My partner in crime Lisa and I went on a staff retreat last week. I do one every year in August to sort out what’s happening, what went on last year and make plans for this year. This time I went with Lisa. COMPANY RETREAT! This is a Lisa post on the day.
This was a Staff Retreat Sue-Edworthy style. No trust-exercises, overnight camping or ice breakers. We planned to escape the city for an afternoon on the Island at one of Sue’s favourite places: the Artscape Gibraltar Point Retreat Centre.
Our retreat fell on the Thursday of the long weekend and honestly, I’ve never seen so many families in one place in my life. Strollers, wagons, carts and Sue and me, wide eyed, alternating between ‘awws’ and ‘ewws’.
SE: I also shook my head a lot and closed my eyes several times. We also chose the best behaved children and mentally awarded them prizes.
Pro-tip: Arrive early! The ferry station was PACKED by noon.
We took the ferry to Centre Island and walked from there to Artscape Gibraltar Point. As the crowds from the dock dispersed and we began to walk, I noticed how spacious the island felt after the cramped ferry ride. Though hundreds of people had chosen that day to visit, the greenery was still quiet and peaceful.
SE: It’s why I love the Island. Ten minutes away and you’d never know you were near a city.
Pro-tip: Wear comfortable shoes and pack a water bottle! There is lots to explore and you’ll want to find the perfect place to relax, so get ready to walk for a while!
The Artists’ Retreat
Artscape rescued the Island Public and Natural Science School building in 1999 and restored it into an Artist’s retreat. It is beautiful. Rustic and simple, the space still resembles an old school, with a few updates to make it inhabitable. The space is decorated with art and artifacts from the school’s past and present and has a quiet magic to it. We bumped into a few artists who were spending their summers working there. They loved it, and I could see why: with plenty of green space, work studios and a private beach it was an ideal place to escape the city. If you’re interested in Artscape’s Gibraltar Point space check out their site!
Protip: We took a quick visit to the beach and Sue mentioned that she goes to the Island in Autumn. The ferry runs all year, I’m definitely going to check it out.
We really did go to the island to work, I swear! Sue and I set up a ‘desk’ outside the Retreat Centre and got down to the business of the day. We SWOT-ed our past work (what were our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for both the company and our previous clients and we SMART-ed over new goals (are they specific measurable, attainable and relevant, time-bound) for us and for new clients. We went over my performance review and re-evaluated our company goals. It was intense work, but in the shade of an elm tree, surrounded by flowers and the sounds of waves we hardly even noticed.
Pro tip: Tape. If you’re working outside, count on paper-blowing wind! Sue is a bit of a walking supply-closet, so we had it on hand!
FYI: Pasta salad makes for a delicious afternoon meal! Sue packed also packed us heirloom carrots, and four, I repeat FOUR dips. I brought some strawberries and carrot cake. Never forget the power of a good picnic for company morale!