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The Prize Inside

Ever had a single event, even a seemingly innocuous event, change your perspective until you see things with an enlightened view? I have. I’ll tell you all about it.

On December 1, the DAW Winter Wonderland monthly festival of contests, food, fun and prizes began. (Management created this month of fun in lieu of a holiday party due to the state of the world.)
The first contest put forth by the committee was an office-wide decorating contest, pitting the departments against each other. We had two weeks and a $50 stipend to spend on materials. Our Adult Department chose Candy Land as our theme. It’s secular, fun and cheerful so it checked all the right boxes for us. Right away, we got to work.

The crafters in the group took the lead. Patty was the first. She brought in these adorable paper lollipops she made. Her creations set the tone. We were all excited to create! We immediately began churning out lollipops, balloon candies and cardboard peppermint sticks. We Googled the board game for ideas. We scoured Pinterest for DIY candy crafts. We clicked on Amazon with reckless abandon.

While Kim was drawing and coloring the large playing pieces and the Welcome sign, Julie was starting the balloon arch and the playing board. Tyler popped in whenever she had a cancellation to wrap the framed art with candy wrapping paper. Nancy and Tiah provided window decals and candy canes of all sizes for the Peppermint Forest.

Pam and Tara both asked, “What can I do?” The answer? A lot! Tara blew up countless balloons. Pam created a gorgeous candy signpost. Nicole and Shauna provided all the lights and icicles. Judy ordered the mural on Amazon.

Janine was the super shopper, rounded up supplies on more than one occasion. Jess was a utility player, wrapping, securing and hanging any and all decorations that crossed her path. Neena, despite only being on the schedule one day a week, contributed candy cane window decorations for the team. Nicole R. turned her operatory into A Gingerbread House INTERIOR.

If you’re keeping score, that’s fifteen different people joining in the effort. That’s more than 80% participation by our department! We did all of this while providing quality patient care.

At one point during the two-week process, someone came in to our “craft room” (an unused operatory) full of various supplies and muttered, “Too much.” We, the Candy Land creators, opt for a different term: “So much.” So much participation, so much collaboration. So much creativity. So much laughter. So much FUN.

The crux of it all? We knew that no prize they awarded would compare to the awesome time we had working together. It wasn’t really a competition between departments. It was a challenge for ourselves. We had to stay, motivated, stay on task, stay inclusive and stay positive. We felt that we not only met the challenge; we exceeded it.

Before the judging had begun, we were already winners.

By Maureen Lake, Dental Assistant & Candy Land Architect

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