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A retreat in the Lake District and South Sudan

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15th Nov 2013

IMG_0169We always look forward to getting together for our retreats, but this time it felt strange that there would only be three of us, with Gopal possibly joining us from Juba for a session on skype. 

It’s surprising how different each retreat feels, even though the basic formula is always the same. We arrive at lunchtime one day, and leave at lunchtime two days later. We work together all day and some of the evening, have a long walk on the second afternoon and go out for an evening meal. A simple formula but surprisingly good at creating opportunities for new thinking, supporting each other and having fun.

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A rich picture of recent work experiences

 We experimented with using rich pictures to express some of the themes and struggles in our work over the last few months. It’s liberating not to use words! I had been thinking about how useful it had been to spend time talking directly with a client to understand their needs at a deeper level – in contrast to a piece of work where I felt at several layers removed from the ‘end user’ (see photo right).

We played a virtual scavenger hunt on our walk round the lake which got us talking about our grand-parents. Our list of 10 things to find included finding something which reminded us of them in some way. Brenda and I both found that nothing in the Lake District provided any link with our grand-parents as they came from completely different urban settings in France and Poland!

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The ‘tech share’ session

In the tech and resources session Bruce had us enthusing over smart pens, while I had discovered the range of coloured Sharpie mini-felt tips for flipcharts, and we had all brought along books of inspirations for games and activities in facilitating workshops.

The highlight of the retreat though, was celebrating Bruce’s 60th birthday with Gopal sitting in his converted container in Juba projected onto a big screen in the room. It really felt like he was there joining in, and after Bruce had opened his box of Lego (bought in Denmark) and book on prehistoric art (from the British Museum exhibition), we carried on all together into a session discussing our approaches to organisation assessments!

Celebrating Bruce's 60th with Gopal skyping from Juba!

Celebrating Bruce’s 60th with Gopal skyping from Juba!

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