|“Go Ahead! Make My Sandwich!”|
|By Joe Bouchard|
The following is an installment in "Icebreakers 101: Hello, My Name is Problem", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.
Note: This icebreaker was created for the Department of Corrections EPIC committee. This group not only solved problems, it was fun.
An important part of this icebreaker is the concept of teamwork. Regarding teams, many will immediately concentrate on leadership. However, followership is infrequently assessed. Yet, considering this overlooked element of any team starts with assessing oneself.
I believe that knowing oneself is important in working well in a team. Those who do not recognize their strengths and weaknesses are less able to work optimally in a team setting. The components could bring down the whole if there is no self-familiarity.
Now ask yourself this: Is anyone hungry? Let’s talk about the universal topic – food.
Food is necessary. Food is love. Food is community. Food is the backdrop to conversation. Most of all, food is an identifiable element in all groups. Everyone can relate to food. Therefore, food is fodder for this exercise. Dare I say, this departure is food for thought.
This icebreaker’s purpose is to get people to personify a sandwich that they invent. Participants will use their own traits, good and bad, in the form of food to create this sandwich. This allows participants to look at how they may present themselves to others. This exercise works well just before lunch at a day-long meeting in anticipation of lunch.
I found it useful to solicit a volunteer for a judge. This person will grant the prize and/or bragging rights to the wining team.
The facilitator announces that participants have five minutes to come up with the following: Describe what a sandwich that bears your name would contain and why it fits your personality or your group’s personality.
Note: When creating your signature sandwich, the sandwich does not necessarily have to be delicious or even palatable. It simply must be a representation of the creators. For me I would answer:
The Joe Bouchard sandwich, a.k.a. the ‘Problem Child’ would feature:
The class is broken up into teams to design a signature sandwich that is just right for their team members. If there is one particularly strong personality, the team sandwich can be built on that individual’s qualities. When five minutes of brainstorming has passed, the facilitator asks for a volunteer to describe their creation with justification of the ingredients tied to the attributes of team members. The volunteer delivers the information then is told to select the next “volunteer” to reveal their signature sandwich. Repeat until lunch comes or everyone is rendered immobile and crabby due to hunger. At this time, the judge can render her or his decision. Consider the beauty of the sandwich. The importance of the combination cannot be overstated. Alone, each part of a sandwich is all but ordinary. Its combined components can be a meal as well as a tasty statement.
On 11/22/2016, I conducted this icebreaker for the first time in Mount Pleasant, Michigan at an EPIC meeting for the Michigan Department of Corrections. It was an excellent fledgling flight and I anticipate running this icebreaker for many years. Below you will find photos of this event and the three finished concept sandwiches. These entries were sent to a local sandwich ship for possible inclusion in their menu. Bon appetite, my friends!
And from left to right our two hosts and THE JUDGE (Kathy, Duncan and Robert). I note without reservation but with bona fide respect that our JUDGE is a veritable tower of integrity, channeling the judicial talents of King Solomon, and Judges Judy and Ito.
And now the three sandwich making teams…
The “All Inclusive” team is comprised of Wil, Pam, Brad, Brenda and Deb.
Team member Bob inspired the “Below Zero”
Team Melting Pot
Thanks to all of those from the 2016/2017 MDOC EPIC team. May all your sandwich making endeavors be rewarding and delicious!
Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014” and "Operation Icebreakers: Shooting for Excellence" among others. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.
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