Retreat Report

By Daniele Berman, Operations Manager

If you visited Book Harvest on October 12, 2014, in our cozy office above Guglhupf, you probably met me and perhaps a couple of volunteers manning the ship. If you had stopped by hoping to talk to Ginger, you would have had better luck scheduling a time to meet her out at a coffee shop or other public space. If you were looking for Natasha, you might have found her searching through inventory stacked in the kitchen “alley” in the back (you never knew that was a kitchen, you say?), but more than likely she was out on home visits. And if you were hoping to sit down and talk with our whole staff together, you would certainly have been out of luck. I can hardly remember a time when all three of us were in the same place at once.

On October 12, 2015, our entire staff team, now comprising six people, set aside a whole day to spend together thinking and working and dreaming. My, what a lot has changed in a year!

Pictured (L to R): Rachel Stine, Partnerships Manager Daniele Berman, Operations Manager, Kenitra Williams, Book Babies Team Member Ginger Young, Founder and Executive Director Natasha McCurley, (outgoing) Book Babies Team Leader Meytal Barak, (incoming) Book Babies Team Leader

Pictured (L to R): Rachel Stine, Partnerships Manager; Daniele Berman, Operations Manager; Kenitra Williams, Book Babies Team Member; Ginger Young, Founder and Executive Director; Natasha McCurley, (outgoing) Book Babies Team Leader; Meytal Barak, (incoming) Book Babies Team Leader

Thanks to our gracious hosts at Triangle Community Foundations, our team had a table to sit around together at their beautiful office on the American Tobacco Campus, an entire day away from our regular tasks to ask questions, share dreams, challenge assumptions, and consider possibilities. For Natasha as she transitions out of her role as Book Babies team leader and Meytal as she takes the reigns over the course of this month, this was an especially well-timed conversation. For the whole team–a team who, if you’ve ever visited our home in the Rockwood Shopping Center, you’ll know very rarely sits still long enough to finish a conversation!–the opportunity to linger over questions of vision, mission, and core values and how those things structure our goals for individual programs was invaluable.

While our individual goals and expectations for the day varied a bit leading up to the retreat, we all walked away feeling a renewed sense of passion for our work and camaraderie with our teammates. We have a fresh appreciation for each other’s individual talents and priorities, and we gained a new perspective on the possibilities for the communities we serve. And to a one, we all agree that we can’t wait to do it again next year!