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Sage YMCA Corporate Challenge brings McHenry County companies together through friendly competition

Businesses competing in trivia, bags, tug-of-war, canoe battleship

CRYSTAL LAKE – Several companies around McHenry County will be competing this weekend for the second round of the 2016 Sage YMCA Corporate Challenge.

The majority of the challenges are taking place at Sage YMCA, 701 Manor Road, Crystal Lake, with more than 650 participants from 14 companies signed up for the event. The first wave of competitive events ended Sunday, but the challenge returns Friday and will go through the weekend.

Crystal Lake-based Exemplar Financial Network is just one of the 14 companies participating in this year’s challenge.

“I think it’s great that the YMCA and all the organizations are involved,” said Pat Maude, the director of recruiting at Exemplar. “And we look forward to some competitive competition.”

“It’s just fun. Life is short, so have fun,” Maude added.

The 2016 YMCA Corporate Challenge already has hosted a ton of competitive but friendly events, including trivia, bags and tug-of-war. Exemplar won the tug-of-war competition, going undefeated through the tournament bracket.

There will be plenty of exciting events taking place this weekend, too. One of the more unique challenges will be canoe battleship, which will take place about 7:30 p.m. Friday. The goal of this event is to sink the opposing team’s canoe using buckets of water.

Other companies participating in this year’s challenge include Werner Company of Crystal Lake, Charter Dura-Bar of Woodstock, Coilcraft of Cary and Sage Products of Cary.

Michael Trester, a manufacturing trainer at Sage Products, said his company has competed in the corporate challenge the past two years.

“We came out to compete in this friendly competition,” Trester said. “And we hope to continue building a community friendship from these competitions.”

The winners of each individual event will take home a plaque, and a trophy will be given to the team with the most accumulated points by the end of the challenge.

The corporate challenge is being run this year by Jill Ernst, fitness and wellness director of Sage YMCA.

“This is a really good event that companies can participate in some friendly competition and utilize team building,” Ernst said.

Ernst said the event has grown from six companies that signed up for the challenge in 2014 to 14 and about 650 people that are involved this year.

“It’s nice to see this event grow,” Ernst said.

Along with bringing the community together, another purpose of the event is to raise money for YMCA, as Ernst said that the corporate challenge is Sage YMCA’s largest annual fundraiser. All proceeds, through registration costs and sponsorships, go toward Sage YMCA’s annual fund, which provides financial assistance to children and families around McHenry County who otherwise couldn’t afford a YMCA membership.

“The YMCA is a not-for-profit, and a lot of people don’t realize that. So this event is a good reminder of that,” Ernst said.

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