On Retreat: Reflecting on Carpe Diem’s Vision

"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."

~Gloria Steinem

Oregon River Retreat The Vision

I work amongst dreamers. We believe in possibilities, in saying yes, and in all of the infinite potential of this world and of each other. We believe in the extraordinary, and we believe in the power of "what if…" We value growth and transformation, and we believe in constant evolution.

This is what vision is all about: imagine the way you want the world to look, then shape your actions to match.  

We aim to fill our office and our programs with the energy of our vision.  We hope it comes across in our day-to-day interactions: in emails, meetings, and phone calls.  We want to constantly bring our vision to reality in creative and innovative ways.



The Retreat 

Creating Space 

We all know how hard it can be to dream big when you’re elbow-deep in an Excel spreadsheet and your email inbox is piling up and you’re wondering if you’ll hit traffic on your commute home from work.  


That’s where a visioning retreat comes in – to give us all time to pause, step back, and immerse ourselves in that visionary process.  Our entire staff is spending a few days on the flank of the Deschutes River here in Oregon, away from the city and from our daily lives, for our Spring staff retreat.  


Just like any travel experience, we physically leave home because we know this departure from the ordinary allows us to see the world a little differently.  This translates to more creative thinking and outside-the-box problem solving.


We’ll spend our days examining our mission and vision – we’ll do some personal reflection on how each of us contributes to the vision of inspiring growth and transformation through experiential education, community, and cultural exchange.  We’ll examine what it is we already do well as individuals and as an organization, and ways to make it even better. We'll check in to make sure our day-to-day programs are in allignment with our values and meeting all of our community memeber's needs. We can't know where we're headed without taking the time to reflect on where we've been and where we are.


After we brainstorm and dream, we’ll make plans.  The goal is to get our heads up in the clouds where we can see the Big Picture, and then keep our feet on the ground where we can take step-by-step action.  As a mission-driven organization, visioning is a crucial part of our work.  We'll look at ways we can expand or strengthen our semester programs, innovative opportunities for our Overseas Educators to make Carpe Diem a more sustainable career, possible partnerships with other organizations, among dozens of other possibilities we're all passionate about.


FullSizeRenderCommunity Building 

As community, we can hold each other accountable to our vision and values. We can also provoide eachother vital perspectives and resources, and encourage each other along the way. After we’ve spent our days dreaming and planning, we’ll spend our evenings cooking, sharing meals and stories, playing games and laughing, and maybe going on moonlight hikes down by the river.  Community is an integral part of our vision – and community is formed not only when you work together, but when you play and explore and dream together, too.  


The Invitation 

As we at Carpe Diem HQ take some time this week to reflect on the work that we do as well as how we want to grow and evolve, we invite each of you to do the same. Create your own space – this can be as simple as a quiet walk without your cell phone or an hour of journaling by candelight, but try doing something intentional to relax and unplug. Then allow yourself to reflect. What does growth look like in your life right now? In what ways do you hope to evolve? What are you doing really well, and what could be even better? Finally, share this vision with your community – a good friend, a family member, someone who will encourage and support you. Don't be afraid to dream big – that's our plan for this visioning retreat, and we can't wait to share what comes out of it.