Embarking on a transformative journey with Yellowpine Consulting, FOA's annual training retreat transcended the ordinary, weaving a tapestry of growth, camaraderie, and joy. From competitive team-building at Cypher Zone Amusement Park to cultural exchanges over a shared lunch, their insights not only elevated our skills but also created lasting bonds and unforgettable moments.
Every year, FOA staff undergo a training and development retreat aimed at nurturing the skills and knowledge of employees, to enhance team efficiency and adaptability, to meet evolving challenges. This year we were presented with an incredible opportunity to engage in a transformative team-building experience led by Jeremy Horne and Heather Powers from Yellowpine Consulting. Their expertise not only steered us in shaping the vision and mission of FOA but also provided invaluable support in establishing best practices for our organizational growth.
As a team, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of our current strengths and weaknesses, carefully assessing external opportunities and threats. This pivotal examination allowed us to identify our foundational strengths which have enabled us to excel in our endeavors, pinpoint areas for improvement, and strategically align our program initiatives with opportunities in our domain. The team-building process also served as a revelation, imparting lessons on effective collaboration while underscoring the significance of taking breaks to unplug, rejuvenate, and celebrate our achievements, thereby mitigating the risk of burnout.
The leadership team also engaged in a strategic exercise to revisit the organizations core values, our mission and vision. This process was invaluable in defining our identity and aspirations. It was during this exercise that we recognized FOA's driving forces—courage, compassion, citizenship, community, and excellence. Subsequently, we formulated a mission and vision statement that articulates our ambitious goals and aspirations for the empowerment of African youth.
Contributing to the evolution of FOA's mission and vision to align with our work and aspirations deepened my sense of belonging within the organization
A highlight of our experience was the visit to the Cypher Zone Amusement Park, where we immersed ourselves in competitive games like bowling, mini-golf, and laser tag. Team spirit soared as we formed teams, engaging in healthy competition and relishing the joy of achieving excellence collectively. The laser tag session, in particular, not only fostered alliances but also sparked lighthearted conversations about our hypothetical prowess in the military, adding immeasurable value to the day.
Following our adventure, we savored a delightful lunch, a unique experience for Jeremy, as sharing meals from the same plate is not a common practice in Canada. This cultural exchange added an extra layer of enjoyment to our time together, reinforcing the bonds we had formed.
The day concluded on a sweet note as we all indulged in an ice cream experience, encapsulating our memorable day with a shared lesson: teamwork truly makes the dream work. Our time with Jeremy and Heather was not only instructive but also filled with laughter, camaraderie, and the shared joy of accomplishment—an experience that will resonate with our team for a long time to come.