The STEAM Factory and five other local organizations recently teamed up and took second place at the 2013 Columbus Asian Festival’s Dragon Boat Race.
Members of the Franklinton Development Association, 400 West Rich, COSI, Columbus Idea Foundry, Civitas Now and The STEAM Factory all shared a spot in the boat as well as a spot in the boat name; The Franklinton 400 CCC STEAMboat.
The race took place over Memorial Day weekend and the team, united by the common interest of supporting the Franklinton neighborhood, was eager to set off down the Scioto River.
But the goal of the outing was not to win the race, it was an opportunity for the group to get to know each other and build on working and social relationships through a team-building activity.
Team member and The Steam Factory representative, Susan Gershman was the first to sign up for the team.
“Before participating in the Dragon Boat race, I did not realize that being synchronized as a team was actually more important than brute strength, youth or stamina,” Gershman said. “It was exciting to be on the river working hard as a team and meeting new people who share overlapping goals and interests.”
Kathleen Harkin, team member and The Ohio State University’s P12 Initiative, whom also sponsored the boat, acted as the drummer for the race.
“Being the drummer was a bit terrifying as we were gaining speed during the race but it was awesome in so many ways,” Harkin said. “What started as a very cold and rainy morning turned into a wonderful sunny afternoon where we met new people and learned more about their work.”
Matthew Barnes, team member and CivitasNow representative, experienced a day full of laughs and handshakes.
“I think the race really solidified relationships and helped spawn some new ones,” Barnes said. “Our team had an amazing time and I would love to do it again next year.”
Alex Bandar, team member and Columbus Idea Foundry representative, said that even though the different groups would have worked together in the future, the race was a way for them to bond on a personal level.
“The face-to-face meeting and shoulder-to-shoulder competitive rowing among the teammates accelerated our friendships and will have an enormously positive impact on our future collaborations,” Bandar said. “We can’t wait until we partner on our next venture, be it an educational class, an outreach event, a creative enterprise or another Dragon Boat race.”