When I graduated from the University of Oregon last year, I had no idea what to expect at a workplace. It’s no secret. An office-based work life can lead to an anatomical connection with our desks and computer screens.

But here at Turell Group, we frequently disrupt this office norm with chatter, laughter and good times — especially outside the office.

Last week TG broke away from the everyday hustle to partake in fun, team-building activities: hiking, white water rafting and dodgeball. As our team made the switch from creative output to physical teamwork, an incredible thing happened: Personal ties were strengthened.

Although hiking and dodgeball were fantastic experiences, for me, the white water rafting trip took the gold in terms of team-building activities. It pushed us a bit out of our comfort zones and provided a nice mix of teamwork and competitive spirit.

Split into two teams, we all had one common goal: Hit the rapids and don’t fall overboard. This naturally exposed the importance of communication. Each member has to pay attention and react accordingly — in sync — to navigate the boat efficiently.

There was one exception to the “don’t fall overboard” rule, and that was with the vortex. To ride the vortex, I had to stand on the bow of the boat, angled away from my colleagues, with my back to the river, and gripping a rope tied to a ring on the front. As one side of the boat paddled in the opposite direction to the other, the boat spiraled through the rapids. My team worked hard to keep the ride smooth, so I could stay aloft. For six seconds, I was spinning freely with the boat, until the natural motion of the vortex pulled me in, and over I went.

The split teams also brought out another need for communication: Planning and reacting to water attacks from the other boat! Sure, we kept cool, but a bit of friendly competition energized the group and intensified our team spirit. I’m pretty sure we did more water damage to each other than the rapids.

Looking down river to a future of possibilities, I see that being a young professional does not mean giving up fun.