To kick off 2012, our staff went on a retreat on the beautiful “other side” of Volcan Mountain.
The two-day retreat was all about reflection, brainstorming and gratitude: Gratitude for the beautiful space we were in, the inspiring people we work with, and the opportunities that living and working at Camp Stevens provides each of us.
Michael Pinto – Camp Stevens Board of Visitor member – led us through an Appreciative Inquiry exercise designed to identify these opportunities, and the directions Camp Stevens might go in to expand on them (An Appreciative Inquiry is an organizational evaluation tool that focuses on what your organization does well, as opposed to what needs to be “fixed.”).
The first step was to reflect on what we love about Camp Stevens. (Another way to think about it: What drew us here? Why do we stay? What’s so great about this place anyway?) Here are some of our answers:
- Connection to the earth and the focus on environment and education
- Empowerment to dream, then implement
- Being together with a group of people trying to do something good
- Meaningful, genuine interactions with other people
- Lines between work and play are muddled; they integrate.
Next – because this is Camp Stevens after all – we brainstormed pie-in-the-sky next steps: What David Cooperrider, creator of the Appreciative Inquiry model, calls Provocative Propositions – program, project, and organizational ideas that build a bridge between “what is” and “what could be.” From creating more fellowship connections (Artists-in-residence, professionals on sabbatical, etc.) to implementing a bigger ecologically sustainable, progressive livestock program, suffice it to say that our staff has some Ideas about what Camp Stevens might look like in the next 5, 10, or 50 years.
Ambitious, sure. They’re like our New Year’s Resolutions. You probably made some too – here’s to a fulfilling 2012!