ChildCare Conversations with Kate and Carrie

Episode 179: Why are retreats essential for business leaders in the childcare industry?

December 05, 2023 Carrie Casey and Kate Woodward Young
ChildCare Conversations with Kate and Carrie
Episode 179: Why are retreats essential for business leaders in the childcare industry?
Show Notes Transcript

In this podcast episode, hosts Carrie and Kate discuss the importance of retreats for personal and professional growth. They share their experiences from various retreats, highlighting the benefits such as learning new skills, networking, and self-care. Emphasizing the need for individuals, particularly business leaders, to disconnect from daily responsibilities for introspection and rejuvenation. Kate and Carrie also discuss different types of retreats, from training-focused to faith-based, and encourage listeners to find retreats that fulfill their specific needs.

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Marie (00:00:01) - Welcome to childcare conversations with Kate and Kerry.

Carrie (00:00:05) - Hello and welcome back to Child Care. Conversations with me, Carrie and that lady Kate. Um, so this week we're going to talk a little bit about retreats. Why to go to one. We're going to get Kate to tell us a little bit about the retreat. She just went on, and hers was a little longer than the average retreat it was. How long was it, Kate?

Kate (00:00:28) - The retreat itself, or the workshop itself was ten days.

Carrie (00:00:31) - Ten days? Yeah. So usually if somebody's doing a retreat, a lot of them are more like 2 or 3 days. So ten days was was pretty intense and had a lot more of what I call the fun parts of a retreat. Um, because if you've got ten days, you can have more of those things and still have the same basic balance between learning new things, meeting new people, deepening your bench. I'm telling all the reasons why we do it, and we're supposed to be chatting about it, not me lecturing about it.

Carrie (00:01:05) - Um, so directors are business leaders and as such, it is our position, Kate's, and mine that business leaders should go on retreats to increase their skills and their network. Right? What? Yeah.

Kate (00:01:24) - So what's great about a retreat is it can be what you need it to be. So there are folks that do retreats, like Carrie said, just for a couple of days. It's going to have a combination of some training and some fun, but you can also find a lot of, I'm going to call them self care retreats. And these might be, you know, those retreats where you hear people go and they don't say anything for the first day, or maybe it's a wilderness survival where they can accomplish anything. And so everybody needs to figure out what's going to work best for them. What do they need at that point in time? So the retreat that I just got back from was in South Africa, and it was so much more than just a retreat. So we had a lot of the let's do something a little outside of our comfort zone, whether that was ziplining or writing on sidecars, or motorcycles.

Kate (00:02:28) - But we also had some of that great bonding piece and building your team. And Carrie talked about building your network and building your network helps you build your net worth. And if you're not sure I believe that or that other people don't believe that, start to look at people who you think have a lot of money and think about who they hang out with, who do they network?

Carrie (00:02:54) - What was that old saying? Was it think it was Tim Tim Robbins? No. Tim Robbins is the actor Tony Robbins mentor, who said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with Tim Rowan, John Rowan, something like that. And so you don't have to be like, okay, great, I'm going to go make friends with the person down the road who, in my opinion, is wealthy, and I'm going to go hang out in their garage every day for two hours, and we're going to start, you know, I don't know, a model train project together or something. It can be that you're like, I need to get some new people into my realm.

Carrie (00:03:39) - And one of the ways to do that is to go to a retreat based on the thing that you're wanting to work on. So you went on the retreat that was about confidence and putting yourself, positioning yourself as the expert in the field with those. So those are two of the elements there. So when you went there, you were with other people who are positioning themselves in the as the expert in the field in different realms. They weren't all educators. Was anybody else an educator?

Kate (00:04:11) - Nope. Nobody else was an educator. The closest was a wonderful husband and wife. Both came. So in our retreat, we had three couples in addition to the 15 women who came by themselves. And they actually run a charity in on the Hawaiian Islands that is for homeless children. And that was as close as we got. However, one of the things that we did do, which nobody really realized, my passion and connection for, was getting an opportunity to see what some of the low-income registered family homes or home-based child cares look like.

Kate (00:04:56) - And I had a lot of opportunity to talk about. Out their curriculum and the development of curriculum and putting curriculum in where there hadn't been before, and how they utilize young adults in the community to help them get experience in working and building their resume, but then providing actual training and interaction to these programs. And so it was a great way for me to kind of remind myself why I was there and who I am and what I wanted out of the retreat had an awesome opportunity to definitely stretch and go outside of my comfort zone and make, you know, 17 new friends that absolutely I could trust with just about anything. Some of them more than others. And you'll actually get an opportunity to meet to hear several of them on the podcast over the course of the next year. So I'm excited about introducing you to them and letting you hear how sometimes awesome women you're going to find in places you don't expect. A lot of folks who are listening might have people in their circle who they don't really think of as truly in part of their network because, well, I know that person from, you know, choir or that person from high school, or maybe they're a part of your faith.

Kate (00:06:28) - And it's where, you know, you don't necessarily try to put all of those sections together.

Carrie (00:06:34) - You mean like the fact that I know Grammy Award-winning musicians, should we get them on the podcast? Because.

Kate (00:06:40) - Absolutely. But you can.

Carrie (00:06:43) - You can leverage those things. And a lot of times when somebody is from a different industry and you talk to them about what you're trying to do, they'll give you a new perspective. And so if you're talking to somebody who is an oncologist, because one of the people, Kate, I think roomed with at one point was an oncologist, and Kate's talking about her coaching and her work in early childhood. And you would think, what does an oncologist have to do with an early childhood professional? Well, kids get cancer too. And, you know, you can find common areas and again, build that network of people who are thinking bigger and brighter. And, you know, I'm talking about those things because that's the type of retreat, Kate went on. But we could talk about some other kinds of retreats, too.

Carrie (00:07:35) - This was a professional, professional retreat for building your professional. Our toolbox basically.

Kate (00:07:43) - We yeah, we spent a whole day on negotiation skills and learning what that looks like and figuring out how to apply that in a lot of different areas. And if you're not really sure that we really believe this, go read our book, because there's a whole section in our book on networking. And, you know, we both have been reading books about networking. And

Carrie (00:08:07) - Okay, you say our book, but you didn't say the name of the book so that they can go on Amazon or to their bookstore and go get it, because not everybody who listens listens every week. And they might not know that. Our book is called From Overwhelmed to I Got This, written by Carrie Casey and Kate Woodward young. Um, well, yeah, we we do the things we tell people to do. We don't always do all of them 100% all the time, because we're people and we run into the same kinds of issues everybody else does.

Carrie (00:08:39) - But going to retreats, going to trainings, I did a week long well, it was not labeled as a retreat, but in some ways it was on trust and how to protect your financial assets by putting your childcare center or your building into a trust, because that's something that is interesting to me. And it was building my network and building my abilities because I went on this week long, they called it a course. I think it could easily have been billed as a retreat because we all ate together. We stayed at the same place. There weren't as many evening fun activities as you would typically have in a retreat, though we only had one evening fun activity that everybody did. My group went to the zoo. I mean, not to the zoo, the aquarium, and Martin Luther King National Park and stuff like that. But okay, so we've talked about these week-long or ten day long retreats that are business building retreats. Let's talk a little bit about maybe some of those personal retreats that somebody might be more familiar with, like a faith group that has women's retreats or men's retreats.

Carrie (00:09:53) - What are what's why is it a good idea for a director who their faith organization does? Is that? Why would it be a good idea for them to go on that retreat?

Kate (00:10:03) - So as a director, one of the things that you will hear us talk about is taking care of yourself. So you can't take care of others if you haven't taken care of yourself. And even if you're not really sure that a faith retreat, yoga retreat, spiritual retreat of some sort is up your alley, I challenge you that if something like that comes across your schedule and you can put it in your schedule to do that, because it's really important for us to disconnect with work, sometimes even to disconnect with basically everything that happens day to day, whether it's your family, whether it's work, whether it's your children, you need that time to take care of yourself and do that intra introspection and just have some fun. Um, not every women's retreat, not every yoga retreat, not every spiritual retreat is going to necessarily be fun, or that you may come out of that and label it as fun, because I've definitely heard people that come out of there and it was, um, maybe a little more soul searching than they were expecting.

Kate (00:11:15) - And so sometimes you need to be prepared for that.

Carrie (00:11:18) - Yeah. I think if I went to a silent retreat, I would need a huge amount of paper, because one of the things that happens to me when I'm not around, people that I can talk to, is that my brain goes a mile a minute with 50 different things that I could come up with as new projects, new things to improve at a school. Oh, I would love to have a school where I help them revamp their whole food program. And um, like, I really would like some expat English person to give me their center and let me play with your food program. But those kinds of things are when, if I went to a silent retreat, which I've never done, I should probably put it as a challenge to myself. Um, but sometimes that's what you need is you feel like you're running on empty. I got nothing else to give somebody. And taking 2 or 3 days to be with yourself and make some friends.

Carrie (00:12:18) - But it's all people in a new environment.

Kate (00:12:21) - So one of the things that that's really important to, to remember, and we hear this a lot and even more since Covid are terms like burnout. And we hear about it from folks who, you know, I'm going to be honest with you all, if you're listening to this podcast, then, you know, take it with a grain of salt if you need to, if you're new to us. But if you've got burnout and you've worked through since Covid and the beginning of Covid and March of 2020, um, and in reality, maybe you should have retired the five years before Covid. Okay, so so burnout real. But if you are somebody who is feeling like you would be able to describe it as burnout and you haven't been in the field for 20 years, then think about what we've just said, because there's two different things. There's burnout because you've been doing it and you should have retired five years ago. And then there's burnout because you haven't learned to let go of those monkeys.

Kate (00:13:18) - You have burned yourself out because you are trying to do everything for everybody, and you're trying to make everybody happy and you're forgetting about yourself. And so this conversation is for you. And I don't care if it's a one day retreat. And Carrie and I used to do this when we didn't have, you know, the funds or the time or the energy because we had young children. Sometimes it was literally going to the local Holiday Inn and being really excited because we could watch cable and we could watch Home and Garden Channel without anybody interrupting us. And that was the recharge that we needed. And as our business grew, and the more we realized that we needed more than just hanging out with each other or more than just being by ourselves, we needed to surround ourselves with other people in other ways of thinking. And it doesn't matter if this is personal or professional. We think you need that balance. Everybody's balance is going to look a little different. Some people it might be 5050, some people might be 30, 30, 30.

Kate (00:14:23) - You may feel really balanced if you're 8020. And there's definitely times when I'm not going to speak for Carrie, even though I probably could, especially when I was younger and I was in what I would call business development mode, where I felt really balanced even if 80% of my time was work-related because I so valued my 20% non-business time. So, you know, definitely. And this changes whatever your decision might be in your 20s might change again in. At 30s and again in your 40s and again in your 50s, etcetera. You get the hint.

Carrie (00:15:05) - So you're doing a different role at your school because you were a teacher. And so the kind of recharge you needed was to talk to people who could conjugate verbs appropriately. And so it was like, your recharge is like once a month, I'm going to have dinner with grown-ups only, and we're paying a babysitter, and I'm inviting two other couples over to my house, and we're having grown-up great drinks and we're, you know, having charcuterie and, you know, whatever.

Kate (00:15:39) - The grown-up Lunchables and grown-up grape juice. Got it. Okay.

Carrie (00:15:42) - For grown-up lunch boxes or. Yeah, Lunchables and juice boxes. Um, but that may be the kind of recharge you needed. Or, um, then when you maybe became a curriculum coordinator, you needed nobody to ask you for anything because you have been servicing all of the needs of 12 classrooms and cutting, you know, running things through the cricket machine and running the Xerox machine and placing orders. And you're just like, I need people to not need me to get them anything. And so the retreat for you at that time might be going someplace where you can have breakfast in bed, or you're doing a self care retreat at a spa, and people are doing putting gooey things in your hair and gooey things on your face and, and, and painting your keratin in different colors and all of that fun stuff that might be what you need. And then as a new director, you might be like, okay, I need an information retreat.

Carrie (00:16:48) - I need people to download information into my head without the phone call, without the phone going, without teachers popping into the office, without parents texting. You need time to absorb new information away from the hustle bustle of your center. And when you're opening a school, maybe you need a retreat that is about long-term planning. And when you you know there's different things you would need at different points. And, you know, we we can't do all of those things for you. I'm sorry. Kate and I are good, but we cannot create all those kinds of retreats. And creating retreats is not our core mission. We have a friend who you've met on the podcast before, and you'll meet her again, Vicki Mertz, and she does some retreats here in Texas for childcare directors. And we sometimes participate. One of us, I think everyone she's done in the past couple of years, either Kate or I have been speakers at the retreat. I think she's got skeet shooting scheduled as one of the fun things that her next one.

Carrie (00:17:55) - I think she should do archery, but that's just because Kate and I would like to be able to bring our bows somewhere. Um, those of you who don't know, Kate and I were ranked, um, archers in the state of Texas before Covid and had a coached a kids archery junior Olympic team, um, for a couple of years. So that's a weird thing that we don't get to talk about very much. But I would go I would go to a retreat where I got to show, shoot my bow any day, even though I'm probably horrible at it now that it's been X number of years since I've pulled it back. Um, but, you know, find a retreat that balances whatever you need to fill your cup up, whether that's knowledge or whether that's self care with doing completely new things. Because part of the joy I think of the retreat is doing things you've never done before. And I know an awful lot of people who work in childcare who probably haven't shot skeet or thrown hatchets or shot a bow or, um, I don't know.

Carrie (00:19:05) - She's done all kinds of other things right. In a sidecar. Go meet penguins in penguin places, see a rhinoceros up close and personal, just.

Carrie (00:19:14) - Through walking.

Carrie (00:19:15) - Around, being a rhinoceros, hanging out with zebras. You know, not all retreats are going to be as cool as Kate's Retreat, unfortunately.

Kate (00:19:23) - Well, I absolutely loved my retreat, and I really hope that you think about whether or not you need one for your personal self, your professional self, for your family. I have a friend who her husband, her and their daughter for, you know, like 15 years would go on summer retreats actually, you know, as a retreat, not just they went on a summer vacation. And because that's very different. And so as a director, perhaps as a parent and a spouse, you need to make sure that you've got the time where you don't have to be in charge of anybody and you get to. Be in charge of yourself. And that by far. I would say that the 15 of us who came solo absolutely felt that experience of not having to be responsible for anybody except ourselves, right? Like we had to know when we had to be someplace.

Kate (00:20:17) - You know, some folks figured out how to use public transportation or how to get the hotel to get them a taxi, because our bus didn't wait for you. And so, you know, you do what you got to do if you still want to come to the event and not just go up to your room and be mad because you missed the bus, and you know those three people by day four weren't missing the bus, so nobody missed the bus after day four. So it was, you know, you do what you got to do. And when you're working with a lot of people that that is really important. So if you haven't seen the newsletter that's got some of the photos, like Carrie mentioned, I did have an awesome opportunity to to see zebras and wildebeests and rhinoceroses and baboons and hyenas and all of the, the you know, what you would expect to see in an African safari. I got to see them all. And it was penguins and penguins, because penguins are on the the tip of Cape Town.

Kate (00:21:22) - And so we got to see the, the penguins. And I got there by writing on the back of a sidecar motorcycle. And that was a lot of fun. And we had delicious food and so absolutely take care of yourself. Your nutrition, whether it's, you know, real food, brain nutrition, physical nutrition. Again, like Carrie said, everybody does things differently. The zip lining. Yeah. Well it was a little more than I expected. Definitely, way more than I've ever done in Texas. You know, when you can't see the bottom of what you're going over, just maybe.

Carrie (00:22:01) - It might be a little bit high. But again, it's that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. And if you're a person who does a lot of high intensity sports kind of things, like we have a friend who does stand up paddleboarding and whitewater rafting and all of that kind of stuff. And so I feel like Tonya probably would have been like, zipline is right up my alley, but maybe the walking a catwalk in your fancy duds would have made Tonya uncomfortable.

Carrie (00:22:32) - So, you know, going a little bit outside your comfort zone, I think is one of the best parts of going on a retreat, because if you're just going to go and do what you would have done at home, why are you going on a retreat? Try something new, meet someone new, do some improv, sing a song in front of people you know? I don't know what the thing is that your retreat is going to encourage you to do, but don't just sit there on your hands when you go on the retreat. If they have a talent show and you used to play the violin and you still have the violin, break that sucker out, man. Go do the violin at the talent show. If that's the only thing you could think of that you do that is a talent. And you're like, I haven't done that in 15 years, Carrie, you still have a pitch pipe. You can tune that thing up and you can at least play Hot Cross buns, because we all learned that the first two weeks of having our stringed instrument.

Kate (00:23:30) - Absolutely, absolutely. So as you're, as you're kind of sitting here and you're listening to us, if something's popped into your head and you want to know if there's a retreat for it, I can guarantee you there is. And if you aren't sure and you can't find it, shoot me an email at Kate@Texas Director.org.  I'll be happy to help you do that research. The biggest thing for me was also not only stretching myself, but not to tell myself that I was uncomfortable and not to speak that out loud. And that was the one takeaway. That was the biggest for me, because most of us were doing things that were outside of our comfort zone. Most people knew that this was outside of other people's comfort zones because they kept talking about it. And so going outside of your comfort zone doesn't have to be something that you scream at the top of your lungs that, I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this and say.

Carrie (00:24:28) - Wow, this is a new experience.

Carrie (00:24:30) - I can't believe I had the guts to do this. Like, that's awesome. I'm awesome because you are .

Kate (00:24:38) -you know, if you're able to reflect on it afterwards, awesome. But you know, while you're there, I don't care if it's one night. I don't care if it's one day. I don't care if you're going, you know, solo to a hotel for the first time, and that hotel's right down the street. Tell yourself that you can do this, that you've got this. Because that alone is going to be the best experience you can give.

Carrie (00:25:05) - Yourself without a doubt. Without a doubt, find a way to expand. We talk to you guys about conferences. We talk to you about coaching. We talk to you about reading books. There's kind of a theme here, which is that we want you to be a lifelong learner and to try different venues, different ways of learning because you're going to learn different material in different ways. And there are some people who can read something in a book, but if they read a different subject in a book, it wouldn't mean anything to them.

Carrie (00:25:38) - They have to experience it. You got to experience how the ground feels under your feet when an elephant is trumpeting. I could write about it, but you're not going to really know what it's like until you experience it. And in case you're wondering, yes, we would both recommend adding to your bucket list a trip to places where where elephants are doing elephant things in elephant places instead of just seeing them in a zoo because they do behave differently in their own places. And if you can take your shoes off when you are watching them make their wonderful music and it's amazing, it's amazing.

Kate (00:26:20) - So we can't wait to see you guys next week and make sure that you listen for upcoming episodes from Vicky, where she actually talks about and tells us a lot more about her upcoming retreat. If you are listening to this, just know that it's coming in April and we're excited to be a part of that. But we are going to have Vicki on within the next couple of weeks to tell us more about retreats and why she does them as an occupational therapist, and why she thinks you need to go to them from a clinical standpoint.

Carrie (00:26:55) - Yep. So keep an ear out. If there's a topic that you want covered in the podcast, write us and let us know. Because maybe we've never thought about that topic. Or maybe it's been a year or 2 or 3 since we've covered that topic, and we're happy to go back and talk about it again. Again. Carrie@Texas Director.Org if you have ideas for future show titles, show topics, and we'll talk to you next week.

Marie (00:27:25) - Thank you for listening to Child Care Conversations with Kate and Carrie. Want to learn more? Check out our website at Texas Director George and if you've learned anything today, leave us a comment below and share the show.