Blue Mountain Summit FAM Tour

IMG_2630On July 14 and 15 Summit Team Building and Blue Mountain resorts partnered together to offer a unique FAM tour. For those of you that are not familiar with what a Fam tour is it is a short form term for Familiarization tour. Hotel, meeting, conference and resort properties frequently invite event planners and potential clients for a FAM tour. Essentially this is a showcase or a sales presentation. The idea is to provide the participant with all the information they need to book the facility for a future meeting or event, and to build a relationship which is the first and most important step in the sales process.

Together Summit and Blue Mountain designed a FAM that was fun, engaging and educational. 26 participants arrived on the Thursday for a beautiful reception and dinner in the village Conference Centre Atrium. This beautiful space with massive windows and a comfortable patio was set with stunning table décor and the locally inspired meal was tasty and unique. After dinner the group retired to the Silver Creek Room for desert and to be entertained by Scott Kress and his Learning in Thin Air Keynote.

This gripping presentation motivated the group for an early morning hike up Blue Mountain the next morning. Setting off at 6:30 am the group hiked the Village Way trail winding through the beautiful forested hills of Blue Mountain to the top of the Niagara Escarpment. A fun and unexpected surprise was to meet over 300 participants of the annual meeting of the fitness group November Project. They welcomed us into their group as we all walked back to the base of the mountain together. Truly inspiring!

After that we started with an amazing breakfast then kicked off the morning with some team development exercises. At Summit we view team development as the training oriented workshops that help teams and individuals perform at a higher level based on a better understanding of the tools, strategy and theory behind high performance. The group would need this warm-up as they were about to embark on a custom designed Blue Mountain Quest.

The Blue Mountain Quest is one of the unique and custom team building programs Summit has designed for Blue Mountain. This scavenger hunt based program puts the groups into smaller competitive teams and challenges them to find various locations on the property, to complete strategic team challenges, and to capture it all with creative photos. In this case we replaced the standard FAM walk about with a Blue Mountain Quest designed to take the group to over 15 different locations on the resort property where they would meet Blue Mountain team members including the Head Chef, Conference Services Manger, AV Technicians, and see the various accommodation rooms, meeting rooms, dining venues, and recreation and team building attractions along the way.

The Quest ended with a ride up the gondola to the top of the escarpment for a lunch with a beautiful view. A great time was had by all and this new and improved FAM tour was deemed to be a winner!

Feeling left out? Don’t worry, this was not the last of the Blue Mountain Summit FAM Tours. We will be hosting similar events a few times a year. Keep in touch to learn of our next dates.

Make the Most of Your Next Meeting

Team Development Programs“Meetings get a bad rap, and deservedly so – most are disorganized and distracted. But they can be a critical tool for getting everyone on the same page.”

-Justin Rosenstein

Studies show that meetings fill an increasing number of hours in the average workday yet, according to most employees, they are responsible for more wasted time than office politics, social media or chatting with co-workers. This is sobering in light of a 1996 whitepaper by MCI called “Meetings in America” which reported there were 13 million business meetings a day in the USA. Today, that is likely a much bigger number.

But meetings are also a necessary part of any business. They can help people share information, see the bigger picture and find novel ways to collaborate and problem solve. From a simple team building perspective, meetings can provide people with time together; time to get to know one another and build a shared history. With a bit of planning, your meetings will leave employees with a sense of shared purpose and clarity around how best to tackle the job at hand.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article: Run Meetings That Are Fair to Introverts, Women, and Remote Workers, Renee Cullinan discusses the lost opportunities leaders and teams experience when they unconsciously create a meeting environment that is not inclusive to all participants.

Introverts are often overlooked and unheard from in a typical noisy and free flowing team meetings. The extroverts, who talk to think, do not provide the time or the opportunity for the introverts, who think to talk, to process, think about and to respond. The introverts are then labeled as unengaged or less knowledgeable and as a result underutilized and undervalued in meetings.

Conference calls are notoriously unproductive and provide a breeding ground for multi-tasking, day dreaming, and disengagement. On most conference calls there are only a few active participants and the rest merely ‘listen’. As a reality of businesses with geographically separated team members, a leader must focus on strategies to make the dreaded conference call engaging and to provide strategies to encourage full participation for all participants.

Whether you like to admit it or not women still struggle in today’s workplace. Countless studies have shown that women are more likely to be interrupted in a meeting or to have their ideas taken less seriously. In fact a taxonomy of terms such as “manterrupting”, “mansplaining”, and “bropropriating” has emerged to identify common meeting behaviours.

As a leader you are tasked with getting the most from your teams and running a productive meeting is a critical tool you use. When you are deliberate and design a meeting to include all team members equally you can realize much greater gains.

Feature Program: Reaching New Heights Blue Mountain

DSC_0158Summit Team Building is the official team building partner of Blue Mountain resort. Although we deliver team building program at any location you request, Blue Mountain provides us with some unique features which we can build a team building program around.

The Reaching New Heights team building program at Blue Mountain takes place on the Blue Mountain Woodlot Ropes Course. This program is designed to build strong trusting relationships among team members, to promote communication and team problem solving skills, and to provide a fun and inspirational environment for individuals to step outside their comfort zones and accomplish something truly memorable.

Summit utilizes the Woodlot Ropes Course which is a challenge course built on telephone poles and presents over 30 unique and challenging obstacles. There is a wide variety of challenges to meet almost anyone’s needs. Starting just feet from the ground and maxing out at close to 40 feet in the air all challenges are designed for the physical abilities of the average adult. Translation: you do not need to be a superstar athlete or in top physical shape to participate. This program is open to almost all physical abilities and presents options of different challenge for those looking for a greater challenge or something on the milder side.

We begin this team building program with a few warm up exercises to focus the team on teamwork, communication and building trust. We then put on harnesses and helmets and make our way to the course. The first challenge is a team challenge where the team must set a goal and transport product to customer. In this case the products are cups of water and the customer is a bucket at the end of the first section of ropes course. This is a challenge that must be approached as a team and only once the team begins to collaborate and communicate are they successful.

This earns them their pass to the high course for those that choose to embark on this adventure. Working in groups of three, the participants navigate a series of fun and exciting high ropes challenges. At each challenge there are instructions asking them to work together in a specific way. This exhilarating experience is a true bonding experience building trust, relationship, confidence, problem solving, and communication within the team.

Contact us today to learn more about the reaching New Heights team building program at Blue Mountain resort.


South Pole Expedition Announcement

NPSummit President Scott Kress is always looking for his next adventure. As you may know, Scott has summited Mount Everest, climbed the 7 Summits (the highest point on each continent), skied to the magnetic North Pole, and guided ill and injured Canadian soldiers on various expeditions through the charity True Patriot Love.

After climbing Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica, for the second time this past January, Scott decided he wanted to see more of Antarctica.

Scott and three other adventurers have set a plan in motion to ski to the South Pole and to do it as what is referred to as an unassisted and unsupported expedition style. What this means is the team will have no assistance beyond their own power (no sled dogs, kites, or machines of any kind) and will not access any outside support once the expedition begins. This means all the equipment, food, fuel and supplies the team will need for the entire expedition will be with them from the start. No re-supply part way.

You may be thinking this is not that big a deal, but what the team is attempting to do has been done by fewer than 40 people in history. This epic journey begins at the Ronne Ice Shelf on the edge of the frozen Antarctic continent and travels through remote, challenging and unexplored terrain, for almost 1000km to reach the South Pole. This scenic, but committing route skirts the western flank of the massive Foundation Ice Stream and the Transantarctic Mountains, then turns south toward the Pole.

The team will use cross-country skis and pull their supplies in sleds weighing in excess of 200 pounds as they travel for 45-50 days in temperatures ranging from -20c to -40c without the wind-chill added by the constant Antarctic katabatic winds.

Only 1 previous Canadian has ever skied to the South Pole via the route the team will travel and when successful Kress will become one of less than 45 people in the world to complete what is referred to as the Adventure Grand Slam – people who have climbed the 7 Summits and skied to the North Pole and the South Pole.

This adventure will begin in mid-November and stay tuned for more details as the expedition preparation progresses.

Sponsorship opportunities are available if you see a way to use this expedition to build performance within your organization.