September 8, 2018 was one of those days that makes event organizers cringe. Friday’s sunny, warm conditions deteriorated overnight into a cold, windy, and wet Saturday. One of our group leaders was quite concerned. He had 184 guests here on retreat, and the weather was not cooperating.
As Lake Williamson’s program director, I see this quite a bit—ESPECIALLY with our winter groups. Event leaders gamble on the weather. They either hope the weather is nice enough for outdoor activities or snowy enough for winter fun. But when they wind up with dreary weather that is somewhere in between, their plans fall into unstructured free time in the Activities Center.
However, for our September group, that was not the case. The group had booked multiple adventure team building programs with us that day, and we were ready for the weather. Our escape rooms, climbing gym, and high ropes course were already weatherized. Our Low Initiatives program was easily moved into the heated Pavilion, where we implemented what we call our “Emergency Indoor Sequence” (See the sequence at the bottom of the page).
While other Christian Retreats Network properties do not have an indoor high ropes course, that does not mean team building activities have to stop just because the weather disappoints. In fact, some of my favorite activities are only done indoors. Consider the activity “Pelican Island,” which takes approximately 45 minutes and can be used with all ages and physical abilities. Groups of 5-6 take on assigned roles and stations to thwart a mad scientist’s plan to wipe out the entire world.
Another group favorite is “Live Clue.” Based on the popular board game, teams of 5-6 people race from Clue Giver to Clue Giver seeking to solve the mystery faster than competing teams. There is no limit to how many people can play, as long as there is enough space. I have played with groups of 20 in a small gymnasium as well as with a group of 300, while we all ran from building to building across Lake Williamson’s campus to figure out the clues.
Adverse weather is not the only reason to do indoor team building. I am often asked to do indoor programs for groups that do not want to leave their meeting space. Sometimes it is due to physical limitations, such as wheelchairs or walkers. Other times it is because the group is professionally dressed; and sometimes it is simply a dislike of the outdoors.
Overall, I prefer to offer outdoor team building programs to groups. The fixed apparatuses on our low course provide for some memorable group encounters. However, that does not mean that indoor activities are forgettable. In fact, some groups only do indoor programs with me because they enjoy them so much.
As you plan your winter retreat, you owe it to yourself to see if your CRN property offers indoor team building. If you are just looking for a quick team building activity to do in your meeting space, shoot me an email. I would be happy to give you some ideas. Whatever your plans may be, I wish you great weather on your next retreat!