At the end of July, Chicago and Evanston ZS interns and mentors marked their calendars “OOO” (Out Of Office) and spent a beautiful afternoon kayaking on the Chicago River. The group gathered for a quick tutorial and safety demonstration before jumping in their kayaks and embarking on a unique historical tour of Chicago. Many interns elected to take a tandem kayak with their mentors—associates or associate consultants who served as informal advisers (and lunch buddies) for interns over the summer.
“It was fun to take on an unconventional challenge with my mentor,” said Adis, an intern working out of the Chicago office. “We made a good team, if I do say so myself.”
And what a challenge it was. ZSers maneuvered kayaks through choppy wakes of tour boats and jet skis speeding through the river. Many interns laughed as preconceived thoughts of a leisurely afternoon tour were quickly replaced by the reality: an all-out game of “bumper cars” (or “bumper kayaks,” as the group fondly referred to it). As kayaks collided, interns and mentors adapted—lifting their paddles and pushing each other forward and backward. After a particularly tricky moment of kayak entanglement, Chicago Intern Jared exclaimed to the group, “At the end of this we’ll either be best friends or enemies.” The group laughed and carried on, welcoming friendly collisions from that point forward.
Surrounded by skyscrapers and pedestrians on the Chicago Riverwalk, the group basked in the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon outdoors. The group even got to know about the city of Chicago, learning about the Windy City’s origins, the reconstruction period after the 1871 Chicago Fire, the cultural influences of Irish and Polish immigrants and other tidbits of information that make up the fabric of the city. The weather was spectacular, and the group was happy to get a bit of an upper-body workout.
“The tour was a fun way to explore the city and get to know each other!” said Evanston Intern Isabel.
After the two-hour tour, the group had worked up an appetite. Luckily, brats, sliders, quesadillas and beverages awaited ZSers back on shore. They stuck around the Chicago Riverwalk into the evening, to not only enjoy the food and beverages, but also to compete in a cornhole tournament and enjoy each other’s company.
“It means a lot that ZS prioritizes building company camaraderie outside of work,” said Evanston Intern Michelle. “Without a doubt, my favorite Wednesday of the summer!”