How it All Began:
Community is a core value for us here at Collab Architecture. We strive to continuously find ways to make a positive impact on the people, places, and experiences of Northern Colorado. Whether that be through architectural services, volunteer work, fundraising, donating, or educational opportunities, we enjoy finding avenues to express our creativity while serving others and our community as a whole. The idea of the Gingerbread Showdown was initially intended to be a friendly (yet competitive) in-house holiday competition, but after a few brainstorming sessions, we realized it could be something much, much bigger! It served as the perfect platform to get kids and the AEC community involved while also supporting those in need. We thought what better way to incorporate architecture and design, a food drive, and spread some good old fashioned holiday cheer than to host a gingerbread build off!
We invited up to 10 teams of 5 “gingerneers” with the request that each participant bring 1 bag of food or essential items as their entry fee into the competition. In addition to the kiddos, we invited professional architects, engineers, and general contractors to serve as the Project Managers and team leads with the intent that we would lead them through a full project timeline to include the design, material selections, and construction of their gingerbread structures. The competition would conclude with each team adding their structure to the gingerbread village and receiving a link to share with all their family and friends to vote. In the end, the top three teams received a prize pack for the winning builds!
Project Kick-Off Discussion
Gingerbread Build Kits
We were overwhelmed by the turnout and success of our 1st annual Gingerbread Showdown! Everything from the project teams and their gingerbread creations, to the food drive, to our generous sponsors was something to be proud of.
We had 7 teams with close to 40 kids, as well as 15 volunteers to help things run smoothly. Additionally, we had several amazing AEC professionals who volunteered to lead each team and keep their projects on track including local architects, structural engineers, and general contractors. We loved watching each sugar-fueled team’s creativity unfold throughout the night as they dove head-on into their projects. Starting with the project kick-off meetings and architectural plans all the way to tilt up and FF&E selections, each team had a totally unique approach to their build. (Some were even dedicated enough to rebuild their structure after a total collapse!) Add in all the excitement, smiles, and sticky fingers, and it was quite a night! In the end, the teams helped to contribute close to 800 food and essential items to benefit the Food Bank for Larimer County. When delivered to the Food Bank warehouse the following week, these donations came in weighing a whopping 508 lbs!
Making their way to the “Donation Station”
Drawing their Elevation Number
Peering Over Donations
It really was a perfect way to provide the kids with a little peek into our industry and introduce them to the concept of giving back. We were fortunate enough to have a few Food Bankers join in the fun and help to explain to the kiddos the impact their contributions had on the community.
In addition to our amazing participants and their contributions, we also had some really exceptional sponsors. Without the generosity of our sponsors, we couldn’t have brought our vision of the event to life. A total of 18 local businesses and individuals helped sponsor this event, from engineering companies to toy stores. These sponsors helped to provide each team with the tools and materials needed to execute their projects as well as awards to our top three teams. With their help, we were able to provide an additional monetary donation to the Food Bank.
Sponsors Included: Larsen Structural Design, Elder Construction, CTL Thompson, Workplace Partners, DS Constructors, Fransen Pittman Construction, Anchor Engineering, Integrated Mechanical, Electricon, Dohn Construction, Love Goes Round, Beck Total Office Interiors, Hall-Irwin Corporation, Meow Wolf Denver, Clothes Pony & Dandelion Toys, and Urban Air.
Food Donations under the Tree
Gingerneers at the FF&E Bar
While we viewed each and every team as a winner, we tasked the kids with heading out into the community to rally votes for their gingerbread creations to secure a spot in the top 3. We created an online voting portal that ended up receiving close to 800 votes in a 4 day period, and the top teams were neck and neck in the final hours of the competition. We loved seeing how the kids rallied their teachers, classmates, and sports teams to vote for their team.
1st Place Winner: “The Miracles”
2nd Place Winner: “The Chunky Chihuahuas”
3rd Place Winner: “Cookie Crumbles”
Gifts that Keep On Giving
In addition to our success in supporting the Food Bank, an unexpected opportunity to help another local charity presented itself. In our call for sponsors, one sponsor was generous enough to donate a whole palette of toys to use as we thought best. This act of kindness brought us to that unexpected opportunity to help another organization for the Holidays. Not only were we able to give a toy to each participant in the Gingerbread Showdown, but we still had over 400 left over to help support a local Holiday toy drive organized annually by the Weld Elves. We were so grateful that our event inspired such generosity from others.
We are already looking forward to next year’s event and have set the bar even higher for participation and donations. (Again, this would not have been possible without the support of our amazing sponsors and community and we are grateful for each and every one of you!) If you are interested in participating in any way in next year’s event, please feel free to reach out to email@example.com. Check out the full details from the inaugural event for more information.