Planning an Outdoor Team Retreat
While it may seem impossible to step away from the demands of the work week, company retreats can spark creativity and strengthen internal connections. In fact, Inc.com noted that “bringing the team together in an interesting environment creates an opportunity to explore a new place together, and organically opens the door to learn more about each other along the way.”
When companies prioritize retreat time together, the results can be amazing. Not only will they experience a refreshed and energized team, they will also have dedicated time to work on something meaningful, such as revising the company manifesto or designing an entirely new product! Of course, finding the right retreat space can be challenging. Ideally it’s affordable, novel, and nourishing, while also providing space to work if necessary.
Here’s why we think Firelight Camps is just the right fit for your next (or first!) company retreat, and guaranteed to send your team back to the office feeling connected and reinvigorated.
LODGING: Given the countless benefits of spending time in nature, the great outdoors is the ideal place to escape to and reconnect with your team. But the diverse needs and interests across a team mean that the hassles of camping may not be for everyone. So why not go glamping?! Otherwise known as glamorous camping, glamping means you don’t have to sacrifice modern amenities (like plush beds, hot showers and flushing toilets), and is a surefire way to give everyone on your team a comfortable experience in nature so you can get down to business together. For those who prefer hard walls, we’re pitched on the grounds of La Tourelle Hotel and our lobby and lounge areas are just a 2-3 minute walk away!
MEETING: Hosting meetings outside (literally!) of your familiar office space can produce a surge of new ideas, fresh perspectives and heightened creativity. Outdoor retailer, L.L. Bean even created a pop-up outdoor office equipped with individual and collaborative workspaces! At Firelight Camps, we offer a variety of comfortable lounge and meeting spaces that are immersed in the outdoors. Our event tent can hold working sessions with easels and white boards for brainstorming. Our lobby tent offers communal work tables and chairs, and electricity including a charging station for cell phones, laptops, and tablets. If projection is needed for your team, a meeting room can be rented from La Tourelle Hotel. For walking meetings, our glampground’s backyard is Buttermilk Falls, a stunning 811-acre state park with nature trails. Harvard Business Review reported that working adults who “participate in walking meetings are 5.25% more likely to report being creative at their jobs than those who do not.” Hosting a walking meeting during your retreat can also start a tradition that will continue when your team is back at the office and in need of some fresh air!
UNWINDING: Gathering around the fire with your team will organically open a rich dialogue extending far beyond the typical small-talk of a regular workday. In fact, this time-honored practice has shaped cultures across the world. Anthropologist Polly Weissner studied the Ju/’hoan (!Kung) Bushmen of Botswana and Namibia in 2014 and found that while 75% of daytime conversation focused on work, 81% of fireside conversations were dedicated to telling stories, singing, dancing, discussing spirituality, politics, and adventures.
FOOD & DRINK: Ithaca is renowned for culinary treasures that celebrate regional flavors. To refuel your team during the retreat, you could head into town for a meal at one of our favorite cafes and restaurants. Or if you’d prefer to dine at the glampground, we recommend creating a picnic with an array of locally-produced food and snacks from Ithaca’s farmers market or grocers, like The Piggery, a farm-to-table butcher shop. We also work with like-minded catering partners who could provide a tasty catered meal for your team to enjoy fireside or in our event tent.
ADVENTURES & EXCURSIONS: Spending time outdoors is a natural stress reliever, proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Plan outdoor adventures in your itinerary to foster camaraderie and reinvigorate your team as they explore the wild. You can hire a guide to lead your team on a number of activities, from wild foraging hikes to kayaking on Cayuga Lake. If you’d like to explore more of the region on your retreat, perhaps you could treat your team to a guided walking foodie tour or even celebrate your team’s success with an experiential tasting tour of the region’s premier wineries.
When you’re ready to take your team outside for a glamping retreat, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out some of the amazing teams that have already retreated with us:
Columbia Sportswear, Dewar's Whiskey, Skinnytaste, Al Fresco Natural Sausage Company, Vanity Fair, Young Professionals Organization, Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of Tompkins County