4 min read

From Lost Years to Found Memories: Our 2023 Company Retreat

From Lost Years to Found Memories: Our 2023 Company Retreat

It's that time of the year again: time for our annual company retreat. But this year, it feels different in a good way. Our annual retreat takes us out of the city and into nature, providing a space for us to bond and recharge our batteries outside the confines and stressors of work life. 

Unfortunately, this all stopped when Covid hit in 2020. We couldn't have our retreat that year, and despite yearning for it, we didn't have one in 2021 or 2022 either. I call these the 'lost years', and it's hard to believe that we've gone three full years without our cherished event. I don’t believe we realized just how much we missed it and how much the annual retreat meant to us until we had it again this year.

The whole point of the retreat is to recharge the batteries and put ourselves in an environment that is the opposite of work while promoting bonding and relationship building beyond what can be done in a typical work environment. 

Even after over ten years of having the retreat in the same place, it is always surprising how many employees live in the DFW area and never traveled an hour or so outside the city. What the retreat shows is a mere hour and a half to the piney woods of East Texas is a countryside and scenery that feels like being in a different state. 

We want our employees to forget their online gaming, social media, and other indoor entrapments. The location of the retreat accomplishes, if not forces it. Employees have discussions, participate in outdoor activities, and bond in ways not possible in the office.

Fluid IT - Spring Retreat 1 of 5 photos


It was a bit eye-opening to realize how many employees had never been on a retreat. During the lost years, we hired more employees, none of whom had the experience all the veterans coveted. 

This backdrop all made for a unique setting and experience we will likely never be able to, nor want to, create again. Because of this, we purposely did not fill the weekend with scheduled teambuilding events and activities. We wanted everyone to relax without any agendas other than enjoying themselves and each other. 

Having the retreat again was a big step in our journey back to some of the positive experiences we lost during Covid. The simplicity theme was captured in our retreat logo and shirts. In the past, our retreat shirt designs were very busy with the Fluid Logo, a tagline, and other items. But this year, we kept it simple to capture the surrounding scenery and the year. We'll always look back at that simple logo and know that it was the year we got our retreat back.


A few of us arrived early Friday to begin the preparations, which actually began a week prior when we notified our clients, we would be closing early on Friday for our company retreat. It was important to allow our employees, especially the helpdesk staff that do not get a break from their shifts, permission and the ability to leave early. An hour and a half drive from Dallas/Ft. Worth is not too long, but it is an eternity for a helpdesk technician manning the phones until 6 pm knowing everyone else is already there. Having a good showing on Friday evening is important to kick off the event properly.

We choose Spring primarily to avoid the brutal heat of summer and also to have cooler nights by the fire pit. The downside is the notoriously unpredictable Texas weather in general, but especially in March. The forecast for the weekend did not disappoint. The forecast for Friday was rainy and cold, with Saturday and Sunday clear, sunny and cool. 

Most of us arrived by 5-6 pm on Friday, just as the rain was subsiding. Some of us got busy building a fire in the fire pit, while others were prepping and cooking their “famous burgers.” True to their claim, the burgers were absolutely delicious. The cool and clear night by the fire pit was a perfect way to cap off the evening and get to know each other on a deeper level.

Fluid IT - Spring Retreat 2 of 5 photos


As always, the next Saturday morning includes a massive breakfast, including scrambled eggs with bacon, cheese, and other fixings, along with bacon and hash browns. The question is who will wake up in time to eat it for breakfast or lunch? There is no clock, there is no schedule, there is no pressure. As expected, people started filing in at 8 am and continued until 1 pm (no names to be mentioned).

Saturday was gorgeous. High of 70 and lows in the high 50’s. Azaleas and Dogwoods blooming, the sparkling water, and bright green canopies against a deep blue sky were out of a painting. As my mother used to say, “It’s a beautiful day! Get outside and enjoy it!”, and we did just that. Everyone was outside all day reading, riding in a boat, playing corn hole, or just doing nothing. The television in the house was never turned on. Not once by anybody at any time.


The highlight of every retreat is the nightly gathering around the large firepit, and this year did not disappoint. Saturday night we enjoyed grilled rib-eye steaks, and potatoes, followed by smores. But It was when the sun set and the temperature dropped, that the storytelling and laughter really began. It is a safe time and place to let it all hang out, often going late into the night or even early the next morning. It truly was a great day.

Fluid IT - Spring Retreat 4 of 5 photos


By Sunday morning, the crowd dispersed and made their way back to hectic life in the city.

What I found interesting is to watch and observe how each person ‘experienced’ the retreat. With so many new people, I had no clue. Some read, some got on their phones (although service is purposely limited), some hiked and paddled around the small lake, and some could not stop their inner energy and did chores around the property. To each their own, which is part of the process.

I am so glad we were able to restart this long-time company tradition, but I also know the value put in and received is different for each individual and has changed. When it was an expected annual event, it definitely had a different vibe than a restart after a 3-year hiatus. I hope next year we can harness that momentum and excitement in anticipation of leaving the city to do nothing other than enjoy and just ‘be’.

Overall, our annual company retreat was a great success. It provided our team with a much-needed break from the stresses of work and allowed us to bond and recharge in a beautiful natural setting. 

Fluid IT - Spring Retreat 5 of 5 photos

As an IT services provider, we understand the importance of technology in our daily lives, but we also recognize the value of disconnecting from it from time to time. That's why we believe in helping our clients strike a balance between technology and the natural world. 

We provide IT solutions that enable our clients to work smarter, not harder, and give them the freedom to step away from their screens and enjoy life. If you're looking for an IT services provider that can help you find the right balance between work and play, contact Fluid IT.

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