FALL RETREAT UPDATE
Grab a cup of joe 'cause it's a long update. I've been sitting on this info for a couple of weeks and I'm about ready to burst!!
Well it's time to come clean! I may or may not have told Epworth Forest to stick their contract where the sun will never shine and I might have mentioned that Tudor could go with it. (might not have been one of my better moments in life?)
Yep. It came to that! After talking with them on the phone and setting up the entire retreat they mailed me my invoice minus a contract. The invoice included charges for six (6!!) full meals that were mandatory and not optional with our contract. (They failed to tell me this info while I was on the phone setting everything up)
I requested to see the new contract which they mailed off to me. It NEVER contained the clause that stated it was required to use their meal service. When I questioned our friend Tudor (remember him ladies?? oh yeah) he said it was a new policy and we couldn't get out of it even if it wasn't printed. So I went higher up the chain and spoke with the regional manager.
The regional manager said they were going to stick with the new policy of requiring meals to be purchased from the camp...even though she couldn't produce a contract that stated that in writing. I argued about food quality, quantity, allergies and the increased cost to no avail. So it came down to the fact that I could either accept the meals or find another venue. They were not concerned about losing our business.
I thought about just accepting the meals and letting it go. After all...what's a few crappy, over-priced meals? But after doing the math I realized that a three day weekend retreat would cost you at least $225!!! I just couldn't do it. Plus with the amount of stress that they caused me I decided that Epworth Forest did not deserve our business. So we have parted ways.
What does all this mean? I've looked around and to find a venue that can accommodate our size of group and still give us private sleeping/bathing areas is next to impossible to find. We are all just getting too old to climb up into bunk beds!! (ok, maybe it's just me!) So I started asking around and was told to follow up with Amish Acres in Nappanee, IN. They have an incredible conference room, amazing Amish food, private hotel rooms and 80 acres of farm land to relax and enjoy and most importantly they have a manager that knows how to accommodate retreat groups. Plus there are unique shops in town and did I mention the Amish food?? The complete package looks amazing.
Now to make this happen I'm trying to bring in a few other consultants to join our group. We've got a great group but in order to support a venue like this the numbers need to increase! So start talking to your friends, family and even people you don't like. (I promise to put them on the other side of the room from you!)
Another thought I'm tossing around is going to a two day retreat rather than a three day retreat. AA charges us daily for the use of the conference room. I'm currently working on our rental times with the Admin. but if we can get in early in the morning and stay late in the evening that would give us TWO FULL DAYS of scrapbooking and only require one overnight stay. It's a thought but not set in stone.
I think with a two day option we can probably keep the price the same, around $145-155 which will include your own table, 1 night double occupancy hotel room, 2 Amish meals (one of which is a huge buffet!) and two full days of scrapbooking.
The three day plan would increase the cost to around $185-195 and will include your own table, 2 nights double occupancy hotel room, 3 Amish meals and three full days of scrapbooking. With both plans you will receive a complementary continental breakfast each morning you stay at the hotel.
Now these numbers are just a general idea and may change! But at least it will give you an idea of what I'm working on. My goal is always to bring you the high quality of retreat for the lowest price that I can. The coordinator and I are even working on a price if 4 people want to share a room! (she says you better REALLY, REALLY like the people in your room--double beds!)
Now there are quite a few of you that have sent me a deposit for the previous Venue of Doom. If you want a refund as Amish Acres does not appeal to you I can do that! No questions asked. But for everyone else...hang on and enjoy the new ride!! I'll post more info as soon as I can. And as always comments are welcome and will always be considered!