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As a small team spread out around the U.S. and beyond, we’re pretty accustomed to making magic happen across distances. But no amount of virtual watercooler chats could have possibly prepared us for the challenges of a global pandemic.  

Over the last 19 months, along with all of you, we’ve practiced agility, resilience, and wellness in a time of change. We’ve also missed the moments we used to spend together, from our retreats to our day-to-day gatherings at offices in Baltimore and Minneapolis.

That’s why it feels oh-so good to say: last week, for the first time since September of 2019, our team was able to safely gather for a hybrid Next Day Animations Retreat. Woo hoo! , Team members from New York to California congregated in person at the blissful Fox Haven Farms in Jefferson, MD. And remote attendees called in from locations as widely spread as the Philippines and Canada.

Pulling off an event that accommodated the safety of in-person attendees and meaningfully included our whole team, no matter where they were calling in from, was no easy task. We are so grateful to our brilliant retreat planning committee, and to OWL, the tiny and mystical camera machine that transmitted 360 degree audio and video from Fox Haven (pictured below).

Here are some of the highlights of our time spent together.

  • We laughed and learned (and laughed some more) with Pippi, an incredible organizational psychologist and our facilitator for workshops on Active Listening and Group Decision Making
  • We adventured in both the real world and the virtual world, with an online scavenger hunt and an in-person hike on the Maryland Heights Trail
  • We explored our individual and group superpowers with a Strengthsfinder exercise, and had fun considering which fictional characters best aligned with our strength profile (i.e. courage the Cowardly Dog – Empathy)
  • We exercised our creativity during a whimsical murder mystery dinner – complete with costumes and a very dignified toad.
  • We dreamed about the future of Next Day Animations and left brimming with excitement for all of the awesome projects to come

We can’t wait to put all of our new insights to work in service of your amazing projects!