Cardboard boats sound about as useful as paper hats in the rain. But imagination, teamwork, and upcycling resulted in a lively Sixth Annual Cardboard Boat Race at Meridian Village, a Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) Life Plan Community in Glen Carbon, Illinois.
“I wanted to coordinate the efforts of the newly developing recycling program here with a fun competition,” said Dawn Determan, Director of Community Wellness at Meridian Village. The cardboard boats are constructed out of cardboard boxes that the recycling program at Meridian Village collects.
The race is held annually at the Meridian Village indoor pool where residents and team members create and pilot their race boats. To ensure the safety of residents and team members, there are a couple simple rules for the races: the boats must be cardboard, they cannot have sharp edges or dangerous parts, and cannot contain substances like glitter as it can get into the pool filtration system and cause blockage. “The Housekeeping team provides safety in the pool by providing team members in the water to ensure the boats go down the middle and observe for any tipping or struggles,” Determan said.
Anyone at Meridian Village can participate in the races and join the fun. “Residents, staff, families of residents or staff, volunteers … we are happy to have all the help with this project,” Determan said.
New this year was a Mini Boat category for those who do not have the space to build and store a larger cardboard boat. Mini Boats are any boat too small for a person to ride in, such as a shoe box.
Boat building is a terrific opportunity for team building. “While we see lots of friendly competition, we also enjoy the brainstorming and teamwork that brings an amazing craft to the water,” Determan said.
The Housekeeping Department won the speed boat category. Determan said, “This year, their Yellow Submarine came with a Beatles theme that propelled them to victory!”
The Maintenance Department made a prototype of a paddle boat, and the Lifestyle Enrichment team had a “Power Build” session to make as many boats as possible in a three-hour span. The Wellness team worked with a Meridian Village volunteer who helped make “Noah’s Ark.” Together the residents and team members of Willow Way built the “Maui Wowie,” which was piloted by a Care Center resident. Memory Care also got involved and built a Mini Boat pirate ship that was piloted by the entire building.
Check out the photos of this year’s races and stay tuned for the next one!