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Taking Team Building to the Extreme

By Amanda Christensen

When it comes to team building, nothing quite builds trust among co-workers like handling heavy-duty construction equipment. Operating year-round just 30 minutes southeast of St. Paul in Hastings, Extreme Sandbox provides the chance for groups to work together outside, rain or shine (or snow), to accomplish challenges while using construction equipment like bulldozers and excavators. 

“About half of our business is in the team-building space where we get companies … that are just looking for new and different ways to engage their employees and customers,” says Randy Stenger, founder and CEO of Extreme Sandbox. 

The venue has a 10-acre sandbox that can be rented entirely for groups, along with optional activities like social team gatherings (A “Disney World on steroids,” as Stenger describes it), where people can take turns with real equipment, and formal training that consists of structured team building. 

“We will put them in little stations where they have to work as a team to accomplish the task,” says Stenger, who also calls this the “sandbox Olympics.” 

Extreme Sandbox will custom build an event to fit a client’s needs for groups of 10 or more, with an average size of 20-40 people—but Stenger notes that the facility can do groups of three people to well over 100. 

“We get people of all backgrounds, especially with group events—sometimes we get clients who are apprehensive or nervous about doing this, and I love showing them that they can,” Stenger says. “By the end of it, they are smiling ear to ear, and they are [getting out] of that equipment [like] they have accomplished something major in their lives.”