blend retreat: the what and the why and the how
It’s Tuesday morning and I’m sitting here at the kitchen table, watching two kids drink the leftover milk from their cereal bowls and listening to Porter poop. I’ll give him a few more minutes and then change his diaper. There’s a science to it all. A poop science.
I couldn’t even open my computer the last two days. The thought just exhausted me. So instead I spent the time catching up on sleep (we got home around 4:45am Monday morning!!!), laundry, texts with Lauren and Janetha and, of course, listening to all the stories from the grand time Henry and Clara had with their grandparents. They want us to run off and go to more of these Blend things.
Which brings me to this past weekend.
(I’ll write about Blend for the next few days as if you have no clue what the retreat is and as if you haven’t read any other recaps. Basically, I’ll write as if you’re my mother reading. Hi mama!)
What IS Blend??
The original concept for Blend came out of my desire to meet two bloggers who I LOVED (still love): Janetha and Katie. The first thoughts were that we would meet up for a girls weekend and that quickly escalated into what it is now – a healthy living bloggers retreat where 100+ women can travel to a fun location, eat together, work out together and just have fellowship. That’s what Blend is – online friends who pay money to give bear hugs out to other online friends. Ha. I love it.
Three years later, Blend is prospering, lives have been changed (seriously, just ask some of the people who moved to Colorado after the first year), Lauren is now a co-partner and we’re already planning the 2015 retreat (May 15-17th in Boulder, CO). It’s amazing how much God has blessed this event.
Planning a Retreat
Before I get into the actual 2014 weekend (come back tomorrow), I first need to say that Blend is a partnership. This means that I have other people helping me behind the scenes and that we all own the company together. Yes, I had the original idea, but that idea wouldn’t have left the ground had Janetha and Katie not agreed to come onboard. I could have NEVER done this alone.
Last year, Katie found out she was pregnant and decided to pass the baton to Lauren. We all mesh really well, pulling off each other’s strengths and filling in the gaps of weaknesses. A true team – it’s been that way from the start, just plus or minus some people.
Planning a weekend retreat is hard work. SO much goes into the logistics…I’m not sure people realize! To plan, you must:
- Decide on a location
- Decide on menus
- Negotiate terms/fees with location
- Acquire sponsors
- Negotiate terms/fees with sponsors
- Promote sponsors via posts/social media/to your attendees
- Set an agenda and create an event that people want to attend
- Make attendees happy
- Make sponsors happy
- Acquire swag
- Graphic design (t-shirts, logos, banners, website)
Plus so much more…and we haven’t even talked about the actual weekend yet! I’d say I put about an hour of work in EACH DAY for the past 4-5 months just for Blend. Hundreds of emails and probably a thousand texts. There were times when I questioned whether we’d make enough money to cover expenses, times when I questioned whether I handled a company correctly and times when I wanted to slam my computer shut and walk far, far away. Oh, and on top of all this, I was usually nauseous from the pregnancy or, as was the case for the past two months, I had a newborn in my arms. My co-partners had their own sets of handicaps: Janetha was (is) pregnant and Lauren changed jobs and just had ACL surgery.
Challenging….planning this year’s retreat was particularly challenging.
But we did it!!!!
And I gotta say…we did a damn good job.
I post about all this not to toot my own horn (or Janetha’s or Lauren’s) but to set the stage for the PHOTO recaps that I’ll share over the next few days. Blend 2014 was one for the books and it took a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make it that way. The feeling that comes from accomplishing something GRAND, something that brings people together in a special way…it’s like no other.
I’m just lucky to be a part.
QUESTION: Have you ever planned an event? Have you attended a blogging conference?