Joe McHugh Storyteller, Writer, Audiographer and Philosopher
© copyright 2007
A Sharing of Stories

Organizations are made up people who have within them an assortment of stories drawn from each person's experiences and relationships within the group. These stories represent the collective myth of the organization and can help impart to its members a deeper sense of meaning and shared purpose. Joe McHugh has spent years recording people telling these kinds of stories. What inspired or led you to do this kind of work? What specific incidents over the years stand out in your mind as emotionally significant or taught you an important lesson? Even the sharing of personal family stories can build stronger bonds between people who work together because they spring from our common humanity and shed light upon the forces and twists of fate that help make us who we are.

Joe McHugh leads this teambuilding activity by first sharing a few recorded audio stories from his extensive archive and explaining the significance of such stories. He then organizations the participants into small groups where each person has an opportunity to share a story or two with others in the group.

Radio Scavenger Hunt

Huddled around a Walkman radio with their trusty Raven Radio Special Message Decoder in hand, team members listen to a live radio broadcast. Suddenly the music ends and the announcer begins reading the next sequence of secret numbers. A team member hurriedly matches the numbers with the letters on the decoder and a riddle appears that reads: "Spangles the stars.” What can it mean? They scratch their collective heads. Then someone says, “I got it. It’s a key. Francis Scott Key. Who’s got a key?” Another member rummages around in her purse and pulls out a key. They have one of the items necessary to win the hunt but the next clue might not be so easy.

Joe and Paula McHugh are independent radio producers and founders of the Raven Radio Theater. They developed the radio scavenger hunt as a enjoyable and effective way to build emotional bonds between people within organizations, Broadcasting over their own half-watt FM radio transmitter, the McHughs send out teams of participants scouting the conference/retreat site looking for simple, everyday items. But which ones? A watch? A camera? A fork? Did they interpreted each clue correctly? Only when they present their items as a team at the end of the hunt to the judges, each by the way wearing Groucho Marx glasses and nose—it’s hard to argue with that kind of judge—will they know for sure. There are more than enough laughs, miscalculations, and flashes of wit to go around—the unexpected and generous experiences that cherished memories are made of.