Intro from Meaghan Goedde, Director of Training & Talent
Notes on Camp.
That’s the name of the This American Life episode I was listening to while running when it clicked.
For the past few years our SRG Chefs, GM’s and Home Office folks have been getting together at various locations to eat, drink, learn and bond. We are spread across the country, so this doesn’t happen very often. Our first gathering was in Napa, where we visited large and small scale wineries, had an iron chef competition, picnicked at a farm and ate ridiculous meals in amazing places. We didn’t think to give this get-together any kind of a name or label, but we recognized it as a significantly more-than-good time. The next year we headed to Kentucky to tour the whiskey trail and absorb any of the local culture and technical information associated with it. One day, as we were learning the ins and outs of distilling, one member of our crew related a story of a colleague who referred to our adventure as a “boondoggle.” Eh? Google states its work that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of being valuable. It is, also, an intricate knot woven from multicolored pieces of plastic or leather that’s only purpose it to be hooked on to something else that is useful, like a zipper or key ring. Kind of what we thought we were experiencing at the time….more fun than function. We laughed and had a good time with #boondoggle and referred to our get together as such. Our 3rd year we headed to Portland and became immersed and engaged in the region. We sampled local salt, drank tons of coffee and of course, tasted our way through the Willamette Valley. The discussions, the interest, the respect, the usefulness of these trips was becoming more apparent with each gathering. At some point, the term “boondoggle” no longer fit the bill, as it cheapened our overall experience and was in no way reflective of the deep learning that was occurring and the incredible staff morale and relationships these trips were forging.
This year, I got the honor of planning our yearly get together. In planning, it was really important to understand our intent and why we do this. All who have been part of our adventures know these are way bigger that just eating amazing food and drinking amazing drink. It’s definitely not a boondoggle and a term like “retreat” or “conference” feels too…well… not like us. It’s about getting out of day to day, building relationships, teamwork, perspective, experiential education via learning new things by engaging in them fully. It’s about ritual, comradery, and new discoveries. This is the stuff of great and fond memories. So, as I listened to the TAL episode on Camp, it suddenly made sense. Camp, that’s it! Camp SRG was born. At the end of August our Chef’s and GM’s will be headed to Denver to experience Camp SRG. We are going to learn about Colorado heritage grains, have a BBQ in the mountains, tour some breweries and learn some restaurant survival skills. There may or may not be merit badges, camp songs and arts + crafts. We might even make boondoggle, you never know.
Camp SRG is one of the reasons I love my job. It’s such an opportunity to be able to help create experiences that enrich the lives of our SRG crew by allowing them to stretch their creative muscles while having some purposeful fun. It’s something our Chefs and GM’s do for our guests every single day. I’m sure CAMP will evolve with each and every cycle. I can’t wait.
Director of Training & Talent