We’ve been back for a while, but thought doing a recap of our time together at our 2015 National “Getting to Happy” Retreat would be a great way to share our experience with those who could not join us and those who are wondering what our retreat is all about. Our retreat started off as a trip for members of the Oakland chapter to relax and enjoy “girl time” with each other. Our book selection for the first retreat was Terry McMillan’s novel, “Getting to Happy”, which became the fitting title for our annual trek. The goal is to relax and enjoy each other’s company, and has since expanded to include all of our chapters. We now meet for this getaway in a laid back locale every other year.
Hurricane Odile ruined our scheduled retreat for 2014 in Cabo San Lucas for our 5th anniversary. Since we regularly have our retreat in October, a prime time for hurricanes, we decided to go the safe route this year and head to the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona for four days.
First on the agenda: our various chapter leaders and Executive Board members met for a leadership meeting led by Executive Chair Nakia White over sushi at the Blue Coyote Café on Thursday evening. There, many of the leaders met for the first time, where we discussed changes in leadership, expansion, and edits to our bylaws and BookTini handbook for 2016.
Following our Leadership Meet Up, all present members met for the event that always kicks off our retreat: the Meet & Greet Happy Hour at Orange Sky Lounge. Chapters mixed and mingled, received their retreat swag bags, and later participated in a fun candy ice breaker led by Sacramento chapter leader, Cindy Cain.
On Friday morning, we met in our reserved conference room for breakfast together and our full BookTini Day, MC’ed by Brooklyn Chapter Leader, Kalilah Moon. BookTini Day started off with our Business Meeting, where each chapter gave a presentation on how they have carved their own little slice of BookTini in their parts of the country, and what they have done together to overcome any pressing obstacles within their chapter. The Executive Chair also gave a presentation detailing her vision for the future of BookTini through our tenth anniversary in 2019.
Following a break for lunch, we met up to discuss our literary selection for the month, “You Are A Bad Ass” by Jen Sincero. October is our month for Inspiration with a focus on Womanhood, and DC/DMV Chapter Leader Ijeoma Okolo led a great discussion centered on examining our choices and self-esteem, and enacting deliberate changes that can lead to ultimate bad-assery.
After another break, we met up again for our “Getting to Happy” seminar. We put a twist on our seminar this year, dividing members into four groups who would then complete various tasks together (after a round of tequila shots of course): coming up with a fly group name, creating a visual representation of their love for BookTini, a timed scavenger hunt throughout the hotel, and finally, creating an original BookTini song. The seminar was hilarious, fun, and a success. The winners of our scavenger hunt each received a copy of our November selection, The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor.
Later that night, members met up to experience the Scottsdale night life together. They traveled to The Casablanca Lounge for a girls night out of dancing and good fun.
On Saturday, members were free to treat themselves to the spa, wine tasting, or any number of activities in around the resort, including relaxing poolside and enjoying the resort casino. Most of the members headed to Su Vino Winery mid afternoon, where they sipped wine, nibbled on cheese, fruit, and crackers, and played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity led by Tisha Tucker of the Brooklyn chapter.
The next morning, we all met at Hash Kitchen for our Farewell Brunch, an event coordinated by National Treasurer and Oakland member, Nafeesa London. Our farewell was bittersweet, as Oakland chapter member LeKeisha Davis gave a rousing toast, Retreat Coordinator Brigette Warren and Executive Chair Nakia White gave thank yous to all who assisted throughout the weekend, and Cindy Cain and Kalilah Moon both sent us off to our respective cities with beautiful blessings. The food and drink were also delicious.
Special thanks goes out to all who made our Scottsdale retreat possible, especially our Retreat Coordinator, Brigette Warren, and her committee of members from all of our chapters. Also, thanks yous to all of our members and guests who hopped on planes and joined us in Scottsdale.
Before we parted, Nakia revealed our next Getting to Happy retreat destination: upstate New York. Pack your uggs, scarves and mugs. We’ll be enjoying a true Autumn retreat in 2017!