Retreat Spotlight: New Jersey Children’s Foundation

Retreat Spotlight: New Jersey Children’s Foundation

The New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) – an organization that invests in people, programs, and partnerships that will improve public education and equity by putting the interests of children first – returned to The Uplands Center this summer for a changemaker retreat focused on team building, relaxation, and goal setting. The retreat began with a hearty lunch of soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and garden-fresh salad. The group then initiated their program with a guided walk through scenic meadows to the Vista shed. The walk was followed by a collective reflection about the organization’s work over the past 5 years, which took place under umbrellas on the stone patio overlooking the lush summer hills. After an Italian-inspired dinner the group played games together, until it was time for a sound bath that prepared them for rest.

After a bit of free time and a hearty breakfast the following morning, the group gathered in the meeting room for a reflection on the organization’s goals for 2023; assessing what has been achieved and learned in the first half of the year. After lunch, the group went into the fecund garden where they harvested garlic & root vegetables, learned how to make elderflower lemonade, pruned tomatoes, and prepared a bed for a new planting of spinach. After washing the earth from their hands, and with freshly harvested carrots in a plate on the table, the group then went into the art studio for an Uplands-facilitated assessment about the practices, methods and styles that guide their work. Following a dinner of Moroccan apricot chicken, carrot tart, focaccia and beet goat cheese salad, the group gathered on the West-facing patio to watch the sunset over a low fire as they enjoyed rare time together.

The staff at New Jersey Children’s Foundation work tirelessly to expand opportunities for children to realize their full educational potential, regardless of birth circumstances. Their work is challenging and, at times, can benefit from spending shared time to refocus on the organization’s aims and strategies, while deepening connections across the team. The Uplands was pleased to see this group return to their work refreshed, re-focused and recommitted to serving New Jersey’s children and their families and advancing equity in education and beyond.

Interested in bringing your changemaker team to The Uplands for a retreat? Visit our Co-Create a Retreat page!

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