One of North Texas’ most fun and challenging fundraising events took place after a two-year hiatus on Friday, April 22, at The Statler. With 2022 Great Adventure Hunt Co-Chairs Rebecca Acuna and Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia serving as ringleaders for the hundreds of competitors, the brainteasing was literally on top of everyone’s mind. Plus, the night hauled in $280,000 for ChildCareGroup. In fact it was such a hit, organizers are already putting together the 2023 Great Adventure Hunt at Gilley’s Dallas on Friday, January 20. In the meantime, here’s a report from the field about the 2022 antics:
On Friday, April 22, ChildCareGroup hosted its one-of-a-kind Great Adventure Hunt fundraising event in person for the first time in two years. The 2022 Great Adventure Hunt, presented by PepsiCo, is an ‘Escape Room meets The Amazing Race’ event where teams of six ‘Hunters’ competed to solve clever, elaborate, and wacky puzzles scattered about The Statler hotel in downtown Dallas. This year’s theme was ‘Fun And Games’ and the hand-crafted puzzles were based on popular games, like “Scrabble,” “Battleship,” “Operation,” “Mastermind” and one that tied into The Statler’s on-site bowling alley.
2022 Event Co-Chairs Rebecca Acuna and Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia recruited a ballroom full of blue-chip Dallas corporations, high profile civic leaders, and state legislators to join the fete. The opening puzzle “Jeopardy” featured a near look-alike of the late Alex Trebek and real-life, three-time Jeopardy champion and current State Representative Erin Zweiner as a guest contestant.
Bank of Texas hosted the cocktail reception in the Scout Bar, where the Best Team Name prize ended in a tie between Bread Financial’s ‘Dough-Nation’ team and Cornerstone Staffing’s ‘Trebek’s Rejects’ team. After guests enjoyed drinks and a French Fry bar with all the fixins during cocktail hour, they moved to the ballroom for a seated dinner hosted by Bread Financial. Along the way, guests were greeted with oh-so-cute life-size cut-outs of the children ChildCareGroup serves. What a sweet touch!
After dinner, ChildCareGroup president and CEO Tori Mannes provided remarks about the notable early childhood education programs ChildCareGroup provides to children whose families live in poverty.
Then it was time to Hunt! This year’s Puzzle Sponsor and 2021 defending Great Adventure Hunt champion was Lyda Hill, whose legendary Team Enigma has participated in almost every Great Adventure Hunt since its inception.
After teams completed the opening “Jeopardy” puzzle, it was off to the races to solve as many puzzles as possible in the shortest amount of time. Teams were given iPads downloaded with a Great Adventure Hunt app for real-time scoring and getting hints to help solve the puzzles. The most-solved puzzle was “Pick Up Sticks” and the least-solved puzzle was “Bowling.” Teams hurried to beat the buzzer, but in the end, it was the ‘Get the answer, STAT’ team led by Meredith and Scott Wallace that bested the field of 43 teams, solving all nine puzzles to take home the coveted Great Adventure Hunt Traveling Trophy.
Net proceeds of the night were $280,000 and will provide funding for ChildCareGroup’s Early Childhood Programs. Plans are already underway for next year’s Hunt, which will be held in its usual month of January.
The reason for supporting ChildCareGroup’s work was probably summed up best by ChildCareGroup’s Vice President of Early Childhood Programs VP Wendy Ogren. During the presentation she said, “We measure many things to help children develop and become successful in school and life, but one of the things we can’t measure is hope, and that is probably the most important attribute we instill in both the children and their parents.”
* Photo credit: Alison Paige Photography ** Photo credit: Christine Rogers