How to Plan an Under the Sea Retreat

How to Plan an Under the Sea Retreat

To start each quarter, we gather the team, including interns, for a Swift Kick retreat. Sabina and I are the masterminds- it used to be Tom, but he “trusts” us to plan it now. (Yikes.) Take a look our step-by-step creative process to make this theme come to life:

Step One – Plan for a completely different theme.

Plan a “Guess the Theme” retreat that ends in Billy Joel. Then scrap it, stare at your team member until your heads explode and at the 11th hour, awesomeness ensues.

No really, that’s how it happened. For quite some time, Sabina and I had major creative roadblocks. We had two solid ideas – Superheroes and NYC Tourism – both requiring the weather to be on our side as most of it would have been outdoors. Fast forward to the day of retreat, it rained. The sun came out later, but for dramatic purposes, it RAINED.

Usually, Sabina and I come up with a great idea and then plan the crap out of it. This time, we had to phone a friend, okay 5 friends. We asked people around LMHQ and ended up with a cool “Old New York” theme. (Thanks Katie!) Sweet, let’s do it! …uhhh…crickets.

Step Two – Find a restaurant that only serves appetizers.

Through the power of Google, Sabina stumbled upon a restaurant that had a nautical theme. Upon further inspection, it was mostly an appetizer menu. But finding the restaurant wasn’t for naught. Minutes later…and boom, Under the Sea was born. Call it luck, call it desperation, but we had a theme!

From images of turtles and sea creatures, to changing our core values with a sea twist – Sea it Through Their Eyes, Play to Swim – we were on a roll.

Step Three – Rush.

Retreat was on Monday. We finalized this theme at 4:02pm exactly 7 days prior. For some, that may seem like a lot of time. If this was the only thing we were doing, I would agree. Throw in an online training, meetings, travel, a Speak Easy event, blog posts, #SAChat, planning a TedX talk, phone calls – okay, you see where I’m going with this – it made for a lot of hurried planning.

We made it happen because we are awesome like that. Check out the fruits of our labor in the pictures below. The moral of our Under the Sea planning: it will always rain. That advice makes about as much sense as our planning did. You’re welcome.

Excited about Under the Sea!

He likes them, I promise.

Planning gets serious.

Seaglass Carousel at Battery Park, on theme, of course.

Group shot at Fearless Girl.

Fearless women at Fearless Girl.

Dinner at Cowgirl Seahorse

Ending the day with some good old fashioned board games. Rule #1 – start with a nautical themed game.

Melissa Ruiz

I train teams and their leaders to create a culture of connection. Free Hugger. Fitness Enthusiast. Taco lover. IG: melissa.a.ruiz