Last week participants, parents, UI staff and AB members gathered for the much-anticipated annual UI Associate Board Pizza Party at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Now in its sixth year, this year’s Pizza Party was one of the best yet, with an attendance of almost 100 people, including a great group of UI participants and coaches from Gunsaulus, Morton and Beidler Elementary schools.
Every year, we look forward to this event as a way for the UI staff, Associate Board and participants to genuinely connect and get to know each other through an evening of games, team building exercises, and, of course, pizza. And this year was no different! Participants started out the evening by taking a peek at Kirkland & Ellis’ beautiful terrace that overlooks the river, playing some quick warm up games, and of course, eating pizza! After a tasty pizza dinner, the real games began…
The first event of the night was a take on Hungry Hungry Hippos, with groups forming a circle and working together to collect objects from the center. Participants were separated into four teams, and everyone was able to interact and make new connections with their teammates. It started off the games with a lot of smiles and encouragement between team members!
Next was a building activity where teams were tasked with constructing a bridge out of household objects like straws, tape and paper clips. Teams had to work together and put their creativity to the test to see who could build the strongest, tallest and longest bridge. Students and adults alike loved testing different structures, and team members got to show their individual strengths and personalities.
The last activity was Silent Speedball, a large-group game of catch where players had to stay totally silent. Despite this, it was one of the funnier games of the night with players faking each other out as they tossed the ball, and lots of laughs as everyone tried to stay quiet.
At the end of the night, everyone was tired from a full evening of activities, but got together for one last group photo and left with smiles on their faces. Overall, we got to see connections being made between students and board members, sparking friendships and learning lessons about teamwork. One of the best things that volunteers and staff get to see is participants who are shy or may not be interacting with peers from other schools at the beginning of the evening ultimately open up, work together with their team, and make friends with other students and our Associate Board volunteers by the end of the night.
Huge thanks to all of our UI program participants, school staff, volunteers, and especially our hosts Kirkland & Ellis for making this year’s pizza party so amazing. We can’t wait for next year, and we hope to see you all there!