Brainstorming, gift-seating, and crafting at mid-year retreat

11 Apr

You’ve heard it before, especially from people who are much older and wiser than you– every year seems to go by just a little bit faster.  This year’s been no exception:

Our Public Allies term is more than half over!

Whoa…I guess times flies when you’re having fun (and working hard)!

To mark this event, all of the Public Allies from the Twin Cities gathered at our Mid-Year Retreat in early March.  To be honest, I was not looking forward to this retreat.  I highly value my weekends and my down time, so knowing that I had to be “on” for most the weekend was a little daunting.  As always, though, I enjoyed myself once it was over.  Here are some highlights:

Re-defining innovation – One of my favorite workshops was on rethinking the innovative brainstorming process.  “Is it always that the boss is going to have the best ideas?  Unlikely.”  If you want to replenish those creative juices, take a look at this video from the innovators at IDEO:

Gift Seat – Each of us got to give feedback to the other members in our team service project.  At first it felt like this could turn in to a modern-day episode of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” but the process was really enlightening.  We don’t celebrate each other enough!  The gift seat process was a perfect opportunity to tell each other our appreciation, as well as things they could improve upon, that’s not always offered in everyday life.

Arts & Crafts!  – When was the last time you got to sit down and do like they do in elementary school?!  That’s right – we got some arts and crafts time.  We sat down with old fashioned scissors, glue sticks, and colorful paper to make a scrapbook of our Public Allies experience so far.  What a great bonding experience (and a large mess to clean up…)!


Ending the day with gifts to each other – We started these things called “gift bags” at the end of our core week training at the beginning of our service year.  We each decorated our bags, and put little notes in each other’s gift bags with encouraging words, compliments, and other uplifting things.  The bags travelled with us to our retreat!  Below, Shameika takes a few moments to fill up her fellow allies’ bags to end our weekend.


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