darken a team building. It didn’t. What was amazing was the response and attitude of these young people. When they began the activity they were asked to write a single word to describe their feelings. “Excited.” “Good.” “Happy.” “Weird.” “Excited.” “Content.” “Excited.” “Lucky.” “Excited.” “Happy.” Positive words. Lots of excitement. As the painting continued, the theme expanded with colorful, bright images. Flowers grew. Butterflies flew. Sunshine burst. Clowns smiled. More words were added. “Love.” “Laugh.” “Live.” “Life.” “Sparkly.” “Inspire greatness.” In a world that could be dark, they found light, color and positive words and images. And they passed it on through a beautiful mural.

How does this apply to team building in general? Statistics would say that in any given team, similar issues exist. Look at the first number of lines of this article. Given these times, finances are tight. Jobs may be tenuous. Illness may not be visible. Stress of the season may be taking its toll. The people you come in contact with through team building, management or leadership may be dealing with difficult issues. Unless they let you in to their struggles, you may never know it. Being aware and reminding ourselves that we may be dealing with hurting people can help us be compassionate and understanding. Providing a venue for creativity and expression not only allows an outlet, but also brings a camaraderie and togetherness to a group. It can bind them together, giving them a place of belonging. It can help them find light and positivity where darkness may want to overtake. Look for the light, the color and brightness of members. If they can’t see it, help them find it. Encourage it. Set the tone. Being positive and upbeat, welcoming and warm will go a long way in keeping a group in that same positive aura. But don’t be surprised when they set the tone themselves or among themselves. If they are anything like the group of young people I met today, they will make your heart grow, cause hope to spring within and leave you grateful for the lessons learned. And then it’s your turn to pass it on.  

Collaborative painting is an extraordinary experience, meeting people where they are and allowing them to express themselves in that moment. Explore our website further on how to bring collaborate art to your team, your clients or your family.