by Hunter R. Slaton | June 01, 2008

Wild ride: WhirlyBall blends bumper cars and more.Popular wisdom holds that we are living in the age of the niche. Appropriately enough, team-building companies are now offering some out-there activities that depart from tired-and-true trust falls, paintball games and ropes courses of years past.

One offbeat option is WhirlyBall, which combines lacrosse, hockey and basketball with bumper cars. The WhirlyBall ( company has three Illinois locations, where bumper car team members work together to score baskets using plastic scoops. Visit to find other places where the sport is played and watch a game in action.

For those who don’t enjoy getting knocked about, Canadian Outback Adventures ( organizes a barbecue challenge where teams battle, Iron Chef-style, with must-use ingredients in an outdoor cooking competition. After the judges choose the winning team, it’s time to eat.

A do-good way to forge bonds: The Helping Hands program from Odyssey Teams ( assists groups in building prosthetic hands that are donated to those in need. Since the program began in 2004, a total of 1,200 hands have been assembled, 750 of which have been distributed to amputees in foreign countries including Colombia, India, Jordan and Kenya.