On a recent sunny September afternoon, an enthusiastic group of South Carolinians checked in to Kanuga Conference Center near Hendersonville, NC. They were board members and employees of the nonprofit organization, Upper Savannah Care Services (USCS). The organization had won a drawing earlier in the year at a conference held by the South Carolina Associations of Nonprofit Organizations (SCANPO). The prize for the drawing, donated by Kanuga, was a two-day retreat at Kanuga.
USCS was grateful for the opportunity.
“We couldn’t have won this retreat at a better time,” said USCS Board Chairman Lanny Word while he waited on Kanuga’s patio for the team-building exercise to begin. “We’ve recently added new members to our board and we’re looking to revitalize our organization. We invited our employees to this retreat, too. We wanted to bring everyone together at this important time.”
The retreat included team-building exercises and strategic planning sessions. But, the group took advantage of the in-between times, too, to strengthen bonds.
“We’re already creating a rapport with one another,” explained Word. “I had an employee say things that you wouldn’t normally have heard as a board member—important information—during lunch. That’s when things happen, when you’re just relaxing with each other.”
Begun in 1995, the mission of USCS is to coordinate medical assistance, support and primary/secondary prevention services, empowering people with HIV/AIDS and their families to make informed decisions regarding care and services. The organization serves several counties in Upstate South Carolina.
Following the retreat, USCS Executive Director Jason Williams said it was a resounding success.
“The retreat was very productive,” said Williams. “Several of the big takeaways were how important it will be to keep communications open within the organization and how everyone needs to have a voice. It was great that we had time to spend together away from the workplace during the retreat; it helped with relationships across the board.”
Williams had heard of Kanuga from clients, but USCS had never been to the conference center. “We send clients ever year to the Annual HIV/AIDS Retreat held at Kanuga and sponsored by the Province IV Network of AIDS Ministries. Now, I see why the clients always came back raving about Kanuga.”
Affiliated with the Episcopal Church since 1928, Kanuga is a 1,400-acre camp and conference center in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Hendersonville, N.C. For more information, visit www.kanuga.org or call 828-692-9136.