Corporate Retreats in Nature

Updated: Aug 6

"Planning a retreat should be an expression of your company’s mission."



marketingedge magazine


POWER TO TRANSFORM

| corporate retreats in nature


BY ALEX MORIN


August 2022

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Alex Morin has led companies, grown brands and introduced innovative ways of approaching brand building and marketing in the promotional products industry. He's back to help you rethink your next corporate retreat.

 


When done thoughtfully, a retreat has the ability to restore its participants and impart knowledge and behaviour.

Corporate retreats aren’t new.


Metropolitan and touristy tropical destinations top the list of frequently used retreat locations. That’s because when selecting a retreat location, event planners often opt for a locale that has multiple entertainment options so that attendees satisfy a constant craving for adrenaline. But there’s a new type of corporate retreat that’s been emerging, and it centres itself around serenity, bliss, peace and calmness.


Hidden in a lush maple grove, surrounded by 4,400 acres of deciduous trees, resplendent with both migratory and nesting birds, is a magical space called Vicki Tree. The short one-hour drive from Toronto, Ont. will transport you from hustle to rustle. It’s here that owner Virginia Gingras has partnered with the natural landscape to create something that has the power to transform. The tranquility, in the midst of so much life, is both inspiring and encouraging. And it’s at this location that creatives of all types are offering people an opportunity to learn about health, wellness, nature, leadership and, most importantly, themselves.




Vicki Tree is simple. First, it’s a space; but not just any space. It’s well conceived, in the sense that the deliberate construction of the rustic yet modern barn studio harmonizes with its surroundings.


On the first floor is a small yoga room and spin room. And on the top floor is a larger yoga room and a boardroom. If you follow a short path through the forest, you will discover something that French-speaking people would call a “coup de coeur,” which roughly translates to a heart flutter.


Though your heart will know it immediately, it’ll take a second for your mind to understand that you’re now standing at The Plank, a cozy outdoor venue that can accommodate groups and envelop them in the pristine forest.


With remote controlled screen walls, stunning wooden plank floors, and a sloped wooden beam roof, you become one with your surroundings, and quite possibly the people you’re with. You have arrived at the venue that will host your retreat.



THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE

Vicki Tree Yoga & Wellness Inc.. is a wellness business located in the Horseshoe Valley area, that helps individuals reach their full potential. The unique meeting space allows corporate retreats to enjoy the tranquility of nature, immersed in a rustic setting.

 

When done thoughtfully, a retreat has the ability to restore its participants and impart knowledge and behaviour.


The setting is supported by your planned experience, like presentations, interactions, awards, gifts and dining.

Continuing with Vicki Tree as the example setting, let's introduce an imaginary tech company as retreat host for this case study.


Many tech companies are renowned for their innovation and creativity. They are unafraid of change and like to try new things to engage their staff. At this upcoming retreat, let's imagine that they will host a cacao ceremony.


What the heck is that?

It’s a framing of knowledge celebration that centres around drinking a pure cacao beverage, a plant medicine that has been used for millennia in tropical regions where the theobroma tree thrives, on which cacao seeds grow.


HOW TO INCORPORATE A CACAO CEREMONY, A UNIQUE GROUP EXPERIENCE

A cacao ceremony uses the healing modality of pure cacao to open the hearts of its attendees while engaging in a ceremony that caters to a theme, like trust or self-image to name a couple.

 

Now that the stage is set, we can consider the types of gifts that would enhance the experience. We could provide the hot cacao beverage in an eco-friendly, reusable tumbler. The gift serves a purpose at our event and will make a fantastic keepsake.


On promoplacecanada.com I found a 16 oz Eco Wheat Tumbler that's made of eco-friendly plastic, with 51 per cent reclaimed wheat straw. The earth tones fit the calm of our retreat location and the matching lid and double-wall construction will keep our cacao beverage at temperature and in the cup until we're ready to drink it.




The cacao ceremony is multi-layered and incorporates a blend of coaching and integrative meditation. For the coaching session, there’s nothing quite like taking notes with a journal that connects to your company’s values.


Kustom Promo’s Coffee Notebook is a sustainability gem, made out of 40 per cent recycled coffee grounds, which is both revolutionary and jaw-dropping. The journal is a great tool to capture your stories from the retreat, and also has its own story you can share when you take it home. Now that's a thoughtful gift!



After the transformative cacao ceremony and a never-to-be-forgotten retreat, you may just want to send your employees back home with a bag to carry all of their belongings.


Printutions prides itself on sourcing sustainable solutions and offers a cotton canvas cart bag that will double as an everyday tote bag and a grocery cart shopping bag. You can get it in organic cotton and it even comes with a recycled plastic base for additional strength.


The magic in a retreat is tailoring it to the specific needs of your stakeholders.

Investigate the setting, plan your events wisely, cater to the needs of your audience, and make it beautiful. If you adhere to these simple steps, you too can create an unforgettable retreat that will build your corporate morale and transform your people into willing ambassadors of your company. mem


 

- as featured in marketingedge magazine August 2022 - click to open e-magazine