Sencity’s Team Retreat at Prospect Park

Author: Allen @ Sencity

Summer had just arrived. For many students, summer reminds us of never ending days spent with friends old and new, outdoor activities, and most importantly freedom to do whatever our hearts desire. However, as we grow older, the inevitable happens and most of us take on more responsibilities. For me, this responsibility came in the form of an internship with Sencity.

I knew taking on this internship would be a great learning experience, but I did dread the fact that I would be giving up a summer to receive this experience. However, my thoughts quickly changed upon becoming more acclimated with the team and the work environment. Days were drawn out, but filled with interesting concepts and technologies to work with in which I could not be more excited about. My co-workers quickly became my new friends and the flexibility of a startup allowed for freedom in what I was working on. There was just one thing that I was missing. Days spent out relaxing and playing in the summer sun. Luckily for me, that’s exactly what our team retreat would be—a full day out in Prospect Park hanging out, eating food, bonding, and playing games.

The morning of the company retreat began like any other day, but instead of getting started on work we went grocery shopping at a local market. Steaks, sausages, octopus, shrimp--- you name it, we bought it. By the end of the trip we probably had enough food to feed us twice over at the least, but as we all know there is no such thing as too much food. With our stomachs hungry, mouths salivating, and appetite ready we embarked on our (my) first company retreat.

Arriving at Prospect Park, we found a quaint spot near the western entrance, but Ivan was not having it. He was adamant about being next to an open field—hilariously so as no one had known about his intense passion for fields. It really begs the question on the source of such burning passion.  Maybe he’ll write about it at some point—so stayed tuned!

Luckily for us, we found the perfect spot for our retreat under a big shady tree and next to a sprawling green field. Within minutes, one could smell the sweet aroma of beef and pork filling the area. Did I ever mention that the entire team loves food? Well, that’s when I found out as well. The first batch of food disappeared in a near instant—those guys sure can eat!

What's better than having some nice BBQ steak and bulgogi in the park in summer?

What's better than having some nice BBQ steak and bulgogi in the park in summer?

Slowly, our supply of food began to dwindle and a some of may have started easing into a food coma; however, rugby was up next! Teams of three were formed and rules explained, but most likely not understood judging by the confusion that ensued. Even with so many rules being broken and resetting of the game, playing sports with the team was an exhilarating experience. Blood was pumping, heart rates up, and smiles were seen all around. It was different interacting with the team outside of the office and instead out in nature and the outdoors—but lots of fun.

After running for more than I have in the past year and my team being victorious, most of us needed some well-deserved rest and as always, a bit more food. To close out the day, we decided to play the card game, Mafia. Let me preface by saying games like these allow you to see really good some people are at holding a straight face and lying about their identity! The games were intense, with people dying left and right as we wrongly accused people of being the Mafia. Alliances were formed fast and dropped even faster. You could not trust anybody here. The constant back and forth between everyone was great. Laughter was heard all around and it was always the “last” game before we had to go.

The game finishes. The fire was put out. The food was packed up. It was time to leave.

As cliché as it is, time really does fly when you are having fun. It wasn’t the same summer days that I had growing up in school. It was different, but the feeling, the essence of summer, was present throughout.

Although the activities and games were exciting and fun, to me, the most important thing was learning who my co-workers were outside of the day to day grind. Oftentimes we only see one facet of a person and we believe them to be just that. We let that idea or persona consume our vision of that person, forgetting that we may be missing so much more. I am sure that everyone has, at one point or another, fallen victim to this mindset. A change of pace, routine, or scenery allows us to re-calibrate, see things in a different light, a new perspective.

Now don’t get me wrong. Routines, meetings, completing tasks, and producing results are important especially in running a startup, but sometimes we must take a step back and just enjoy the company around us. Let us learn not only about technology and the industry, but each other as well. Take a break every now and then. Let your imagination run wild. Have fun. Don’t stress. It’s summer. Bright days are ahead.