Corporate Retreat Team Building in the Berkshires
March 29, 2017
Corporate retreats are far too often associated with an afternoon spent in cramped quarters practicing trust falls and listening to someone from HR speak about productivity and goal-setting. While that might be the route some companies take, it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. More and more businesses are realizing that investing in their employees can have fantastic outcomes, and that includes how they choose to design their corporate retreats, too.
This year, bring your team to The Berkshires. Few things are as life-changing and energizing as a chance to reach common ground surrounded by the awesome vistas of Western Massachusetts. Trust us, a weekend by the lake at The Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires and a partnership with one of the groups below will build morale like you can’t imagine.
The Berkshire Outdoor Center is beautiful as is, but add in a strong staff that excels in corporate team building and you have a retreat that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is effective. This spot uses a combination of simple techniques (their “talking stick” teaches people to take turns speaking and encourages the development of listening skills) and adventurous exercises (zip lines through a challenge course, anyone?) to create excitement that lasts long past the time everyone packs up and goes home.
Crab Apple Whitewater is a family-owned and operated company that offers whitewater trips throughout New England. Their Massachusetts trips including both rafting and treks in inflatable kayaks, and tours leave daily from April through mid-October. Trips can be either mild or a little bit on the wilder side and there are half- and full-day routes available, making Crap Apple an easy addition to a jam-packed retreat schedule. Snacks and lunches are often included, and with strong teamwork necessary to master the frothing rapids, it’s an exciting and invigorating way to get your staff united toward a common goal.
As Greylock Discovery Tours so aptly puts it, “all work and no play is no fun.” Their vision of a corporate retreat emphasizes unique activities that help attendees gain perspective – often literally. Tours include hiking, biking, canoe trips, treks through historical sites, and cultural experiences, all interspersed with problem-solving tasks that seek to stimulate everything from quantitative reasoning to artistic ability. With scavenger hunts and orienteering competitions on the menu, there is surely something everyone in your group can excel at.
Berkshire HorseWorks is what they like to call a “horse/human collaboration.” The organization is incredibly skilled at using equine therapy to teach everything from communication to coping mechanisms to leadership skills, with lots of emphasis on empathy and stress management along the way. As one past participant says, “You can’t pretend like horses like you can with people.” As your employees work with the horses and become more and more cohesive, they’ll be able to better address challenges and reach goals without the flaring of tempers and loud disagreements that so often accompany corporate growth. The programs are led by EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) trained and certified professionals so you know you’re getting top-notch guidance that practically guarantees results.
Imagine being locked in a strange, mysterious room, and the only way you can get out is to use all your cunning and ingenuity to solve the devious puzzles left for you to discover. It may sound like a soon-to-debut reality show, but it’s actually the premise behind Get Out Mindgames in Pittsfield, MA. Live-action escape games are all the craze these days, and they promise tons of fun while also promoting teamwork and creative thinking. Get Out rotates their featured games, with zany offerings that include being exposed to a “deadly contagion” in Futoratec Laboratory (it’s your job to find the cure). Rates are reasonable, and it’s likely something your team has never done before – two pluses when you’re trying to shake up the status quo without blowing your budget.
As a company serving locations across the United States, TeamBonding works hard to put together activities that highlight and take full advantage of all the local color, and their programs in the Berkshires are no exception. Their impactful team-building events include creative exploits like Escape From Werewolf Village (a puzzling game that requires communication and cooperation), Corporate Survivor, School for Spies, Go Green Racing, Operation Military Care, and Clue the Scavenger Hunt. Most programs are only a couple hours long, so you can fill your day with a variety of activities or use the extra time for a relaxing picnic or a bit of actual work, your choice!
Ramblewild calls itself “the premier tree-to-tree adventure park in the Northeast,” but in layman’s terms, it’s really a massive treehouse on steroids. The aerial park includes trails strung high in the sky, with treks suitable for all ability levels. The aim is to help adventurers build self-confidence and learn to trust their teammates – it’s much easier to traverse the ropes if you have people encouraging you every step of the way and even guiding you over the tricky parts. There’s also a suspended rock wall, a trapeze, a step-swing, and an obstacle called “Riding High” that sends participants over a ravine in a horse saddle. Overall, Ramblewild is full of surprises and is a great way to get employees out of their element so they can start thinking outside the box.
Start your corporate retreat off on the right foot by booking your team into the beautiful lakeside cottages at The Lake House. Our seven guest cottages can be rented individually or in their entirety, housing just a few executives or a larger group of employees. With the waterfront only steps away and luxuries like gourmet kitchens and stone gas fireplaces available inside, our Berkshires resort is the ideal place to begin the ultimate team-building weekend.