STATE Retreat 2021

August 26, 2021
After years of dreaming of this, we decided to make it happen. Of course, pulling a trip like this off during a pandemic was not ideal, but we worked extra hard to make it safe. And like everyone in the world after this last year, this team realllllyyy deserved a break. Nine of us piled in cars and headed to St. Simon's Island for 3 days of activities, lots of laughing and weridness, and good old fashioned bonding. 



The first night was our Talent Show. Something every one had been working on for 2 months! 
And, boy. It did not disappoint. 
Curious what everyone did?
Choreographed a three person dance routine with 2 life size dolls. They danced to our studio's favorite song, Makeba by Jain.  The crowd went WILD. 
An almost ASMR-style comedown where she made an origami lily while Hawaiian tunes played. She wore a Japanese melon hat the entire time and it was the cutest thing in the world. 
Selected a volunteer (Deah) and sketched a live portrait! It was amazing and looks just like her.
Secretly taught myself to play the ukelele the last 2 months, and performed Sublime's Santeria on my glittery golden uke, while wearing head-to-toe gold.
Choreographed a hip hop dance routine to Let It Go by DJ Khaled (feat. T’s one true love, Justin Bieber)  in a classic track suit. If anyone needs a backup dancer for a music video, she is your gal. 
In one week she taught herself how to play the wooden spoons and played them to Oklahoma while dressed like a farmer. The crowd really lost it for this one. 
Shocked us all with a scene from Forest Gump - where Jenny plays guitar naked and is interrupted by Forest. So many dramatic twists and turns! 
Very theatrically set up a table with 6 t-shirts while Final Countdown played and got us pumped, and then proceeded to speed-fold them like a freaking magician!
There are no words for the brilliance we witnessed during CC's segment. After years of making us laugh at work, she performed a 15 minute surrealist comedy act based on life at STATE that had us all laughing so hard our faces were covered in tears. I can say with certainty that I have never laughed so hard in my entire life. 
The next day, we traveled to a remote island where planned to play a series of team competition games. We called this portion of the trip Treasure Island, as it would end with digging up buried treasure. We spent weeks planning every detail, gathering the props, making old-timey pirate paper in the oven for each clue. But, nature had other plans. After an 1.5 hour boat ride to get there, the approaching storms came in faster than we anticipated, and we had to turn around and speed back to the house in very scary weather. The dark skies and far-off lightening made our hearts pound as the boat chased one storm, while another storm was on our tail chasing us. We got pelted in rain at one point and huddled under towels to soften the sting, laughing and calming each other's nerves. We felt such relief when we finally docked - the sun shining by then. Of course! 
In hindsight, this was just the way things were meant to be. The necessary act of letting go when plans go off the rails. Learning how to pivot and band together. Aren't those the desired take aways from such team-building trips anyways?! The exhilaration of racing through the storm, far from land, just our small and mighty team, was unlike any other. And, like any classic leadership activity, we all felt closer and stronger on the other side. Our island games would have been amazing, but this alternative plan was even better. 
Would it be a STATE retreat if we didn’t give everyone weird trophies on the last night?! Tulsi suggested we drive to the pier to take a photo of them all together, and so we did just that. ;) 
It was an amazing few days. Better than I could have ever dreamed. I feel SO LUCKY to work with these women, to genuinely care about each other, and to be able to make fun stuff every single day. Thanks for letting us take a few days off.  We needed it!