How Our End-of-the-Year Meeting Built Family

end-of-the-year meeting

For three days this week, I was in Asheville, North Carolina, with the rest of my company.

If you didn’t know, Campus Rec Magazine is under the Peake Media umbrella. We may be a small team, but we get a lot done – a familiar thing probably in many campus recreation centers.

Ultimately, our end-of-the-year meeting always has two goals: recap the year and build community. Working out of a variety of offices in four different states, this is the only time we will all be together. It’s our one chance to meet everyone in the company and connect with one another on other levels then just, “I need this information from you for this thing” via email. We get to build a culture of family and caring in-person, getting to know one other so we can better work together in the future.

Also, one of our core values as a company is, “We have fun. Period.” Our end of the year meeting reflects that – we went horseback riding and toured the Biltmore Estate. We ate good food and laughed a lot.

But beyond that core value, we dove into our own set of roundtables, much like what we had our attendees do at the inaugural 2017 Campus Rec Leadership Summit. Like any company, we have issues that arise and need to be resolved. So, we problem solved in small pockets and came back with initiatives to implement in 2018. They are lofty goals, but they will ultimately better serve you, the Campus Rec Professional.

All of the above is to say how important it is to connect with your peers and listen to their input. I know when I get a seemingly terse email from a coworker, I can tend to have my feathers ruffled. But, since I have built a relationship with him or her outside of just email communication, I can often better understand where he or she is coming from. I can recognize the tone that is misconstrued via a virtual format. And I can seek to understand – another one of our core values – because I have a good foundation of who they are as a person.

No, you don’t have to go horseback riding with your team or walk around a giant mansion built in 1895, but I do think we need to laugh and care and build relationships beyond just a string of emails. In the end, it helps propel us forward as a team, as I know it would help you, too.

Heather Hartmann
Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at

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