We stepped back to study our creation. What moments before had been a pen and paper drawing, was now looking us in the face. Evan moved into position. Taylor flipped the switch, and our creation came to life. The Hugginator squeezed Evan’s head, stopping just short of uncomfortable. It was perfect. The machine had dispensed just the right dose of affection. Congratulations were exchanged. We had just invented the world’s first hugging robot. Or, at least, the first one ever made entirely of K’NEX with the name, “Hugginator.”
This is not a scene from some horrible science fiction story with a very strange moral about robot/human relationships. This is a scene taken from TAD training week. Designing and building a K’NEX invention was one of our team building exercises. “Training” at a lot of places means sitting in a room with a TV watching someone drone on about how to best deal with vomit at the workplace. Thankfully, that was not the case at TAD.
TAD’s talented team of mostly student employees embarked on a weeklong adventure that focused on identifying individual strengths, and bringing those strengths together into a team. Using the sophisticated Strength Finder 2.0 assessment test, and excellent guidance from Kijiji’s Michael McCleve, TAD employees grew together, and found out that they’re greatest strength was in being a part of such a devoted community.
Whether it was pitching and building a device made entirely of K’NEX or chasing a lost piggy bank (affectionately named Penny) around the darkest depths of JMU’s basements, TAD employees were always working together. In our training, we learned that one person can be strong, but a group of people working together can do anything!
Making a quick blogpost was part of TAD’s Amazing Race competition. Here is what TAD employees had to say (very quickly) about TAD training week:
“At the end of the day, one thing remains: we are all part of the small community of TAD- the small group of people with great potential and big hearts.” —Team 4
“To be honest, it feels like a lot of us have been friends forever!!!! We are so excited to be working together this year. For most of us, this is the last year at JMU, but we know it will be the best one yet.” —Team 3
“We loved meeting with Michael McCleve who showed us how to use the Strengths Finder test to realize our true potential and what we are really good at. It was very cool to put our strengths together as a group and to see what we can accomplish throughout the year working together.”—Team 1