Viewing posts categorised under: Event planning

Going the Extra Mile for Your Guests: The Coordinator Checklist

by SierraMerril

08 21, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Location, Meeting, Preparing for your visit, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Conference Coordinators should be sure to schedule free time for their participants during their stay on Fallen Leaf Lake.

Allowing your guests free time to explore the Fallen Leaf Lake area can be inspiring, reenergizing, and a welcome break from meetings. Views like this on the Clark Trail are only a 30-minute hike from Camp!

Are you planning a meeting, wedding, retreat or conference at Stanford Sierra Conference Center? Camp’s staff takes care of most everything while you’re here, but there are a few extra things you can do prior to your arrival to make sure your participants have the best experience possible while at Fallen Leaf Lake! As hosts for several conferences a year, we also go through this coordinator checklist to make sure our guests are prepared for a well thought out and planned event.
  • Look at your agenda and make sure you’ve scheduled free time for your guests. Attending a conference at Fallen Leaf Lake, but not having time to paddle on the lake, hike, or relax and read a book just isn’t right! While the main focus of your stay with us may be work, free time can inspire and reenergize your participants.
  • Give your participants a packing list. We’re happy to provide a basic list for you and your guests, but do they need to bring specific items for the conference? Slides for a presentation? A nicer outfit for a formal dinner? Their best 70s garb for Disco Bingo?
  • Provide your guests with clear directions for getting to Camp.  Your first visit to Stanford Sierra Conference Center can be unnerving. We are at the end of a winding and narrow, but beautiful road. Watch our driving video and share it with your guests so they know what to expect on the drive into Camp.
    Tote bags are great conference gifts! As a coordinator, think about what gifts a guest might use while at Camp.

    Creative Camp participants show off their new tote bags!

  • Create a #hashtag for your event. Use your social media hashtag to advertise your event and connect your guests before and after their stay. You’ll also have access to your guests’ great pictures. Be sure to connect with us (@stanfordsierra) and tag us on Instragram and Twitter so we can see how much fun you had!
  • Create gift bags or schwag for your guests. Everyone likes free things. Even better? Free useful things! Think about what your guests may be able to use during their stay. Hats? Sunscreen? Flashlights? We’re happy to hand your gifts out at the front office when your guests check-in, or have them waiting in their rooms.
  • Have a craving for a special menu item or snack? Be sure to let us know if you’re hoping for something special at your social hour, coffee break, or any one of your meals. Our baker, Steve, receives several requests a year from repeat groups who can’t wait to enjoy his seven layer bars!
  • Request selected wine and beer. The Fountain, Camp’s store, is stocked with a variety of beer and wine. But are you looking for something special? Perhaps a few cases of wine from your favorite Stanford affiliated vintner? Let us know and we can ensure your group has all of your favorite beer and wine on hand.

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Tips to Prepare for a High Altitude Trip

by stanfordsierra

07 03, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Location, Preparing for your visit | 0 comments

Stanford Sierra is located at an elevation of 6,377, so some guests coming to attend a conference or retreat here in the Lake Tahoe area from sea level do experience negative side effects from the higher altitude. There is less oxygen, about 16% at 6,000 feet compared to 21% oxygen at sea level, and how your body responds to this stress determines whether you notice the elevation change or not. The Trail Girl posted a thorough explanation of the effects of decreased oxygen. There are a few things you can do to minimize experiencing negative effects from the altitude:

  • Acclimate slowly: If you are driving to Stanford Sierra from the Bay area or from the Reno Tahoe Airport, make a stop at a lower elevation. From the Bay area, stop in Placerville, 1,800' elevation. The downtown has cute shops and restaurants for a leg stretch before heading up and over the mountains. From the Reno Tahoe Airport, you can stop at the Summit Mall in Reno for shopping or a bite to eat. In Carson City, Schat's Bakery, is a local favorite for sandwiches, sweet treats or amazing, fresh-baked bread.
  • Drink lots of water!: Drink a minimum of an 8 oz. glass of water per hour. Water is always available in the Stanford room and dining room, and we set water at all meetings and events.
  • Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills
  • Rest and relax when you arrive at Stanford Sierra - There are plenty of great spots in and around the main lodge to relax with a good book. indoors, both the Stanford Room and Old Lodge have fireplaces, outdoors there are decks off the lakeside of the lodge or all cabins have decks with lake views.
  • Maintain your iron level Red meat and spinach!
  • Increase carbohydrate intake Consume pasta, rice, potatoes and bread to comprise 70% of your diet and reduce your fat intake.
  • Medication If you have experienced negative effects on a previous trip to 6000 ft elevation, you can ask your doctor to prescribe Diamox. Read more about Diamox on the Trail Girl's blog.
Whether you are visiting Stanford Sierra for a camp wedding, business retreat or conference, you want to feel your best. If you have tips to share that have helped you acclimate to a high altitude stay, let us know!

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Meet Our Conference Season Yoga Instructor and Maseusse

by stanfordsierra

04 01, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Recreation, Staff members | 0 comments

Lake Tahoe native Ryan Goralski is a Sadhana Yoga Chi instructor and Licensed Massage Therapist who provides his services for attendees of all-inclusive conferences and retreats at Stanford Sierra Conference Center.

Ryan Goralski, yoga instructor and certified massage therapist

Ryan Goralski, yoga instructor and certified massage therapist

We recently sat down and talked to Ryan: What is your current job? In my role at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, I am a yoga instructor and massage therapist for attendees of spring and fall conferences and retreats. I usually lead yoga classes in the morning, then provide massage therapy sessions in the afternoon. This will be my third season. What is the best thing about your job? It really starts on my commute to work, when I’m driving or riding my bike out to Fallen Leaf Lake. There’s no better way to start the day.
The route to Stanford Sierra

The Fallen Leaf Chapel is part of the scenic commute to Stanford Sierra

  I also love the Cathedral Room, where I hold yoga sessions.
One of Ryan's fellow instructors teaching yoga in the Cathedral room

One of Ryan's fellow instructors teaching yoga in the Cathedral room

It overlooks the lake, but more than that, it allows me to lead the class into a sunrise session and embrace the yoga tradition. As we do sun salutations, the sun comes right over Angora Ridge and reflects off the lake. I can’t think of a better indoor location to do yoga.
Sunrise over Fallen Leaf Lake

Sunrise over Fallen Leaf Lake

Seems that most folks just want to unwind or decompress from their everyday busyness... I get to guide our guests into achieving a more relaxed and fluid well-being whether it's yoga or massage therapy or a bit of both. For guests coming in the spring or fall conference season, what is a ‘can’t miss’ activity or place to see? Start off with a yoga session in the Cathedral Room, doing sun salutations as the sun rises over Angora Ridge. Certainly the views from the top of Mt. Tallac are some of the best in the universe. It’s hard to beat an early morning paddle on Fallen Leaf Lake – either in a paddle boat or on a stand up paddleboard (SUP).   It’s beautiful when it’s glassy and calm.
A morning paddle on calm Fallen Leaf Lake

A morning paddle on calm Fallen Leaf Lake

Do you have a favorite memory of your time working at Stanford Sierra? It’s hard to narrow it down to one event, because it’s always a breath of fresh air to go out to Stanford Sierra and participate in the daily activities. It’s not so much the weather, as I also love it in the rain. It’s more the experience of being in the great outdoors – you’re surrounded by incessant natural beauty and the overall experience is truly unique. Currently there is no cell service at Fallen Leaf Lake. What do you think are the benefits of disconnecting? My perspective as a health practitioner is that it’s all about creating fluidity and spaciousness in the body.  Fallen Leaf Lake helps us to unfold our bodies from the closed modern gadgetry posture and open our peripheral awareness back to the natural environment. The lack of cell service frees you up to be truly open to our surroundings, helps boost creativity, and reconnects you with your higher well-being.
Ryan hiking with his son, Tomas

Ryan hiking with his son, Tomas

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Use Excel and Google Drive to Coordinate Events

by stanfordsierra

02 12, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Meeting | 0 comments

We host about 12 events during the spring then again in the fall each year. Before each event, I work with the group's coordinator to identify needs for their visit such as meeting and activity times, how many attendees, what room set up and equipment is needed, etc. I then package the information to share with our managers, so we can provide what the groups needs, when they need it. The process starts at least two months prior to the scheduled event when I send overview information to the group coordinator. Lately we've been sharing documents on Google Drive. Here is our fact sheet shared on Google Drive

Our fact sheet shared on Google Drive

I also share planning guidelines plus our A/V, wine and hors d'oeuvres lists. The group contact can then use this information to complete an Excel schedule spreadsheet which I also share on Google Drive. Here is a sample schedule from our alumni creative camp, Creativity in the Wild
Daily logistics schedule

Daily logistics schedule

Once the schedule is completed, the coordinator and I review it together item-by-item. The schedule is color-coded by department, so each manager can quickly see what they need to provide. Every Friday during conference season I review each event with our managers. Usually a few more questions come up during the logistics meetings, so I get back to the coordinator to clarify these final details, then I print a final logistics schedule which we post in the office. During events, we rotate as manager-on-duty so each of us know that we can go to the master schedule in the office with any questions. It's inevitable that changes occur during an event, so I'm sure to update the schedule and create a change form to notify managers of the changes. Before I go on my days off, I share the schedule file with Nichole, our assistant office manager, so she can make any changes that occur on those days. The process works well and events at our business conference center run smoothly. We're always looking for ways to streamline and improve our systems, so if you have ideas or suggestions, let me know!  

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Bring Your Meeting to Camp

by stanfordsierra

01 24, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Meeting, Recreation | 0 comments

Each summer for over 50 years, we host Stanford alumni and their families for one week of blissful summer camp on the shore of beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake.

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A typical summer day at Sierra Camp

Our summer program is hugely popular with Stanford alumni, who wait up to five years to secure a spot for their family. The key components of the program are outdoor activities in our amazing setting on Fallen Leaf Lake, quality educational programs including faculty speakers and fun activities to get the group interacting. You can incorporate these successful elements of our summer family camp into your group event at Stanford Sierra Conference Center. Many groups hold meetings in the morning and evenings to have afternoons free for fun, outdoor activities. Excellent options are either a guided hike or boating. Maybe a kayak relay race? We can help you plan your activities and schedule a staff member or two to join your group for a hike or to run your boating race.
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A group gathering for a hike

For an overview of hiking in the area, watch our hiking video. During the day, plan plenty of breaks for the group to relax and network together. Weather permitting we hold coffee breaks outside on the deck overlooking Fallen Leaf Lake. The serene setting seems to put meeting attendees at ease.
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Coffee break on the Old Lodge deck

For evening activities we have two good options to borrow from summer camp, a bonfire and sing-a-long on the beach with s'mores and disco bingo. If you have guitar players or singers in your group, encourage them to bring their instruments to lead your group in singing camp songs together. We can provide the bonfire on the beach, song books and s'mores. If you don't have any musicians in your group, we can recommend local groups you can hire for your bonfire sing-a-long.
Campfire06

Summer bonfire on Baby Beach

Disco bingo is a Sierra Camp tradition that continues with guests maintaining their enthusiasm for it year after year.
Stanford Sierra staff leading disco bingo

Stanford Sierra staff leading disco bingo

Disco bingo is bingo, with disco music (costumes strongly recommended) added. Maybe your bingo caller will play "Dancing Queen", then all female attendees get up and dance. Some beer and wine at dinner can help get your group in the mood to boogie! We can provide the enthusiastic bingo callers in disco attire. You can add other summer camp activities to your Stanford Sierra meeting including yoga classes and lunch or dinner barbecues. Contact us and we can help you plan your event and suggest activities so you meet your event goals and your attendees have a relaxing and fun visit to Fallen Leaf Lake.

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Juniper A is the Party Cabin!

by stanfordsierra

08 07, 2013 | Posted in Event planning, Lodging | 0 comments

If groups are planning after hours socializing, we suggest  Juniper A for the designated party cabin. Juniper A is our largest cabin with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large living room.

The Juniper A living room

The Juniper A living room

If you maximize all beds, 11 can sleep comfortably in the cabin. Two of the Juniper A bedrooms each have a queen bed, two bedrooms have two twin beds and there are three twin beds in the living room.
One of two bedrooms with a queen bed

One of two bedrooms with a queen bed

One of two bedrooms with two twin beds

One of two bedrooms with two twin beds

Juniper A is one of the furthest cabins from the main lodge, but meandering at a comfortable pace, it's about a two-minute walk (I've timed it!). The cabin is up the hill, so has a nice view of Fallen Leaf Lake over the trees .
Juniper cabins with Fallen Leaf Lake in the background

Juniper cabins with Fallen Leaf Lake in the background

Our onsite store, the Fountain, sells an excellent assortment of domestic and imported beers, wines from Stanford-affiliated wineries and sodas that we can stock in your party cabin.
J. Rowe and Gracie, our dynamic Fountain duo are read to stock your party cabin!

J. Rowe and Gracie, our dynamic Fountain duo are read to stock your party cabin!

Juniper A is in a building (cluster) along with Juniper B, C and D. The other three Juniper cabins each have two bedrooms and a living room, so each cabin can sleep five comfortably.
The Juniper C living room/ third bedroom

The Juniper C living room/ third bedroom

The Juniper building can hold 26 of your high-energy guests! Adjacent cabins are in the Hills and Lakes groupings. If you have 100 or more in your group,  you can house your party guests on the entrance side of the lodge, then guests who prefer an earlier bedtime can stay in the Point cabins on the far side of the lodge. Take a look at our property layout for locations of all cabins. And check our availability calendar to schedule your next event at our comfortable center on beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake!

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Who Knew Trail Maintenance Could be Fun?

by stanfordsierra

07 08, 2013 | Posted in Event planning, Meeting, Recreation | 0 comments

Last summer, based on a guest's suggestion, we partnered with the US Forest Service and started a trail maintenance program.  Bruce Campodonico, our head of maintenance and an avid hiker, coordinated the details with the USFS, attended a two-day trail building class sponsored by the Tahoe Rim Trail Association , then we were ready to get to work!

Bruce Campdonico, our camera-shy head of trail maintenance

Bruce Campdonico, our camera-shy head of trail maintenance

  Each week about five guests volunteered to join our staff members for a three-hour work shift on the popular and nearby Cathedral Trail.
The Cathedral Trailhead

The Cathedral trail head

Volunteers are required to wear long sleeves, pants and a hard hat to stay safe on the trail. The focus of the work last year and so far this year is clearing the brush along the trail.
Cutting away the encroaching shrubs

Cutting away the encroaching shrubs

With weekly shifts in the summer, the hike to the work spot is longer each time. I joined a work crew last week.
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Beautiful view of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe from the Cathedral trail

There were nine of us on my work crew, once we reached a spot on the trail where it was tough to get through the encroaching shrubs, we got our last-minute instructions from Bruce and got to work! We spread out so everyone had space to work safely. You have to trim back the bushes on the uphill side of the trail, then throw your cuttings in hard-to-see areas so hikers don't see a trail of dead branches as they are hiking through the area. Bruce said through mid summer work will focus on trimming back the shrubs to clear the narrow spots in the trail. Then the crews will get into rock and tread work. The tread is where the existing trail is. Over the years, some sections of trail have been pushed downhill, so the goal is to cut back the encroaching bushes, then the Forest Service will come in and regrade the trail to prevent erosion. I had just met my fellow crew members and the hike and the work offered a nice opportunity to chat and get to know each other better.
Working together on the trail

Working together on the trail

The trail crew

The trail crew

For your next offsite, if are looking for a team-building activity that gets you outside in a beautiful setting, provides a service to the community and builds camaraderie, visit our Lake Tahoe conference center and join us for trail maintenance!

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Money Saving Tips for Your Next Corporate Retreat

by stanfordsierra

06 24, 2013 | Posted in Event planning, Meeting, Special Events | 0 comments

If you are planning a corporate retreat for fall and would like to keep costs down, we have a few suggestions: Where and when: For resort destinations including Lake Tahoe, pricing is better during our shoulder seasons, spring and fall, and midweek, particularly early in the week. At Stanford Sierra Conference Center our weekends and Wednesday to Thursday nights tend to book first, leaving Sunday through Tuesday nights available, so we're more likely to negotiate rates for these days. You can check our availability online. Activities: Skip the facilitated group activities and get meeting participants outside to relax and clear their minds. Guided hikes are part of our complete conference package and allow attendees to exercise and spend quality time together.

Hiking along Fallen Leaf Lake

Hiking along Fallen Leaf Lake

Non motorized boats are also included in our package. Guests can check out stand up paddle boards, kayaks, peddle boats and sailboats from our boat dock.
Sailing and paddling from the Stanford Sierra boat dock

Sailing and paddling from the Stanford Sierra boat dock

Food & Beverage: Also save money by using pitchers of water versus bottled water at coffee breaks. Located at 6,250', we recommend guests drink plenty of water to acclimate. Coffee breaks are included in our package and are normally held outside on the deck overlooking Fallen Leaf Lake.
Coffee break on the deck

Coffee break on the deck

You can also promote attendee hydration and your event by purchasing reusable water bottles as an event gift. We partner with Camelbak, so can provide logo-ed bottles with lead time.  
A reusable Camelbak water bottle is a good option for an attendee gift

A reusable Camelbak water bottle is a good option for an attendee gift

Entertainment: We have a couple signature events,  a sing-a-long on the beach with s'mores or  disco bingo! If you include disco bingo on your schedule, be sure to let attendees know to pack their grooviest outfit.
Stanford Sierra staff leading disco bingo

Stanford Sierra staff leading disco bingo

Call me at 530-542-5600 or email nancylh@stanford.edu for a full description of disco bingo and a custom quote for your next corporate retreat!  

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Packing Suggestions for your Next Coroporate Retreat

by stanfordsierra

04 16, 2013 | Posted in Event planning, Lodging | 0 comments

Our first groups of the spring conference season arrive Friday, so we are sharing our packing tips to help you prepare to attend a Lake Tahoe retreat this spring. Before packing for any trip, check the weather in the destination city. I like the National Weather service forecast. This weekend we'll have daytime temps in the low 60s and nighttime lows in the 30s - A pretty big range which is typical in the mountains. Wearing layers is a convenient way to stay comfortable as temperatures rise through the day then drop again in the evening. For the dress code, you probably have a good idea of your company/ organization's dress code, and you can check the event agenda for specifics. Most groups that meet here at Stanford Sierra Conference Center dress casual for their meals and meeting, I think I've seen attendees from just about every group wearing jeans. Yeah for casual meetings!

Groups meeting here choose a casual dress code

If you can access your event's agenda in advance, check for free time. We encourage all groups to schedule free time to get outside in our beautiful setting on Fallen Leaf Lake. The best activities here are boating and hiking.

Plan to get out on the water during your visit

Our boat dock is open when there aren't scheduled meetings. Both groups visiting this weekend have free time on Saturday afternoon. Just head down to the boat dock and a friendly staff member will get you a life jacket then set you up in the watercraft of your choice. We have kayaks, peddle boats, stand up paddle boards and sailboats. There can be a cool breeze on the water, so a light, water-resistant out layer would work well for this weekend's weather.

There are excellent hiking options from Stanford Sierra

Plan to get out for at least a short walk during your visit. The Lower Falls are just a few minutes from Stanford Sierra on paved roads.

The Lower Falls

If you would like a longer hike, you might want to bring waterproof footwear. Some higher trails, including around Lily Lake on your way to the Upper Falls, have standing water from melting snow. The mid Tallac Trail and could be a good option for this weekend. Check in at the office for a hiking map and directions. To complete your packing bring any prescription medicine and toiletries you'll need during your stay. We stock our lodge rooms and cabins with soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. Our onsite store, the Fountain, sells a variety of items in case you forget something. For a full packing list, take a look at the packing guide on our website. Enjoy your trip!

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The Benefits of an All-Inclusive Conference Center

by stanfordsierra

03 20, 2013 | Posted in Dining, Event planning, Lodging, Meeting | 1 comments

There are many benefits to selecting a conference center such as Stanford Sierra which provides all of your meeting and event needs. An all-inclusive conference package plan is budget friendly in that you know all or most costs up front. Our packages include lodging, meals, coffee breaks, meeting rooms, A/V equipment, internet access, recreation, airport transfers, taxes and service fees. Above the package, you can add recreation options, maybe a yoga class or a cruise on our 22-passenger pontoon boat for your attendees during their free time. You can also schedule social hours with hors d'oeuvres and beverages and add beer, wine and sodas to your dinner. Once you know your agenda and attendance, then we can finalize the social hour food and beverage menu, and either provide an estimate of the costs or you can give us an amount not to exceed.

Add a lakefront social hour to your meeting

Another benefit of an all-inclusive conference center is with everything provided onsite, guests stay here for their downtime and are thoroughly engaged attendees. We regularly hear from our groups that the networking and idea-sharing that goes on among participants when they are not in organized meetings is a valuable benefit of meeting here on Fallen Leaf Lake.

Relaxing lakefront during a meeting break

Most of our employees live onsite and are all-purpose staff, so they are accustomed to working all aspects of service. Since Stanford Sierra is their home, staff members take ownership and go out of their way to make sure everyone has a good overall experience. Our staff tend to be an energetic and happy group!

Setting up for a coffee break isn't all work!

The majority of time we serve just one group at a time, so activities and meal options can be customized for your event. Our staff members can lead guided hikes or we can create team scavenger hunt challenges. We can customize your food and beverage events including lakefront barbecue lunches or dinners.

A team cooking challenge is an option

Check availability on our website if you think our all-inclusive center will work well for your next event. We're open spring and fall for groups of 30 - 180.

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