What is it about beaches in summer? You remember. That sticky salty breeze. Gooey sunscreen. Heavy trudging in bare feet. Sand in your pants.
Is it a reflex that sends remote-work teams to the beach for their retreats? Maybe it’s because that’s where you went as a kid, for relief from the city heat.
Cape Cod. Cape May, Long Island. Monterey. It was the closest place to find a cooler breeze.
It’s the COOs and project managers in Boston, New York, Dallas, and San Francisco who are engaging most with our ads promoting the Wind River Valley for team retreats. Perhaps they feel it’s time for a cooler experience.
When Summit CPA Group escaped the beach rut last August, it took a pandemic (Cabo and Miami) and a hurricane (South Carolina) to open their minds.
Travel advisor Lillian Hocevar came up with a radical idea, and as Summit CEO Jody Grunden put it, during a podcast about team retreats, they “settled” on Jackson, Wyoming.
“We had a blast,” he went on. “It exceeded all expectations.”
Some team members went parasailing. Others rode a hot air balloon.
They they wanted a water experience? That didn’t need to mean beach volleyball. Hocevar booked white-water rafting: “It’s exhilarating, and it’s a natural team-building exercise. You have to figure out who’s rowing when.”
“It was a lot of the out-of-the-normal stuff,” said Grunden. He described what it wasn’t: Just going to a hotel and eating in this or that restaurant. Some ordinary vacation or getaway. A few typical team-building activities, like trust falls.
“It was an experience,” he added.
But not all that different an experience from being in a big city, actually: Crowds of humans and vehicles, many of them wasting time and energy just waiting in lines. For the hordes intent of visiting Yellowstone each summer, Jackson is hardly a radical idea. It’s all too obvious.
What a pity. Going a few extra miles, teams can retreat to someplace far cooler and less crowded, where the native Shoshone retreated every year, many centuries ago.
There is no salt-water beach, but there are wild rivers to raft and crystalline lakes to kayak. Rugged mountains to explore. Plenty of trout to catch. Countless stars in a vast night sky, to bring back a sense of wonder.
They could discover Dubois.
© Lois Wingerson, 2021