We so firmly believe that outdoor adventures connect people to something greater, that this is our mission statement at Rivers and Oceans.
We knew in March that we were heading into a very busy Grand Canyon river rafting season, and with some new team members, and a desire to provide the very best customer service possible to the thousands of adventurers we get on the water each year — we wanted to take some time away, to retreat outdoors together. This decision has been critical to our success as a high-performance team in 2019.
We planned a thoughtful, beautiful retreat to reconnect and regroup around each other, and of course, as river rafting experts, wanted to get on the San Juan River in Utah . All team members were invited to bring a guest, and we headed north to begin our four-day adventure.
In the past we have done one-day offsites and saw the benefits of having team meetings out of the office, outside, and discovered that brief retreats allowed us more interaction as people rather than as job titles. We had also done an overnight trip and realized that it made an even larger difference to team cohesiveness.
So, to get ready for our river rafting season which begins in April, we made the big investment in each other, and arranged to get on the San Juan for a few days as a team.
We see paddling a river as an effective metaphor for how we want to work together throughout the year: we can all dip into peacefully paced river time, be quiet together, and also paddle furiously. If one of us is not doing our part while navigating the rapids, it messes up the whole trajectory. Everyone needs to do their jobs to go in the direction we need to go in, and we all have to trust the paddle captain to get us there.
The Rivers and Oceans team was surprised at how fun it was, and they said they were more relaxed than they thought they would be, especially those who had experienced a traditional, indoor, structured team retreat.
Our best moments were spent sitting around the campfire, cooking together, loading boats, and enjoying nature. Rafting is such a participatory experience, that everyone just naturally comes together.
Primarily, a huge cohesiveness across all team members. After the San Juan rafting trip, I see more trust among each other, we’re more willing to speak up and exchange ideas, and we’re better able to communicate when we need help. We’re much more forgiving with each other as we juggle responsibilities.
Seth Godin was right when he said:
“There's a tremendous opportunity to create events where people connect. Unfortunately, it's also easy to turn these events into school-like conferences, not the emotional connections that are desired.”
And we firmly believe that emotional connections are better, and more easily created outside. If you need to build a team, or reward some teamwork, or retreat to prepare for a new creative endeavor, or celebrate a long haul project completion — people need a refresh.
We see this happen all the time: it’s when we’re outside that people open up different way — we connect, and get creative. Even further, on a river, something else happens — people drop into being present, and enjoy quiet space. It’s not all about the excitement of rafting the rapids. It’s also about restorative cruising down a river.
Better still, the rafting trip is over, months later our team is in the trenches, and they will remind each other of the experience, the bonds they created, the laughs they had, the pictures they took. We can’t wait to do it again.
If you’re interested in planning a company offsite adventure for your team - contact us and we’ll design an adventure for your group that will have a lasting impact! (928) 440-1916 or email firstname.lastname@example.org