Over the years, the Information Technology Team (aka “Tech Team”) has held fall retreats to set aside time to plan the upcoming year and reflect on the past year’s efforts. Our goal is to have an annual event away from the library, so we have quality uninterrupted time to team build and conduct planning activities. For most years, we have retreated to Wake Forest’s Lodge at Fancy Gap. That doesn’t always work out, but this year we were able to schedule our 6th visit to Fancy Gap in 9 years (Has it been NINE years?). The participants have varied through the years due to personnel changes and one-time conflicts that prevent a member from attending. This year, we were disappointed that Erik had to miss for the first time, but he was accepted to present a poster session at the ASIS&T Conference in Milwaukee and they declined to change their dates to accommodate our retreat. I do think I’m correct in saying that Tim and I are the only original Tech Teamers to make all scheduled retreats! Caroline Numbers, Giz Womack, Tim Mitchell, Kevin Gilbertson and Susan Smith made the journey for the 2007 event.
We have streamlined our retreat process over the years so that our “typical” retreat is an overnight where we travel to our destination Friday afternoon. Friday evening is spent preparing and sharing a meal, followed by a “social” activity of some sort. This year, we went “high tech” and left our board games at home. We set up Giz‘s Wii game, complete with a screen and projector. It was like we held a mini Get Game@ZSR. Giz and Caroline had the edge, since they both own Wii systems, but everyone had a blast playing tennis, bowling and boxing (ask Tim about knocking me out). Then the group consensus for the movie of the evening was to watch “Snakes on a Plane.” Which goes to prove that every group decision isn’t a good one.
Saturday morning, after breakfast, we always hold the business session of the retreat, which typically lasts until lunch time. This year, it became a long session because, in addition to our normal topics of planning next year’s capital budget requests and assessing YTD progress of team and individual goals, we grappled with issues and opportunities that have arisen due to the library’s and university’s strategic plans. As a team, we want to be proactive in promoting and accomplishing the library’s mission in the context of the new administration and the overall strategic plan. We discussed potential scenarios that might result in new or different roles for the team and what would be required to succeed with new initiatives and directions. It was a stimulating, productive exchange that produced many action items and desired conversations with other teams and the library administration.
After we finish business, we have a hearty lunch, pack up all our stuff and depart the Lodge to have an afternoon team activity. This year, it was Caroline‘s choice, and months ago she decided a hike would be fun. Since the Lodge is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we drove down to Cumberland Knob, 18 miles away – the site where construction of the Parkway was started in 1935. It was a beautiful fall afternoon and we chose a challenging 2.5 mile loop that took us down along a rocky creek bed and back up. Next time, it’s Tim‘s choice – wonder what we’ll do?
If you are interested in viewing our retreat photographs, the authoritative collection is on my personal Flickr site.