Teaming with JAFCO….

Teaming with JAFCO….

ScentsAbility hosted a very special team building event last week as eight members of JAFCO’s development team joined our crew at the Shoppe.

They were here not only to hone their team building skills, but also to participate in hands-on tasks which would provide first-hand experience working with, accommodating, and learning from individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  Just a few years ago JAFCO opened its Children’s Ability Center in Sunrise to service children with IDD, so our guests were eager to interact with our chandlers.

Lexy and Jessica prepare scent rock samples and flyers for our guests.

Their experience began with a simple job:  putting on their aprons.  Our crew quickly donned theirs and then assisted the visitors who were not quite sure whether to tie the strings in front or back or how to adjust the neck strap.  Our kids are pros at this — and so began the fascinating experience of this blurring of who was teaching whom.

Our guests put on their aprons as instructed by our crew.

As we assembled around the pouring table, crew paired with visitors, Bonnie, our director, explained that we were in the process of completing an order for a private label, and the already poured Bali Spa scented candles needed to be cleaned, labeled and packed.   So the kids began to show the JAFCO group the process, at first working in pairs which soon became small, even competitive, groups.  I’m not sure whether our chandlers or our visitors were more proud of a properly cleaned tin with a perfectly centered label.

Chandlers and JAFCO guests exemplify teamwork, learning how to effectively clean and label tins.

But that really doesn’t matter — because I soon noticed that the group who came to team build was forming new teams, blending with our crew as well as each other.  In the midst of the cheerful chatter, I heard phrases of “we’re teaming,” “I’m nervous,” “let’s brainstorm,” “can you help me,” “what’s next,” “look what I did,” “good job,” and “gotta help my friend over here.”

Kim and Michael share their hand sanitizer expertise with Ariel and Janet.

One of my favorite comments was from Janet who stated, “I just burn them…” but, like the others, she soon realized there was far more involved in candle-making than most would think.

Deena, Tara, Shanna and Jessica work with Bonnie on choosing and mixing scents for their rollerballs.

There were more experiences awaiting our guests, including wicking some votive glasses, bottling essential oils and pouring hand sanitizer, but no matter the task, the upbeat mood,  bonding, and motivation of all involved kept growing.  When one of our chandlers, Khari, moved away from the table to demonstrate our new wicking tool which accommodates his disability, his JAFCO teammate Shelli rather jokingly pleaded, “You can’t abandon us, we’re learning to wick.”   To which our always calm Khari responded, “Patience, my Friend.”

When things get a big hectic, we always rely on Khari, aka ‘Mister'” to remind us to be patient.

And so what began as a team building activity for JAFCO, became so much more than any of us expected.  Because they had other commitments that afternoon, the experience ended all too soon,  but as they left with bags of candles to use and share, one visitor summed up the experience perfectly:  “Best day at work…ever!”


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