A couple of weeks ago, I was a guest of the national advisory board of a nonprofit called A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. Naturally, the meeting was held in a national park -- in this case, Mount Rainier, where I took the picture above from the steps of our conference room. On site, board members could see the ministry's labors up close. The ministry's summer volunteers gave us a taste of their work. And we were inspired both by their words and by the stunning surroundings.
The next week I heard about a board retreat that a Midwestern seminary recently held in the Colorado Rockies. "What a great place for a retreat," I said to myself.
But then I wondered -- is it OK for a seminary to meet in a resort? Or should the board always hold their events on campus, where members can talk to the students, see the infrastructure, and meet the staff?
I'd like to think that getting away has its benefits, especially when the meeting planners are trying to foster creative thinking. That's what I found at the Lexington Seminars, which I wrote about last year in In Trust. (Below you can see some of the conference participants at the Asticou Inn in Maine, where the seminars were held for about 10 years. People affiliated with member schools can log in and read the entire article I wrote here.)
Another consideration: At Mount Rainier, the biggest boon to the meeting was that there was no Internet or cell phone service available in the whole national park. That means board members stayed focused on the meeting, not checking their iPhones and BlackBerries.
Does your board always hold its meetings on campus? Or do you take your meetings off-site to a retreat setting? What is your favorite place to hold a meeting?