By now, most of you have probably heard of the “escape rooms” offered in Sioux Falls and other places as a fun activity for families, friends, and co-workers. The premise? Get locked in a room with your nearest and dearest with a puzzle to solve before time runs out. I’ve wanted to try out this activity since I first started hearing about them, so when Life 96.5 announced they were giving away chances for non-profit organizations to participate in the mobile version of “The Escape Unit,” I registered the Orange City office in a heartbeat.
And we won!
Two short weeks later, our Community Living team sat outside The Escape Unit trailer, enjoying a delicious lunch courtesy of the Pita Pit (also part of the winning package) before it was our time to enter. We didn’t know what to expect because the puzzles for escape rooms vary; sometimes they involve reaching a distant object with only the tools you are given, decoding a cipher, determining the lock combination, or, as it turned out in our case, defusing a (make-believe) bomb.
Our mission, which we were happy to accept, was to get through all the clues to diffuse the explosive and save our town from destruction. Luckily, my group and I are no strangers to challenges, surprises, and problem-solving. We approached each task with enthusiasm, intelligence, and a sense of humor. Despite our best and brightest efforts, however, were ultimately unsuccessful in disarming the bomb in time (sorry, Orange City).
The larger lesson was obvious: the escape room reminded us what strengths we each brought to the team, how to lean on each other when needed, and how to laugh when the best efforts went awry. While it’s unfortunate we had to blow up our lovely hometown in the process, it was a great experience that helped us grow as a group—and one I would recommend to any organization or family looking to strengthen connections and have a little fun.
We ended the day with Culver’s ice cream (concrete mixers seemed appropriate).
Huge thanks to Life 96.5, Pita Pit, and Culver’s for a day none of us will soon forget. And, thankfully, the town of Orange City escaped unscathed.