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Working Creatively with Groups


Posted on February 19, 2007

By Betty LeDoux-Morris, CMP

Group Recreation/Team Building and Spa seem to be on the rise again for corporate groups and associations. Unfortunately post 911, groups had to watch their extra dollars and were essentially eliminating the “extras” from their meetings. However, with the growing awareness of the true value that Group Recreation/Team Building and Spa have to offer, more and more groups are now arranging for their attendees to experience some recuperative time during meetings…which is great news for me!!!   I have often said and would argue with anyone at Saddlebrook, that I have the best job at the Resort. As Director of Group Activities and Spa Sales, I have the good fortune of helping Planners schedule some fun time for their group…Director of Fun!!!

One of the challenges most groups have is selecting an activity that fits their group. This can be quite difficult when the dynamics of the group are so varied. However, with some continued dialogue with the Planner and thinking out of the box, a customized event can be planned that will ensure success of the event and kudos for the planner. For example, we have customized our “regular” events to meet the needs of the client by including two or three-day programs that include a leadership aspect on our Executive Challenge Course (Teambuilding), a more light-hearted event at our Sports Village followed by regenerative time in our spa.  Because this is considered a true “teambuilding” event with very clear objectives, obtaining funding for such activities from the educational budgets works very well.  It is a legitimate expense for the company, the attendees have a good time – while learning some valuable lessons and tools that they take with them to the workplace – and they leave the meeting feeling that they were able to truly experience the property all while accomplishing the goals of the company. In times past, it was not uncommon for groups to come to Saddlebrook and not allow their attendees to experience all the beautiful amenities that we have to offer. Consequently, they would leave in a more negative state of mind than when they arrived. Fortunately, companies are getting away from this line of thinking and seeing the value in such exercises.

In my opinion, the essential element that helps to make me successful in my role of planning with the groups is the unique ability to work creatively - - basically because we have such an option-rich property. I’m sure that many planners run into a situation where the client wants to be on the beach. While we can not miraculously create a beach for the group, we can certainly create a beach atmosphere right in our sports village area with the lake, sand volleyball courts. Add some tiki torches, hula hoops, beach balls along with the sand, and you have created the atmosphere they were looking for. Of course, the key in my area is to add the fun events – the tug-of-war in the sand, the super duper sling shot event with the water balloons, limbo contests, etc., and a good time is had by all.      

More to come…….Wednesday Spa / Friday Teambuilding

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Team Building Scavenger Hunts

If you need a good team building exercise in Los Angeles, Chicago, or DC, you should try out a scavenger hunt from Watson Adventures. It was a really positive experience for everyone in my work place.

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