Play is an amazing thing that can spark creativity, curiosity, and teamwork. It is also a fun and effective vehicle for learning. At the end of September, Strong Cincinnati, in partnership with Play Library and the Strong Strides project, used play to activate the strengths of the Madisonville community at the neighborhood’s first ever strengths scavenger hunt! Over 60 neighbors came together to explore the strengths of their neighborhood, neighbors and themselves in this community-wide event.
The idea for a strengths scavenger hunt came from the Strong Strides project team that came together to create student-designed strength flags and paint neighborhood sidewalks to spread positivity throughout Madisonville. The team wanted to build positive momentum in the community by using their strengths flags to mark activity spots in a scavenger hunt. Strong Cincinnati helped identify those scavenger hunt spots through a 6-month effort to identify and map Madisonville’s strengths across the neighborhood. This community-created map was used to identify places that neighbors believe represented one of the 24 character strengths and populate a scavenger hunt map. After selecting twelve locations, Strong Cincinnati partnered with Play Library, an organization that encourages play and positive family interaction, to develop playful activities that combined two strengths for each scavenger hunt stop. There was so much interest from Madisonville businesses and organizations, that the scavenger hunt was expanded to include an outdoor event at the Little Duck Creek Trail and story building at Tap & Screw Brewery, resulting in two scavenger hunt bonus stops.
Starting as an idea from Madisonville residents, the implementation of the scavenger hunt was also rooted in the community. Facilitators for each stop were local business employees, residents, or community volunteers. These community facilitators helped eleven teams navigate the scavenger hunt, providing instructions to strengths activities and building awareness of the strengths in each individual.
The scavenger hunt was certainly a fun and energy filled day, but it was also an opportunity to see all of Madisonville’s strengths on display. Neighbors used teamwork and bravery to complete challenge activities, activated their creativity and zest in team costumes, showed leadership and perseverance as they worked through each stop in 90 degree weather, and pulled on many, many more strengths to complete the scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt also exposed a broad audience of Madisonvillians to the concept of strengths with the opportunity to explore these ideas through playful activities. There is certainly a time and place for traditional instruction, but often the best learning happens when you are having fun!
Check out photos from this awesome event on our Facebook page.