In June of 2021, Willis Dady hosted a day-long Staff Retreat at the Meadowlark Pavillion at Wanatee Park. As part of our Mental Health and Wellness focus, we have received a grant from International Paper to provide days of rest and relationship building with our Willis Dady team. This grant allows Willis Dady to cover staff wages, provide food, and have some needed fun with our staff. Maddie, our Employment Services Intern, wrote about our June staff retreat and the impact it had on her below.
After three months of incredible work, the Willis Dady staff came together again for a day of team building, fun, and of course lots of food. It was a chance for each individual to step away from the stress of the job and focus on building a supportive community amongst staff. The day was being led by our very own leadership team, so we all knew we were in for a treat as we drove up to the peaceful pavilion.
We started the day with a delicious breakfast paired with friendly conversation between coworkers. Although everyone was still drinking their morning coffee, the
excitement for the day ahead could be felt by all. Our first activities were a chance to get to know each other while learning strong teamwork and communication skills. As you looked across the tables you could see people who had had limited interactions with each other before that day, laughing over a funny PowerPoint or drawing they had created together. In one station we described our coworkers as things such as ocean life or breakfast food while at another we discussed a few
impactful memories we had made while working at Willis Dady.
These moments prompted deep discussion but also served as a chance to learn more about the people we are doing this great work with. At a different station, we had discussions about miscommunication and the impact it has on the work we do with each other and our clients. Giving good directions, understanding the conditions each person is under and being willing to ask questions, proved to be important components of good communication and teamwork.
After a break for a delicious lunch from Willie Ray's Q Shack and plenty of conversation, we started up with an afternoon of working directly with our team members. It was such a joy to work together doing fun puzzles and activities while the directors sneakily added in learning experiences. We built supportive housing for an egg, worked together to count to twenty, and ran from table to table to put together puzzles. There were lots of loud voices, laughing, and funny photos being taken. Not only did this create some great memories, but it also brought us closer to the people we are working with.
As we wrapped up our staff fun day, we shared some of what we had learned about each other and about best practices for heading back into work. People brought up feeling supported in coping with difficult times, the realizations they made about what’s required to have good communication, and fun facts they never knew about one of their coworkers. Both joyful and emotional this time to reflect on these shared experiences allowed the impactful moments of the day to find a permanent place in all of us.
I think I speak for the whole team of staff when I say we are looking forward to the next chance we get to have a day just like this one!
Thank you, International Paper! Your funding of this amazing day led our staff to learn an incredible amount about how our values and beliefs about our work, but also how they impact our work with each other and ultimately our clients. Check out International Paper for all your recycling, paper, and packaging needs