Home for the Holidays--Founder's Circle Retreat

Best Founder’s Circle Retreat ever!

At least one of the best, that’s for sure. And everyone I talked to agreed.

I think one of the reasons it was so amazing was because of the theme. I mean, who doesn’t love the holidays?

The minute we walked into the welcome dinner, I knew we were in for something special. The room was simply amazing—bright and golden and elegant, a formal atmosphere. Hopefully our demonstrators felt special when they walked in.

And that holiday feeling continued throughout the week. The gathering place (called The Holiday Lodge) created a warm, welcome environment where we gathered together throughout the entire retreat. Wreaths on the windows, leather couches, cozy pillows and blankets, pine boughs and Christmas trees, holiday music playing in the background. . . every minute I spent in the Lodge just got me more and more excited for the holidays!

All the gifts that we gave (and that was a LOT of gifts) were gift wrapped—can you imagine the time it took for our staff to wrap all those gifts? There were pillow gifts every day, as well as daily gifts that demonstrators received in the lodge. The hand-stamped tags and festive packaging on the gifts were definitely a heartfelt expression of appreciation for our demonstrators.

And all that wasn’t enough, the opportunity to visit with demonstrators while stamping was the perfect finishing touch. Sara and I spent most of our time in the lodge, chatting with whomever was around. Many of the demonstrators took excursions, went shopping, and relaxed by the pool during the free days (Thursday and Saturday), dropping in to have a holiday treat, stamp, and just relax whenever they could. I loved the opportunity to chat with just about everyone (I think), although I never get as much time as I want with everyone!

Thursday night was our swap and business share. . . cozy (everyone wears jammies) and warm and casual. Lots of treats and lots of sharing of great projects and business ideas!

Friday was the visit to our manufacturing plant in Kanab—always a highlight for me. This year the demonstrators had a special surprise for our Kanab employees—they had created and signed a thank-you banner and brought gifts. The employees gather together to welcome the demonstrators as they get off the buses, and they were so touched when the demonstrators handed them favors and scrapbook pages and other thoughtful gifts. Demonstrators took a tour, ate lunch with the employees, and did a Make & Take. That night, most of us went to “The Wizard of Oz” at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre, a simply amazing outdoor theater! It was unusually warm (the weather cooperated throughout the entire retreat); I even took off my light cardigan because I was warm, which is unheard of for me.

On Saturday, Sara and I invited everyone who was around to go to lunch with us. . . kind of a spontaneous demonstrator lunch. A couple dozen of us walked to the restaurant, and Sara and I got to introduce many demonstrators to a Utah favorite—Café Rio.

Last night was the closing event—another group dinner (this one was more traditional, with plaid and pine and wood),  a white elephant gift exchange, and an evening spent stamping and decorating trees for the Festival of the Trees, a popular philanthropic event in Salt Lake City that benefits the Primary Children’s Medical Center.

I enjoyed ending the event with a service project because it tied in so well with the theme—sharing and caring and giving. That’s really what the holidays are all about. The entire retreat captured that idea so well, and everyone I talked to said they had enjoyed it so much and didn’t want it to end!

All I can say now (except thanks to our amazing Special Events team and home office staff who helped out) is bring on the holidays!