Encompass Solutions Retreat

I started with Encompass in February 2020, just before Covid had us on lockdown. This affected the infamous company retreats. I heard a little something about them and was looking forward to attending, but it wasn’t going to happen that year. Maybe next year? Nope! We gotta stay safe and wait it out one more time. Understandable.

Here comes 2022, and all employees received an individual email invite to the company retreat. Okay… nice touch. Making me feel special… I like it! I didn’t know what to expect since this would be my first time ever going to any company’s retreat. Now I’m curious… Will we be working all day? What types of activities will there be? Will the food be any good? I did know that this would be my chance to meet co-workers I’d been virtually communicating with for over two years.

Let me skip ahead a bit. We formed teams beforehand. Remember back in grade school during P.E. when we were chosen by “captains” to be on their teams? Yeah… no, it wasn’t like that. We were given a task and had to find each other. It wasn’t hard, so I didn’t have to enlist Scooby-Doo and Mystery Incorporated for help. There were three pre-retreat challenges that we had to finish and submit for points. This was the beginning of teamwork that continued over into the retreat.

We’re here! Meet and greet the first evening. It was fun!! Had a great time meeting the ones I’d never met and seeing the ones I’d met when I was in the office. Since it is a company event, in case you’re asking… yes, we did have meetings. It wasn’t like that episode of the Golden Girls where a former student hired Dorothy to train the team at his company, and everyone left to do other things like play golf. I don’t think our leaders would have been too happy with that type of behavior. Our teamwork was incorporated into meetings where we brainstormed, answered trivia questions, and came up with ideas that would add to Encompass’ success. The afternoon events consisted of scavenger hunts, learning Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance, and building boats using duct tape and cardboard.

The scavenger hunt was fun. It was a timed race against the other teams, so we had to be quick and creative. Well, we had to be as quick as we could because we were on a mountain. Reading comprehension played an important factor when following written directions. I don’t remember exactly how many hunts we completed. When we were finished with one, with a short team exercise afterward, we were given another hunt. Just when we thought we were done for the day to head back to our rooms to prepare for dinner later, we were told that we all had to learn the Thriller dance from Michael Jackson’s video AND perform it. Say what now? Excuse me? Ma’am… the King of Pop was also an entertainer. I needed at least 24 hours to learn and perfect those moves. I tried channeling my dance and cheerleading days but I was clearly rusty. YouTube was our friend. We looked at the video and chose a few dance moves to learn and added some creativity to it. This wasn’t a recital, so it didn’t have to be long. We were glad about that because we were tired from the scavenger hunts.

Time for boat building the next day. It was a pirate-themed event and to get additional supplies to benefit our teams, we had to duel with the pirate. We dueled with inflatable swords. Just imagine what that looked like. We could also duel someone from another team to get their supplies. Piracy was highly encouraged and in full effect. This meant that we had to work fast, be strategic, and definitely keep an eye on the wandering eyes and hands of thieves who tried to act like they were coming in peace. Oh… I didn’t mention that the boat had to float, someone had to get in it, paddle out to and around the buoy back to shore, and pull the boat out of the water by themselves, did I? How could it be a competition without literally testing the waters? This was also timed, so the adrenaline was running high. It was the last team event of the retreat, and everyone wanted to get as many points as possible to be named the 2022 winners.

I was having a lot of much-needed fun. My daughter was my plus one and she really enjoyed herself. The final night of the retreat was bittersweet. The team-building activities were over, and we would soon be getting ready to head back to our homes, but not before it was time to announce the winners. If I’m not mistaken, my team came in second place for both the pre-retreat and retreat challenges. We all are winners regardless of which place we came in. Sounds like one of those familiar “you’ll get ‘em next time” phrases, doesn’t it? But seriously… everyone put in a great amount of effort and worked together just as teams should do. That night ended with a live band and dancing that I will always remember.