When your organization is committed to building team connection and resilience through planning regular corporate retreats and excursions, it can become an interesting challenge to keep things fresh & exciting. One way to change things up is to switch up the venue – if that’s the case, check out these 5 Amazing Corporate Retreat Venues in Ontario. Another way is to change the focus, idea, or theme of the event. Read on for some fresh corporate retreat ideas!
Themes are a great way to shift the dynamic if & when the idea of going on a retreat has become a bit stale. At the Edge, we love activities & ideas for corporate team building like our campfire, wood-fired sauna, and staples like canoeing & SUP, yoga, wood-fired pizza parties, snowshoeing, and more . . . but we also find it’s important to build an overall theme that can connect to your organization and team’s goals and vision.
When you choose a theme or explore one of these ideas for team retreats, any activity you do can be wrapped into it. For example, we’ve taken activities like “learning how to canoe” and turned them into co-operative team adventures complete with a treasure map and buried treasure that, when dug up, reflects back key learnings from earlier in the retreat. It just takes a little bit of creativity.
Any idea can be used as inspiration for your retreat theme. Is there a popular movie, book, or tv show that your team will love? What is your work community telling you they’d like to experience? Here are six of our favourite themes for team-building retreats at the Edge:
The Shackleton Expedition – Our signature Strategic Planning retreat
Inspire your executive team to move mountains with a business retreat theme born out of the harrowing tale of Ernest Shackleton, an early 20th century explorer who set out on the ship ‘Endurance’ with 27 men in hopes of completing the first ever land crossing of the Antarctic continent.
- A creative retreat invitation evoking Shackleton’s famous job ad
- Paddling or snowshoeing to buried treasure
- Strategic planning experiences and conversations themed around “if your organization/department was a ship” and “treasure mapping” out your personal & professional goals and obstacles.
- Outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating
- Sessions on winter survival skills such as building a shelter or starting a fire
- A visit to a local dog sledding or ice fishing operation
- A team challenge or competition focused on building and testing a prototype of a winter survival device
- A “lifeboat scenario” workshop where attendees must work together to make decisions and solve problems in a simulated emergency situation
- A presentation or discussion on the leadership and problem-solving skills demonstrated by Sir Ernest Shackleton during his expeditions
The Spy Who “Flossed” Me
We created this retreat for a dentist team looking for corporate get together ideas – feel free to replace “flossed” with an applicable word for your industry!
- Secret missions that attendees must accomplish throughout their retreat
- A special dress-up dinner with bond-style music and themed dishes.
- Cooperative team challenges like working together to cross a lazer-field
- A storyline and retreat invitation out of mission impossible.
- Spy-themed challenges or puzzles for attendees to solve
- An espionage-themed escape room experience
- A session on basic self-defense techniques
- A “spy school” workshop where attendees can learn tradecraft skills such as codebreaking
The Hero’s Journey
This was a retreat we offered for our own team, which took heavy inspiration from JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
- Self-inquiry around attendees’ “inner hero”,
- A team campfire challenge evoking Bilbo’s adventure with the three trolls
- The facilitator taking on the role of the wizard and guide
- A team-building experience themed around escaping the spider’s web
- A retreat storyline that follows the beats of the traditional hero’s journey complete with a mapping experience to discover the treasures and obstacles of your organization.
- A presentation or discussion on the hero’s journey as it relates to your organization’s mission and values
- A session on storytelling and the hero’s journey archetype
- A workshop on identifying and pursuing personal goals and dreams
Rest & Relaxation
Perhaps what we really need is to kick back and relax and build your team’s resiliency – if you haven’t got a lot of time, this is our top pick of one day company retreat ideas.
- A “do it yourself” spa day with guided self-care activities
- A meditation/sound bath or gentle, relaxing yoga class
- Massages or reflexology sessions booked for attendees
- Creation of dream boards for personal and professional goal setting.
- Outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, or nature photography
- Cooking or baking classes focused on healthy, nourishing meals
- Sessions on mindfulness or stress management techniques
- Sleepover-themed movie & game night
A Tom Thompson Mystery
This fun idea is special to our Algonquin Park location on Kawawaymog Lake, which was well-loved by the famed painter.
- A guided watercolor “paint night” inspired by Tom Thompson’s work
- A storytelling session with a local historian or expert on Tom Thompson and his life
- A Tom Thompson murder mystery dinner party in a historic log cabin
- A campfire session with ghost stories and nighttime team-building games
- A paddle to some of Tom Thompson’s favorite painting locations and around the islands he loved in Algonquin Park
These ideas for corporate team building could be a fit for your organization – or we could create something new and current! The Shackleton Expedition and The Hero’s Journey both have a strong focus on teamwork and problem-solving, while The Spy Who Flossed Me and A Tom Thompson Mystery incorporate elements of play and competition. Rest & Relaxation, as the name suggests, is a more low-key and relaxing option. Each of these ideas could be tailored to the specific needs and goals of your team.
It’s important to consider the interests of your team when planning a corporate retreat, to ensure that the experience you create will be enjoyable and meaningful for everyone – but that doesn’t mean everybody has to resonate with the theme. As long as your retreat has an element each person will enjoy, and an element that will challenge each person and bring them a little bit closer to their Edge, you’ll have an amazing time and a great outcome.
Northern Edge Algonquin is located 3 hours north of Toronto in Algonquin Park. If you’re interested in toronto corporate event ideas, we invite you to consider hosting a retreat with us! Now that you have an understanding of how to plan a corporate retreat, learn why Northern Edge Algonquin is a great retreat venue.
Want help? Work with the Edge and get an amazing all-inclusive corporate retreat planned for you. Start planning.
Are you looking to plan the ultimate corporate retreat?
Our comprehensive guide walks you through everything from picking the perfect location, planning activities and team games, creating meaningful agendas, and more. With years of experience in hosting executive retreats, delivering team-building and strategic planning retreats – we know what it takes to make your corporate retreat one that will be remembered for years to come.
A copy of our Corporate Retreat Planning Guide is on its way to your inbox.