Archive for the ‘Event planning’ Category
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Our first groups of the spring conference season arrive Friday, so we are sharing our packing tips to help you prepare to attend a Lake Tahoe retreat this spring. Before packing for any trip, check the weather in the destination city. I like the National Weather service forecast. This weekend we’ll have daytime temps in the low 60s and nighttime lows in the 30s – A pretty big range which is typical in the mountains. Wearing layers is a convenient way to stay comfortable as temperatures rise through the day then drop again in the evening.
For the dress code, you probably have a good idea of your company/ organization’s dress code, and you can check the event agenda for specifics. Most groups that meet here at Stanford Sierra Conference Center dress casual for their meals and meeting, I think I’ve seen attendees from just about every group wearing jeans. Yeah for casual meetings!
Groups meeting here choose a casual dress code
If you can access your event’s agenda in advance, check for free time. We encourage all groups to schedule free time to get outside in our beautiful setting on Fallen Leaf Lake. The best activities here are boating and hiking.
Plan to get out on the water during your visit
Our boat dock is open when there aren’t scheduled meetings. Both groups visiting this weekend have free time on Saturday afternoon. Just head down to the boat dock and a friendly staff member will get you a life jacket then set you up in the watercraft of your choice. We have kayaks, peddle boats, stand up paddle boards and sailboats. There can be a cool breeze on the water, so a light, water-resistant out layer would work well for this weekend’s weather.
There are excellent hiking options from Stanford Sierra
Plan to get out for at least a short walk during your visit. The Lower Falls are just a few minutes from Stanford Sierra on paved roads.
The Lower Falls
If you would like a longer hike, you might want to bring waterproof footwear. Some higher trails, including around Lily Lake on your way to the Upper Falls, have standing water from melting snow. The mid Tallac Trail and could be a good option for this weekend. Check in at the office for a hiking map and directions.
To complete your packing bring any prescription medicine and toiletries you’ll need during your stay. We stock our lodge rooms and cabins with soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. Our onsite store, the Fountain, sells a variety of items in case you forget something. For a full packing list, take a look at the packing guide on our website.
Enjoy your trip!
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
There are many benefits to selecting a conference center such as Stanford Sierra which provides all of your meeting and event needs.
An all-inclusive conference package plan is budget friendly in that you know all or most costs up front. Our packages include lodging, meals, coffee breaks, meeting rooms, A/V equipment, internet access, recreation, airport transfers, taxes and service fees. Above the package, you can add recreation options, maybe a yoga class or a cruise on our 22-passenger pontoon boat for your attendees during their free time. You can also schedule social hours with hors d’oeuvres and beverages and add beer, wine and sodas to your dinner. Once you know your agenda and attendance, then we can finalize the social hour food and beverage menu, and either provide an estimate of the costs or you can give us an amount not to exceed.
Add a lakefront social hour to your meeting
Another benefit of an all-inclusive conference center is with everything provided onsite, guests stay here for their downtime and are thoroughly engaged attendees. We regularly hear from our groups that the networking and idea-sharing that goes on among participants when they are not in organized meetings is a valuable benefit of meeting here on Fallen Leaf Lake.
Relaxing lakefront during a meeting break
Most of our employees live onsite and are all-purpose staff, so they are accustomed to working all aspects of service. Since Stanford Sierra is their home, staff members take ownership and go out of their way to make sure everyone has a good overall experience. Our staff tend to be an energetic and happy group!
Setting up for a coffee break isn't all work!
The majority of time we serve just one group at a time, so activities and meal options can be customized for your event. Our staff members can lead guided hikes or we can create team scavenger hunt challenges. We can customize your food and beverage events including lakefront barbecue lunches or dinners.
A team cooking challenge is an option
Check availability on our website if you think our all-inclusive center will work well for your next event. We’re open spring and fall for groups of 30 – 180.
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
This spring we held a very successful Alumni Creative Camp for Stanford University alumni. We partnered with University faculty to put together the structure and content of the weekend. Our goal was 50 attendees, and we exceeded with final attendance at 52. The attending alumni gave great reviews of the program, and plans are underway for the 2013 retreat. Following are five successful components of the program that you can use to boost creativity at your next corporate retreat.
Location and setting: Our serene and somewhat secluded location on beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake was just the right place for attendees to slow down, breathe deeply and relax. In the post event evaluation, many participants commented on the location: “The setting on Fallen Lake is the most valuable part of the whole program!” Another attendee remarked “There was a sense of freedom created by the Camp” “Gorgeous, relaxing setting” “The physical setting contributes tremendously”. “Sierra Camp is just an incredible place”.
Calm morning on Fallen Leaf Lake
Our main lodge has the corporate retreat facilities to host a productive meeting with the amazing backdrop of Fallen Leaf Lake and the surrounding mountains.
Brainstorming with an inspiring view of Fallen Leaf Lake
Create a balanced blend of fun and substance We kicked off the three-day program with a social hour with beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. As each person entered the room, our hosts placed a sticker on their back with the name of a famous person. Attendees could then ask each other “yes” and “no” questions to determine who they were. This activity offered an easy, non-threatening way for the group to interact. Along with well known figures, we used many Stanford names to support the camaraderie of the group of alumni. For your corporate retreat, You could theme the names to support the goals of your program and direct the conversations. Two recent Stanford graduates, Davey Feder and Shilpa Sakar, who took classes in Stanford’s d.school facilitated the icebreaker and subsequent evening activities including a team dessert art challenge and a talent show. Davey and Shilpa’s high energy and friendly demeanor added to the casual, friendly atmosphere of the event.
Davey and Shilpa, our friendly, energetic hosts for Creative Camp's evening activities
Provide an unexpected activity to get participants out of their everyday brain 90% of the participants gave “excellent” reviews to Aleta Hayes, dance instructor, who started each day with a half hour of “liquid flow” which Aleta describes as “A combination of dance improvisation, yoga and Tai Chi to spring into full creative expression each morning. Participants experience the joy of fluid, juicy movement and playful dancing with freedom and ease.”
Participants tapping their creativity during liquid flow
Participants commented “I’m not a dancer, but loved Aleta’s energy and found that surprisingly fun.” “The movement classes were beyond wonderful – fun and purposeful both, because the three mornings built on each other, and by the end Aleta was showing us how to get outside ourselves when faced with “performance.” That was extremely useful.” “I thought the dance started everyone off on the right foot, positive and ready to engage.”
Aleta Hayes getting the group moving
Keep it interactive
The core sessions of the creative camp included instruction, then an opportunity for participants to work on their own or collaboratively. One participant commented “The presenters used great techniques to mix us up in different combinations.” Another said, “The collaborative process with a partner whose technical skills complemented my life. Experience resulted in a productive and fun process.”
All sessions included time for collaboration
Provide downtime to process what they learned
A large benefit of events at Stanford Sierra is all participants are onsite for the duration of the program. We built downtime activities into the Creative Camp beginning with yoga classes in the morning and ending the day with port in front of the fireplace and stargazing cruises on our pontoon boat.
Morning yoga with a view of Fallen Leaf Lake
Relaxing during a pre-dinner social hour
Plus all meals are served in the dining room giving ample time for casual interactions during meals.
You can use these five elements in your next corporate retreat to create a productive and fun event for your staff. Of course, every group is different with different goals, we can help you tailor your event to fit your group’s needs and desires.
Monday, March 19th, 2012
BizBash is a very user-friendly and fun website where you can find event planning news, ideas and resources. Bizbash recently posted an article on the TED Conference which just finished up last week in Long Beach. The article shared the top ideas to steal from the conference. I found two of the 13 ideas that I think might be easy to implement for our upcoming Alumni Creative Camp scheduled for April 26-29.
Progressive idea cards
The first is progressive idea cards. The cards are part of the ‘Progressive Ideas Project’ which strives to bring innovative thinkers together and determine how to bring great ideas to life and make them happen. Kind of a large undertaking, so this idea might not be so easy to implement, but I like the concept!
The second idea is the “Before I die…..” blackboard designed and hosted by artist and TED fellow Candy Chang.
"Before I die....."
A few submissions caught my eye: “Plow over every fear I encounter and be unstoppable!” “Laugh EVERY DAY!” “FLY!” Post a “Before I die….” board at your next event for your attendees to share their hopes and dreams.
Visit the Bizbash website for ideas to help you plan your next event, and be sure to take a look at the TED article and let me know what ideas you find worth stealing.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Congratulations to Brant Bishop, our new assistant director! Brant worked for us this past summer and fall and proved to be a reliable, thoughtful and mature employee. Brant graduated from Stanford University last spring with a degree in Sociology.
Brant was two months into a planned year of around the world travels when he got word the assistant director position was open. Within 24 hours of accepting the job, Brant was on a plane back from the heat of the Australian summer to winter in the deep woods of Fallen Leaf Lake.
During his two months of traveling, Brant covered about 1,100 miles on the East coast of Australia from Sydney to Cairns by bus. He was fortunate not to encounter any of these friendly critters on his travels. Brant’s best experience was scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. He said “It was a whole different version of reality. An underwater 3D world of vibrant colors, plant and animal life.” He was really amazed by the great variety of the coral.
Brant at the Maheno shipwreck on Fraser Island
Brant is happy to be back in the mountains and living at Camp. Growing up in Missouri, Brant tried to convince his family to move to Colorado because he loved the mountains. He is looking forward to the upcoming spring conference season and having people at Camp. Brant said “The energy and spirit at Camp is amazing, not only the people that work here, but the guests that come visit. It’s an optimal environment with the mountains, lake and all the outdoor activities.”
Brant’s favorite fall activity at Camp was to go on long hikes. Every week he went on a 15 mile plus hike. He would pick a lake and set it as his destination. His favorite lake is Lake of the Woods.
For groups visiting Camp this spring, Brant recommends soaking up as much of the natural environment as possible. Taking a Hobie Cat or kayak out on the lake, he says “it’s incredible to get out on the water.” Also be sure to plan a hike, there are easy hikes into Desolation Wilderness, or if you have an afternoon and are up for a more strenuous hike, according to Brant “The view from Mount Tallac is incredible, and it’s a good milestone activity.”
Brant and fellow staff on Tallac with Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe in the background
Friday, October 22nd, 2010
If you would like to hold a casual gathering for your group, we recommend a social hour in the Old Lodge.
For a pre or post dinner gathering, the Old Lodge can accommodate about 50 people, weather permitting overflow onto the deck with its wonderful view of Fallen Leaf Lake. If weather is cooler and your group is over 50 people, we suggest renting heaters from local rental company Eventmasters for the deck.
The Old Lodge deck
There are plenty of cozy chairs and couches in the Old Lodge. Built in 1932, the room has a wonderful feel of history and ambiance. Choose from a wide selection of board games for some friendly competition among your group.
Social hour in the Old Lodge
A roaring fire in the stone fireplace completes the cozy feel.
We can serve your choice of delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages. If you have any musicians in your group, there are two pianos in the Old Lodge.
Playing piano in the Old Lodge
You can also use the Old Lodge for meetings and break out sessions during the day or just as a place to relax during free time.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
On a spring or fall weekend, you can reserve Stanford Sierra Conference Center exclusively to celebrate your wedding. Beginning with check in Friday afternoon and ending with brunch on Sunday morning, it is just you and up to 180 of your family members and closest friends staying together on Fallen Leaf Lake.
A fall wedding in front of the lodge
Hosting a number of wedding weekends over the years, we’ve learned what works well. First, plan a site visit to walk through the lodge and cabins with us to plan the weekend events and envision set up. During the planning process, make decisions, stick with them, then move on to the next issue. For needed rental items, contact Eventmasters . We can provide a list of suggested items that past weddings have used.
Use the bulletin board in the Stanford room to post pictures, your weekend schedule of events and any other information you want to share with your family and friends.
Encourage your guests to arrive Friday afternoon at 3pm to take full advantage of our boat dock, hiking trails and many comfortable places to just relax lakefront.
Kayaking the shore of Fallen Leaf Lake
Plan a buffet-style dinner a little later on Friday evening to allow for stragglers to join the group. After dinner schedule a bonfire on Baby Beach and hire a musician for a sing-a-long.
Bonfire at Baby Beach
You have access to all 52 of our cabins and 12 lodge rooms to accommodate your guests. We suggest housing families at the point cabins with less stairs for little one and surrounding our ‘Munchkin Patch’ playground.
Basketball, volleyball and the playground are surrounded by the point cabins
Assign your late night guests to the hill cabins including Juniper. We’ve dubbed Juniper A, “the party cabin” due to it’s larger living room, four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Hold your ceremony Saturday afternoon in front of the Old Lodge. There are not many backdrops more beautiful than Fallen Leaf Lake and Angora Ridge.
A wedding arch on Fallen Leaf Lake
Finally, complete your planning prior to arrival, then hand off the responsibility of the weekend’s events to us and enjoy the weekend with your family and friends.