This past Monday and Tuesday, the Shir Tikvah Staff all got together for a Staff Retreat at a beautiful location near North Branch. Rabbi Latz, Rabbi Rodich, Wendy, John, Sara and I were all on hand to go over this year's agenda. Here's a brief "play by play" of our gathering.
Since Rabbi Rodich and I are Shir Tikvah "newbies," the first thing the group did was a Get-to-Know-You exercise. It was a relatively painless ice-breaker and while I won't share too many secrets, we all agreed that yes, for the film about the Life and Times of John Humleker, Bill Murray would be a GREAT John.
We had some lunch, and then onto the task at hand. First up, the Shir Tikvah Vision Statement. We broke into groups of two and discussed how we felt our positions at Shir Tikvah coincided with the Vision Statement, and why we do the things we do. It was so inspiring to hear everyone's answers and the discussion really made it clear how much everyone enjoys coming to work and truly loves this congregation.
The discussion of the Vision Statement and the why lead into talking about how we construct our weekly Staff Meetings, and how to really make the most of that hour of time we have together. Everyone came up with great ideas, particularly how important it is to be proactive rather than reactive when scheduling events or projects. We also unanimously agreed that Fleur (the Shir Tikvah office dog) should never again be a note taker for the Staff Meetings, due to her lack of thumbs.
We broke for dinner, Rabbi Latz & John made some amazing salmon on the grill. John maybe got a little too close to the grill, but was willing to sacrifice his knuckle hair for the good of the group. It was a beautiful evening complete with a little wine, a campfire, s'mores, and of course, great company.
The next morning began with an egg cook-off between Wendy and Rabbi Rodich. I won't shell out too many egg-straordinary details, but they were both egg-cellent. Following breakfast, Rabbi Rodich led us in a text study to get our brains working. After that, (now don't get jealous), we spent the next 3 hours going over the Shir Tikvah calendar, working backwards from June 2015. As dull as it may seem, it was incredibly helpful and a great way to get us all on the same page and working in the same direction.
We wrapped up early Tuesday afternoon and headed back to the metro. I think we would all agree that the Staff Retreat was a great way to bring us all together, without disruption (other than Sara freaking out at the sight of any insect, large or small), and begin the New Year with an organized, fresh start.