Creating an Intentional Culture – Superman Style

Halloween started early at the Communities In Schools (CIS) central office because of a plan to bring staff together for a chance to bond. Once October rolled around, staff began to decorate the office using odds and ends and creativity that would have left Willy Wonka amazed. People decorated their office doors, cubicles, and copy rooms. The effect of the decorations was a synthesis of Halloween and Thanksgiving themed items that made Fall come alive. It took a while to decorate the whole office because people had to use whatever spare moments they could find, but the result was mesmerizing. Fall had come to CIS.

As Halloween drew closer, the administration team gathered to think of activities for staff and their children to do. Our Executive Director has emphasized the importance of a strong culture within the organization and so this Halloween event was planned with the goal of giving staff the chance to learn more about each other and their families (staff were allowed to bring their children and spouses to celebrate the special day)!

After a power-house brainstorming session, the administration decided to have a word search, scavenger hunt, cookie decorating station, happy monster hand creation (clear gloves filled with popcorn and candy corn), and magician. Once people had volunteered for various duties, we addressed perhaps the greatest challenge of the day. Would we be allowed to come in costume?

An intense debate raged for almost a minute before we decided that we could wear costumes to help celebrate the special day. My mind raced as I wracked my brain for what superhero I should come dressed as. After another minute of deliberation, I decided on superman.

Time passed during which we organized the events and prepared for the special day.

Halloween: October 31, 2016

            With my cape billowing behind me I strode confidently into work as only the man of steel could do. It was not long before I was set up by a tiny Iron Man, Hulk, Ninja Turtle, Batman, Cleopatra, Police Officer, Scooby-Doo, and Nemo. Many of the staff brought their kids into work to participate in the festivities. The day passed in a whirlwind of activity. Sweeping from one station to the next, I had the chance to visit with staff who are usually working in CMS schools, their spouses, and their children. I learned so much about the people that I work with on Halloween.

I dramatize the events of our Halloween extravaganza in order to hopefully give some insight into the amazing energy and passion with which everyone approached this project. The event gave me a chance to see colleagues outside of our normal work context, which was very special. This holiday gave us all the chance to make memories, which served as the basis for new friendships, and to invest in each other.

The culture at Communities In Schools is one of the strongest and most vibrant that I have ever seen. Everyone is so supportive, caring, and invested in each other. I believe that this event signals the incredible work that has been done to strengthen the culture at CIS. It becomes easy to devote yourself to an organization that devotes itself to you.

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