I spent the last six days in Cabo San Lucas Mexico with the Brigham Young University (BYU) Center for Entrepreneurship Board Retreat. We traveled down with around 45 couples who flew in from all across the United States. These couples are all donors to the University who all share a mutual passion for promoting entrepreneurship and mentoring entrepreneurs and they are all people we have grown very close to over the years of going on these annual retreats.
This particular trip was different than usual because I was the one who planned it for the group. I spent months working on the itinerary for the trip, planning out activities that would serve to bring everyone closer together, help people form tighter bonds with one another, help new people integrate in to the group, as well as incorporating an educational activity and a service project activity into the events. My goals for the trip were to 1) create opportunities for people to network with one another and strengthen friendships, 2) to have an educational session where we would all have the benefit of learning something new that would help us to become better, and 3) give an opportunity for everyone to perform an act of service which utilized their entrepreneurial experiences to bless the lives of others.
To accomplish Goal 1 I setup several networking activities:
*In advance of the trip I asked that everyone send us their baby pictures and their wedding photo. Then at the event we set out all the baby pictures of each couple on one set of tables and across the room we laid out the wedding photos of the couples. Everyone had to try and guess which couple was in the baby pics and then the wedding pics. It was a lot of fun trying to guess who was who and it was fun to see how much people had changed from their baby pic to their wedding pic.
*We played Minute To Win It Games. We broke the group into teams and each team was given a different colored bandana. Then they all competed against one another in a series of 60 second games like The Nut Stacker, and Junk In The Trunk, and other super funny games. It was a riot to see how seriously people took these one minute challenges!
*We held a dinner with a Talent Show where we were able to get a glimpse of other talents people had beyond just their sharp business acumen. That was followed by Dance Party.
*We had a Rook Tournament where couples competed against each other playing cards.
*We played the Newlywed Game against our spouses where each couple has to answer questions at the same time to see if they truly know each other or not. We all laughed so hard our cheeks hurt at the end of it.
*We planned several different group excursions such as renting a private catamaran sailboat to take our group to go out snorkeling together, camel riding, an ATV adventure, and the favorite was going out on high speed Zodiac Boats to go and chase the Humpback Whales…amazing!
*For dinners each night I wanted to makes sure that everyone had the chance to meet new couples and spend time with them so to do that I created a big spreadsheet where I took every couple and assigned them to different table groups each night of the trip at different restaurants on the resort. I went through and tried to put them with entirely new groups each night so they could constantly sit down with different people and talk with them over dinner. I think everyone really appreciated being pushed out of their comfort zones in order to expand their relationships with other people.
To accomplish Goal #2 I setup an educational session:
I asked one of the couples who is celebrating 50 years of marriage this year to give us a talk on what the secrets are to having a happy and fun filled marriage that lasts, speaking from her perspective and then his perspective. They shared some incredible insights from their years of experience and we all learned so much from hearing the stories they shared. They talked about things like the importance of fully committing to the marriage, as well as the importance of talking to each other about everything and the need to always be laughing together. They even covered the importance of regular physical intimacy as a couple to bond you together. And most important, they talked about enduring the hard times together. Just their talk alone was enough to have made the trip worth it!
To accomplish Goal #3 of performing service:
We took the group to a local private school in Cabo were we held a mentoring session for the high school students in the junior and senior classes. We sat on a panel and we shared our experiences with them and told them life lessons we had learned as entrepreneurs that we felt could be helpful to them in their own lives. It was such a great group of kids and it felt really good to give back by mentoring those students.
Organizing and directing the trip was exhausting to say the least. I only got a few hours of sleep each night and I was going non-stop all day and night during the trip so by the time the trip came to an end and I flew home last night I was (and still am) emotionally and physically spent. It was all I could do to get through the meetings I had all day today back in Utah…. But as tired as I feel, I am so pleased that the trip was a success and that everyone had a really great time. The group of people I serve on that Board with are people I genuinely love and I consider all of them very dear friends for life. They are the reason all the hard work was worth it.
It is often said that you love those you serve and that is true, but in this case I already loved them dearly so serving them just made me love them all the more. I’m so grateful to have them as friends in my life.
Here are just a few fun photos from the trip:
~Amy Rees Anderson