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Boskalis jaarverslagen 2012

Tour for Life together for Médecins sans Frontières

Médecins Sans Frontières and Boskalis have a few things in common when it comes to their work. This gave Sander Steenbrink, manager at the Dredging Development department, an idea. He put together a Boskalis team for the Tour for Life, an eight-day cycle tour from Italy to the Netherlands to raise funds for the doctors. The team managed to generate the biggest sum ever, mainly thanks to teamwork, entrepreneurship and a professional approach: the Boskalis core values.

The Tour for Life is an annual event to raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières. Teams take eight days to complete the 1,250 kilometers from northern Italy to the Netherlands. On 1 September 2013 there were 600 cyclists at the starting line, including Sander Steenbrink and nine Boskalis colleagues. Sander spotted some similarities between the aid organization and Boskalis. “The doctors work in teams all around the world in difficult circumstances, so there’s a link to our company there. Boskalis has grown and it seemed like a good idea to express our mutual connection through this event. The cyclists came from various business units around the globe, even from as far away as South Africa.”

Broad support

The cycle tour was supported by an array of fund-raising initiatives. For example, everyone had the opportunity to buy Tour for Life cycling gear. At the staff restaurant at the head office in Papendrecht, colleagues tucked into Tour for Life sandwiches while the cyclists explained what the initiative was all about. In June, 100 Boskalis employees formed teams to compete against each other in a highly popular spinning marathon in the same restaurant. That day alone generated over EUR 15,000.The Travel Clinic at Rotterdam’s Havenziekenhuis hospital sponsored the cyclists with free vaccinations and an extensive sports medical screening. Once everyone had been ruled fit enough for the demanding tour, training could begin – and not just for the team of cyclists. Sander Steenbrink looks back: “We did part of the training individually but every other week we trained together and on these occasions other Boskalis colleagues could join in. With all the initiatives, we looked at how we could make this more than just a cycle trip for a small group.” There was also keen interest in a dedicated website, and on Facebook and Twitter, with a large number of colleagues following the team’s exploits both before and during the tour. “The reactions and likes were very motivating, and it was also great fun to get a large group of colleagues directly involved in our project in this way.”

Shielding each other from wind

Every morning in the saddle bright and early and helping each other get through. “The first few days in particular were tough. The tour includes some challenging climbs. From day four on, the route got flatter and it was easier to work together. The team included a couple of brilliant cyclists who spent a lot of time at the front of the group, setting a pace that everyone could keep up with. We waited for each other, shielded each other from the wind, and gave one another moral support. On the second day I was completely wrecked and suffering from salt-deficiency. That’s when it’s great that you have team members to pull you through. Apart from saddle soreness and aching muscles, two flat tires and a couple of broken wheels, we got through it in one piece. We owe a tremendous amount to our wonderful Boskalis support team, who took our stuff to the camp sites, pitched the tents and supported us on the road.”

Core values in the spotlight

Two months after this fund-raising event Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Partly thanks to the EUR 1.3 million raised by the Tour for Life, Médecins Sans Frontières was able to go out and provide aid in the disaster zone. This also included the money raised by the Boskalis cycle team. Steenbrink: “The highest-ever sum in the Tour for Life stood at
EUR 51,500; our Boskalis team raised EUR 75,000. The Boskalis Board of Management made an extra donation, boosting this to EUR 100,000. A token of appreciation for this initiative putting the spotlight on Boskalis core values.”

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