Back in early February, Palante headed to our newest outpost in Long Beach, California for our winter retreat. Retreats are a big change of pace: our team is distributed across both coasts and in between, and we're typically quite occupied with day-to-day work. Twice a year, we dedicate a full weekend to the retreat and put together an agenda of longer conversations we think will benefit from being in the same room (with the occasional marathon video conference participant).
This retreat fell on an uncharacteristically rainy weekend. We had to set out a few pots to catch drips in our rental house and wade through small rivers to on our food and coffee runs. While the weather was a bit distressing for our California-based workers and facilitator, 60 degrees and heavy rain in February is still a welcome change from the East Coast.
A big topic on the agenda was sustainability. Our facilitator Irina lead us through an exercise where we each wrote out what would make us personally sustainable; we then listed out how the co-op could achieve those goals for everyone, including more time off, ways to make our work more efficient, opportunities for professional development, and benefits that reflect our various life situations. From this, we prioritized and came to consensus on a few policies to develop outside the retreat.
The winter retreat is also where we set our budget for the year, so it's a great time to do some quick calculations on how the policy changes we agree to will affect the bottom line. Over the two days we spent together we also had rich conversations about our approach to project management, our role within the Backdrop and CiviCRM communities, and (always a riveting topic) billing. After we wrapped the agenda we feasted on plenty of delicious pastries and a giant pot of veggie chili, and battled each other in Mario Party and karaoke. At the end of the weekend we were all exhausted, but we divided up the post-retreat action items and jumped right back into a full week of work. And in a few short months, we'll be ready to meet again.