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Calling the Audible

What do you do when you’re hosting over 900 students and their leaders for a “winter” retreat and winter melts away?  In light of it being Super Bowl weekend, you call an audible. 

That’s exactly what our Michigan Retreats Team did this weekend after days of warm weather melted much of our snow (except, of course, on our tubing hill) including an anticipated Saturday with temperatures in the mid 40’s.  So the team decided to open up activities we normally offer during the non winter seasons such as riflery and, of course, the zipline.

As a result, for the first time in SpringHill Winter Retreat history, we have students racing down the New Frontiers zipline.  It was an incredible scene watching 100’s of students speeding down both the tubing hill and zipline at the same time.

Sarah Gillespie and her team making it happen

But what made me proud was how our team looked at conditions outside their control (the weather) and instead of bemoaning them, searched for a way to take advantage of them, to create an experience that exceeded our guests’ expectations.  It meant a lot of extra work – opening up activity areas closed for the season and having staff trained and ready to safely operate them.

Yet the team still called the audible, because the conditions “on the field” warranted it.   And the result was a memorable and life transforming weekend for over 900 students and their leaders.

What made an audible even possible?  Simple, our team already had a well thought out and fine tuned plan.  I’ve often heard people ask “why plan if we’re just going to change it?”  Well, you can’t change what you don’t have, if you don’t have a game plan you can’t call an audible.

Former staffer and long time volunteer Nick Deck working the zipline

And, as our team demonstrated this weekend, when you have a great game plan then you’re in a position to call an audible, and the right audible can change the outcome of the game.

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