Contact UsStanford Sierra Conference Center
P.O. Box 10618
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158 Physical Address:
130 Fallen Leaf Road
Fallen Leaf, CA 96150
Holding a business retreat can be invaluable for your business, whether you’re a small operation or a large company with a strong corporate culture. Through our extensive experience helping others host successful retreats Stanford Sierra has been able to observe why a business retreat is an invaluable tool in any manager’s kit. Firstly, a business retreat allows team members to break away from their regular routine and offers an opportunity to reflect on operations and strategy from a different perspective. Approaching strategic business problems from new angles in a focused environment is a crucial element of a retreat that is hard to capture in the office. Business retreats also allow employees to develop a stronger sense of community. Having the opportunity to be in a new environment and out of one’s comfort zone with fellow employees creates an immediate bond. Having retreat time free to spend with each other at meals, socializing, and engaging in outdoor recreation allows employees the opportunity to connect over hobbies and interests they might share outside of work. Having a more well-knit and collaborative team is invaluable for a business of any size. Finally, business retreats can serve as fantastic places for continuing education. The focused and intimate setting help people feel comfortable asking questions and working collaboratively to learn together, further helping a team become more tight-knit and productive back in the office. The facilities at Stanford Sierra offer housing for 30-180 people, 5 separate meetings rooms of varying size and prearranged dining options, taking all the work out of planning. In addition, the expansive natural setting and intimate lodge-like feel allow for collaboration, team-building and focused group activities, successfully facilitating strategic reflection, a closer-knit and more well-educated team. We see these as crucial elements to the success of any business. We’d love to welcome your business to Stanford Sierra and Fallen Leaf Lake!
One of the best ways for a company to improve and grow is through feedback from its customers. Feedback with praise lets a company know what they’re doing right, while negative or constructive feedback tells a company about problems or issues (ongoing or new) that can be improved.At Stanford Sierra Conference Center (SSCC), we give all of our guests an opportunity to supply us with feedback about their stay. After a group departs, we provide them with one of two ways to let us know how we’re doing. A handful of our program attendees receive paper surveys at check-out while we email electronic surveys to attendees of most events. Almost all of our departments benefit from these surveys, especially our kitchen, maintenance and housekeeping. Having a guest mention a squeaky door, a tree branch scratching a roof, a burned-out light bulb or a running toilet is a great way for us to gain knowledge when it comes to general maintenance and upkeep. While we do our best to keep an eye on everything around Camp, without actually sleeping in a cabin, it’s hard to know what small details can make someone’s stay better. Over the past few years, we saw two things continue to appear on our surveys as items for improvement. The need for stronger and more consistent wireless internet was the most mentioned, while providing more gluten-free food options was the second. SSCC has made big strides in both of these areas. In the past two years, SSCC has added four more T1 lines, bringing the total to eight. T1 lines increase bandwidth, making internet faster. In addition to faster internet, cabins on the east side of Camp have had Ethernet cables hardwired to them, which increases signal strength and helps to eliminate dead zones in cabins. More improvements will continue next year with the last set of cabins becoming hardwired. In the dining room, gluten-free bread is now readily available at breakfast and our hiker bar. In addition to increased bread options, most entrees on the buffet hot carts are gluten-free. Our chefs have made purposeful changes to many of their classic dishes to limit the number of items containing gluten on the hot cart. Our staff will be happy to point out items that do and don't contain gluten. Surveys are also a great way to boost staff morale! SSCC prides itself in having professional, helpful and friendly staff members. Weekly staff meetings include shout-outs for specific staff members from surveys as well as overall staff compliments. Praise for a job well done is always motivation to continue providing the highest level of service. Looking back at the last season of survey responses, I see quite a few that are helpful. Our website could include better information for individuals who need ADA accommodations, and tips for combating altitude sickness would also be helpful.The expression “It never hurts to ask,” is what comes to mind when I read some of our survey responses. And it’s true-- it never hurts to ask, but there are some things we just can’t control. Suggestions like “heat the lake, ” “more chocolate!” and “less wind” always make me smile. So whether it’s negative feedback, positive feedback, or a rather large request, let us know! We can't make any promises, but we'll try. Our surveys help us to improve our facilities, our service and our overall programming.
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 DriveI 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 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!
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.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. 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. 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. Disco bingo is a Sierra Camp tradition that continues with guests maintaining their enthusiasm for it year after year. 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.
When planning the schedule for your Lake Tahoe conference at Fallen Leaf Lake, build time for a golf outing before or after your meeting. There are a few courses in South Lake Tahoe offering a variety of difficulty levels and prices. The most affordable course in South Lake Tahoe is the city-owned Bijou Golf Course in the center of town. 2013 green fees for the nine-hole course are $17 and club rental is $15 (rates will probably go up slightly for 2014). Bijou is a good course for beginners or a warm-up for more advanced players to get the golf muscles going and keep up with your stroke. From the Bijou course golfers have great views of the surrounding mountains. Expect the course to be in better shape in the fall versus the spring.Experienced golfers will want to consider Lake Tahoe Golf Course. You can play the William Bell-designed championship course for $65 midweek or $85 on the weekend. Club and cart rentals are available and proper golf attire is required. If you don't have time for nine or 18 holes and just want to get out and swing the clubs, Lake Tahoe Golf Course has a putting green, chipping green and driving range available. Group or private lessons are available from PGA teaching professionals and there are a pro shop, snack bar and full bar onsite. For a first-class golf experience on one of the most scenic courses in the world, visit Edgewood Tahoe located on the shore of South Lake Tahoe. The course was designed by George Fazio and rated by Golf Digest Magazine as one of America's top courses. Spring 2014 green fees range from $110 to $160. Rates go up in summer then drop late summer, and drop again in late fall. If you are not a golfer, Edgewood is worth visiting for the excellent bar and restaurant and to enjoy the amazing lake and mountain views. Edgewood is one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate a special occasion and Brooks bar is a great spot to meet friends for drinks and appetizers. For a comprehensive overview of area golfing visit Tahoe South. All three South Lake Tahoe golf courses mentioned have staff available year round, so give them a call if you have questions or to schedule a group tee time. I'm not a golfer, but writing this post makes me want to get outside and play!
I was wondering what to write about this week, when one of my favorite topics came to mind - food! I'm one of those people who needs (don't know if it's a psychological or a physiological need) to eat every couple of hours. My coworkers love to give me a hard time as they see me traipse from my office across the lodge to the kitchen to get my mid-morning snack. Sometimes, if there is a group onsite, I "check on" the coffee break to make sure everything is going smoothly.Weather permitting, coffee breaks are held outside. During a meeting or after sitting in front of a computer for a couple of hours, who doesn't need some fresh air? And you can't beat our view! Of course when I "check on" on the coffee break a quality check of the baked goods is usually necessary. For those who prefer a healthier option, we always have a fruit basket out at coffee breaks. If there isn't a coffee break happening when my hunger strikes, I go straight to the source and visit Steve in the bakery. It's always a pleasure to see Steve and find out how his two girls are doing, and of course, get some yummy baked goods! And, you can't have baked goods without a cup of coffee (at least I can't). We serve locally roasted and delicious Alpen Sierra coffee. So schedule your next meeting at our Lake Tahoe conference center and join me for a mid-morning coffee break on Fallen Leaf Lake!
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!Each week about five guests volunteered to join our staff members for a three-hour work shift on the popular and nearby Cathedral Trail. 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. With weekly shifts in the summer, the hike to the work spot is longer each time. I joined a work crew last week. 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. 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!
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.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. 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. 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. 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. Call me at 530-542-5600 or email email@example.com for a full description of disco bingo and a custom quote for your next corporate retreat!