I have to say I am extremely thankful for the staff at the NCGIA! Dana, Olivia, Liz, and Lynn (our newest team member) are a creative lot, to say the least. I am convinced that one of the main reasons the NCGIA culture lives and grows is that the core team is made up of people who work hard, think outside the box, and raise the bar on just about everything we do. I can tell you that staff meetings at the NCGIA typically run a minimum of 3 hours and usually happen at places like Starbucks or the Melting Pot or the beach.
After reading “The Wild Idea Club” by Lee Silber, as recommended by my friend Melissa Verplank, I just knew that the best time to launch our new club was during the NCGIA beach retreat. That meant I had to sit on this idea and keep it pretty much to myself from January through mid-April. This was not an easy task. I’m more of a “let’s do it NOW!” kind of person.
My family arrived at the beach house ahead of the others so we could have everything prepared for everyone else. The staff, board members and plus ones rolled in throughout the day, some showing up early while others made their entrance just before dinner was served.
The sun was out. It was a gorgeous day. We spent much of that first day lounging around poolside or playing on the beach. At one point we walked the mile and a half down to the pier for some ice cream only to have to lick really fast in order to keep the dripping refreshment from melting into the sand. After a return mile and a half trip back to the house, it was evident that sunscreen would have been a wise choice.
The first evening, as we sat around the dinner table, there was excitement and buzz in the air. Some of our guests, friends or family of the staff and board members, were meeting for the first time. Much of our conversation centered around the cat grooming industry and what it was, exactly, that the NCGIA had been during over the 5 years since its inception.
The next day was a free for all. Play, rest, eat and walks on the beach and a little too much sun for most of us. And then came Wild Idea Day.
Everyone knew that something was planned for our 3rd day at the beach, only they had no idea what it was. That morning they discovered a huge piece of paper taped to one of the living room walls with a quote scrawled across the top. The quote, by Albert Einstein read, “If at first an idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
The living room furniture had been rearranged to center around the paper board taped to the wall. Tasty snacks were prepared, game pieces were out, music was filling the room, and I was busy getting the last minute details all put together for the big event.
We kicked off the Wild Idea Day by playing a game called “Anything Goes.” The game requires creative thinking, physical action, silliness, quick thinking, and a willingness to be totally humiliated. The perfect way to get our minds ready for what was to come.
After an hour and a half of laughing at everyone’s crazy game antics, I divided up the group into 6 teams of 3 people each and led them over to the large dining table with the biggest lazy susan in the center that I had ever seen. On the lazy susan was a pile of crafty items – scrapbook paper, buttons, fabric, cat hair yarn, glue, paint, and more. Around the perimeter of the table were 6 art canvases. The instructions: each team had 1 hour to use whatever was on the table to create a piece of cat art. Ready, set, go!
In the frenzy that followed, 6 totally different works of art began to take shape. Scissors, glue and tape were passed around, the lazy susan was spun one direction and then another so everyone could grab up whatever craft item they needed. And 1 hour later, cat art was completed.
After that, we moved back to the sofas where I laid out colorful pads of paper and big fat markers. This was our wild idea time- where we could write down whatever wild ideas we had that could possibly help grow the NCGIA and the cat grooming industry as a whole. I started out by adding the first colored paper to the big board on the wall. It read, “Buy this beach house so we can do this 2x/year.” Everyone cheered in agreement and before long colorful scraps of paper filled with both outrageous and practical ideas peppered our big white board.
Nearly 2 hours later dinner was served. Cheese fondue with bread, apples and cauliflower for dipping. Over dinner, the ideas kept coming. Before long someone grabbed a paper pad and marker so we could jot down more ideas and add them to the board. Dinnertime conversation lasted well past dinner. Everyone was excited as we hashed out what directions we would go, what problems needed to be solved, and what goals we wanted to reach.
The day had been a smashing success from my viewpoint. I saw my team be creative as they worked together as a group. The whole group worked through an assortment of ideas, thinking outside the box, striving for cutting edge solutions to real problems, and setting goals that might only have remained fuzzy dreams without inspired and passionate people to help make them a reality!
I appreciate our team so much. And I appreciate their family members who came with them and joined in on all the festivities, providing other perspectives to our projects. Thank you all for participating in our Wild Idea Day, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in your future Wild Idea Club meetings.
Thanks also to my mother who made sure we all ate really well while we were at the beach!