When It's Time to Escape

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Red, yellow, green, blue: Look around to find your clues ...

It's January. It's typically dreary—the month when the sky, pavement and landscape seem to share an ominous dull-grey hue. Thus it would make sense that when you read the headline, you surmised this would be about sunny getaways or mad snow sport adventures.

You would be incorrect.

I refer to an escape in downtown Grand Rapids; an escape amidst an enormous building I passed by for years while wondering what mysteries it held. I refer to the Great Escape Room, tucked away in the Masonic Temple on Fulton Street. This, too, holds mysteries. And it's up to those participating in this real-life escape room game to solve them.

The lock slides into place behind you. A clock minds the minutes as you and your team spend an hour trying to break out of your confines, relying on your wits and a series of clues and puzzles that lead you to an exit—or not. Are you wily enough to crack the codes? Are the right people on the right tasks—those that play upon and to their strengths?

The Serendipity Media team experienced the Great Escape Room as a prelude to our annual company retreat. A test of clever early in the morning was an interesting start to the day, and everyone had a chance to be—and needed to be—involved. The more competitive members of our group enjoyed working with others toward a common goal: that great escape. This was a new, different team-building angle—one that highlighted teamwork in garnering results, as well as creating camaraderie.

Multiple people were needed to solve the challenges. Teams broke off into smaller groups, tackling one piece of the puzzle at a time: As needed, individuals went to a different group where their talents were better suited—or as a clue was unraveled.

Creativity was needed. Patience was a virtue, despite a running clock. Little was evident from the start ... beyond the realization that everyone would play a part in this game.

Written by Amy L Charles, editorial director for West Michigan Woman and Serendipity Media. She found some clues and pieces of the game came quickly, while others escaped her ...


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