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The company's annual Field Day event offers friendly competition and a focus on wellness

PMG PHOTO: STEPHANIE BASALYGA - R&H Construction employees compete in the tire pull, one of several activities that were part of the company's Field Day, an annual event designed to encourage and promote fitness and teamwork.For the fourth consecutive year, employees at R&H Construction braved the summer heat to participate in the company's Field Day, held at Lincoln High School.

The event on Friday, July 19, drew 45 participants who ran, jumped and sweated through a series of activities designed to encourage health and fitness while also offering a chance for employees to come together outside of their usual field and office environments.

While the emphasis of the two-hour event was on having fun and getting some exercise, there were still bragging rights at stake, according to Karen Sidlo, who leads the wellness committee team that organized the event. Employees, divided into teams of two, worked together to score as many points as possible at several different activity stations.

"We're a pretty competitive bunch people, so going up against another team was fun," Sidlo said. "It made you push yourself a little harder."

Since the Field Day tradition started, the event has grown in sophistication and employee involvement.

When Sidlo joined R&H nearly seven years ago as a human resources generalist, she was asked to take over the company's wellness program. She soon decided to create a committee to help with the program, a team that now includes Summer Carrillo, Stephanie Moulton, Mitch Smith and Jake Sly.

COURTESY: R&H CONSTRUCTION - Forty-five R&H Construction employees took part in the companys 2019 Field Day event, held July 19 at the Lincoln High School in Portland.

As the committee members were sitting around brainstorming one day, talk of holding a mini triathlon drifted toward reminiscing about the school field days they used to participate in when they were kids. Before too long, the committee was planning the company's first official Field Day event as a series of fun, simple activities such as a football toss and a hula-hoop competition.

Last year, the committee brought in Play.Fit.Fun to provide games for the Field Day event. While the company's main focus is on providing activities to help kids get active while boosting their confidence and self-esteem, it also offers team-building activities for corporate clients.

The programs that Play.Fit.Fun brought to the table added a new element to the R&H Field Day event, according to Sidlo. In addition to the usual goal of giving employees a chance to mingle while getting some exercise, many of the games encouraged — and even required — collaboration and communication.

"Our games were fun, but (Play.Fit.Fun) definitely takes the level up a bit," Sidlo said.

PMG PHOTO:STEPHANIE BASALYGA - This is the fourth year that New Avenues for Youth, a Portland nonprofit, has produced special tee-shirts for the R&H Field Day event.

This year, for example, Play.Fit.Fun returned with a game that required two-person teams to find specific colored bean bags hidden under plastic pails. One team member at a time walked among the buckets, finally selecting two and then peeking at the bean bags underneath to see if the colors matched. The other team member was allowed to shout out directions and encouragement.

Another repeat participant at this year's Field Day was New Avenues for Youth, which has produced T-shirts, each featuring a unique design, for all four years the event has been held.

Wellness year-round

The annual Field Day is just one way R&H makes good on a commitment to help employees embrace healthy lifestyles and find balance between life and work.

COURTESY: R&H CONSTRUCTION - Many of the Field Day events coordinated by a company called Play.Fit.Fun required collaboration and communication.

The company annually offers six or seven team building events that support exercise and learning, from white-water rafting and cooking classes to go-cart racing and trap shooting. Employees are the invited to sign up for a class that interests them.

"We have a lot of participation in those and ... you're getting a good mix of field and office (staff)," Sidlo said.

The company also supports a growing mindset in the building industry that safety and wellness don't just apply to physical well-being. Each year, the wellness committee picks a focus for the coming 12 months. This year, members chose mental health awareness, creating a series of events and activities around the topic. A flash challenge, for example, encouraged employees to take time out during a series of days to learn something new about mental health, from listening to a podcast to trying a meditation app.

In order to get as many employees as possible involved in company wellness activities, Sidlo and her fellow committee members are continually coming up with new ideas. However, some favorites tend to stick around.

"Each year we try to change it up a bit," Sidlo said. "But we keep the ones that are popular, like Field Day."

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