Thanks + Giving

It’s finally here, our favourite fall feast weekend!  We’ve had visions of drumsticks, dressing, and pumpkin pie dancing in our heads for several weeks now and can almost taste it!  And although we are clearly lovers of all things ‘food’, we love what food can do even more, especially this upcoming weekend….it brings people together.

One thing that makes Thanksgiving ‘la crème de la crème’ of holidays is that it is a simple holiday; its roots are firmly planted in gathering to give thanks.  No shopping for present stressors, no figuring out why the strand of christmas lights is out, and as pretty as it is, no snow.  Really let’s all just agree that Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday!

Just as the pilgrims used to gather and feast together, being grateful for the harvest and the year to come, we too still celebrate in that tradition.  Granted, the world has changed significantly and perhaps some of the past traditions have changed but the premise is the same.  On the second Monday of October, Canadians gather with family and friends over turkey, pumpkin pie, and all the trimmings.  Most of us are very blessed; we have roofs over our heads, food on the table, and at least a few people in this world who we can really count on.  That in itself is something to be grateful for.

This year we want to offer up a bit of a ‘thanks giving’ challenge.  As much as we all relax and enjoy in each other’s company, watching the game, jumping in leaves with the kids, lingering over coffee after ‘the feast’, let’s try to be even more present.  Let’s try to take a few moments to really sit and think about everything we have to be thankful for.  One way to do this, and to really make those around you feel special, is by sharing a complement or something you are grateful for before starting dinner.  It is easy. Once everyone is sitting down one person starts and tells the person to their left (or right…whatever you choose) why you are grateful for them or something they do that you appreciate.  It is really amazing the things that come out of this.  Not only do people feel loved and appreciated, but sometimes you can learn that something you do (without even realizing it) makes a difference to someone else.  Perhaps you even want to take it a step further and during dessert share a personal event that you are thankful for that is in your life or occurred this year.  These simple exercises really push us to be present and to reflect on the abundance of good that it is in our lives.

At the end of the day there is so much to be thankful for.  Here at The Crossing we marvel every day at the beauty that surrounds us, we are grateful for the funny, hardworking, and vibrant team that makes this place tick, and obviously we have incredible clients whose loyalty, feedback, and presence allows us to live our dream of sharing this special place with others.

So to you and yours, from us and ours, we wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving weekend!

Sweet, Sweet Summer!

It’s hard to imagine that we have already experienced two glorious months of summertime and that in a few short weeks school is back in, sun kissed skin begins to pale, and we try to remember where we packed away the fall gear.  Now, this isn’t meant to be a sad song about the end of a season, in fact it is quite the opposite.  Realistically speaking, we are lucky to have a variety of joys to celebrate in every part of the year here in  Alberta, although -40 with windchill does not make the cut.  So with that being said, we want to share our top ten loves of summer in the Rockies!  And the top ten are…..

1.  Loooonnnngg days – One if the very best things about being situated in Southern Alberta are the luxuriously long days filled with hours of sunshine!

2.  Perfect temperatures – Along with warm sunshiney days, we often have little humidity which lends itself to cool nights perfect for sleeping with the windows open and au natural air conditioning.

3.  Campfires – On the heels of #2, cool nights are the perfect setting for your favourite sweatshirt, s’more fixins, and a good ol’ campfire.  When conditions permit there are few things better than sitting around with friends and family and enjoying storytelling and star gazing.  Always be sure to check that you are in compliance with current rules and regulations before starting any fire.

4. Porches – Back, front, side….we don’t discriminate!  Any time spent on a porch in the summer is time well spent.  Whether you are having your morning coffee and reading the paper, enjoying a lazy Sunday with your nose in a good book, or having an after dinner drink just watching the world go by, there is something so relaxing of summer hours spent on a porch.

5. Books – As mentioned above, be it enjoyed on a porch swing, hammock, park bench or picnic blanket, books are the literary fruit of the season!  A little book reading under the shade of a tree can add years to your life, at least we think so;)

6. BBQ – BBQ in the summer is like hot chocolate in the winter, they’re just made for each other.  Ribs, chicken, kebabs, grilled corn on the cob…we could go on but we’re already salivating.

7.  Fresh fruit and veg – Nothing tastes better than food that’s in season!  Berries, apples, corn…the list goes on and on.  The beauty of in season produce is that it is at its peak, you barely need to do anything to it and it is guaranteed to taste divine!

8. Vacation – Though as adults summer vacation isn’t the two month holiday that young kids look forward to, there is certainly an element of nostalgia about taking some time off in the summer.  A long weekend camping or hiking, a staycation hanging out in the backyard, or a lengthy roadtrip, summer vacation brings out the kid in all of us.

9.  Stampede – Clearly this is specific to our region but who can honestly say that Stampede isn’t one of the best aspects of living in our part of Alberta?  Food, rodeo, chucks, music, art, carnival games, rides, culture, history…heck, no wonder it’s called “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth”.

10.  Wild flowers – One of the very best things that summer brings to The Crossing is acres of unique and beautiful wildflowers.  All different hues, shapes, and sizes; their simple beauty is a reminder that Mother Nature loves us all.

Get your programs here!!!

Looking for the perfect opportunity to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind?  Well, we just might be able to give you two reasons in the forms of our up and coming Fall retreats!

PHOTOGRAPHY

For all of you shutterbugs out there we are happy to welcome award winning photographer, Tracy Elliot, who will guide you through various sessions on shooting, lighting, and editing from October 16th-18th.  As always, the picturesque grounds provide a stunning backdrop to hone your craft.  All levels welcome!  See our Programs page for more details.

.Tracy Elliott Photography Workshop FINAL 2015 (2)

 

YOGA & MINDFULNESS

Additionally, we are very excited to be offering another Yoga weekend with the highly experienced and dedicated, Tracey Delfs.  Join Tracey from November 20th-22nd for a weekend of Yoga and Mindfulness where she will teach you the ‘how’ of calming your mind, mitigating daily stressors, and cultivating more contentment and happiness in your daily life.  As with the photography retreat this is an all inclusive weekend!  Just bring your mat and positive energy!  More info on our Programs page.

Tracey Delfs Yoga Retreat May 12

Please feel free to share with friends and give us a call if you would like more information.  You can reach us at 403-932-3392!

See you this fall!

Stampede 2015…Like Christmas in July!

 

The hustle and bustle, family and friends in from out of town, lots of food and bevvies, everyone is excited, and traditions abound!!!  And, for those of us to happen to live in the area, it is time for our proverbial “Christmas in July” or, as most people around the world know it as, STAMPEDE!!!!

Think about it, there are a multitude of similarities; endless preparation, excess fun, packed days, late nights, full bellies, empty wallets and at the end of it everyone is ready to get back to a normal routine (after a good night’s rest and a nap or two).  BUT, most people love it and, after a year goes by, are raring to go again!

Perhaps one of the things we love most about Stampede time (besides mini doughnuts), are the traditions (correction…mini doughnuts are a tradition)!  Families getting up early and staking their claim along the parade route, pancake breakfasts, little boys and girls with stars in their eyes seeing real cowboys and cowgirls in the rodeo, Country Western music filling the air, the beauty of the First Nations traditions, the Grandstand Show, we could go on!  Though we have to admit, probably the nearest and dearest to our hearts is the Western hospitality!  From the time you walk off the plane and are greeted by one of the many “White Hat” volunteers, to then endless “howdys” and handshakes, Calgary and its surrounding areas really know how to make people feel welcome!

Over the past few years, The Crossing has had the opportunity to really be seen as a place to experience Stampede events.  Last year we hosted a rocking (literally) party for the National Music Centre that was graced by performances from Canadian music icons Jim Cuddy, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Paul Brandt!  It was a night we will never forget!  This year we are looking forward to hosting a large corporate client appreciation event for one of our Calgary based customers.   Mixing business and pleasure, they will be showing their clients some Western hospitality, followed by a day of team building and meetings and then they are off to experience the Rockies!  We couldn’t have planned a better itinerary if we tried!

Overall we are grateful to seen as part of the ‘tradition’.  Stampede is such a great time, and Calgary’s surrounding areas have a lot to do with that!  Yeeeeeehaw to a fantastic 2015 STAMPEDE!!!!

Dads, this one’s for you!

It’s time to break out the BBQ, the golf clubs, the fishing tackle, and gear up for that day of the year where we show Dads how much we love them. This Sunday is Father’s Day and we want to reflect a little bit on this. Being a Dad means so many things….care giver, good cop or bad cop, fun guy who lets you do things Mom won’t, bandaid applier and boo boo kisser, world’s biggest fan (of whatever the current activity is), broken heart mender, wedding day heart giveaway-er, grandpa, cookie sneaker….the list goes on. But really, Dad is a teacher, someone who their kids look up to teach them so many things about the world. We came across a nice poem that we want to share and feel that sums up the impact of great Dads the world over….

Life Lessons by Joanna Fuchs

You may have thought I didn’t see,
Or that I hadn’t heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.

Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we’d grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It’s written on my heart.

Without you, Dad, I wouldn’t be
The person I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.

I’ve grown up with your values,
And I’m very glad I did;
So here’s to you, dear father,
From your forever grateful kid.

Here at The Crossing we are proud to boast that we have a few pretty amazing Fathers and Grandfathers on our team. After working together for a couple of years it isn’t hard to see how hard they work to be able to give their all, at both home and work. In an industry like ours the hours can be long and unpredictable, which can make family life challenging at times. It takes an exceptional amount of energy, time and planning to make it all work. And, although we can have some long days out here, one thing that always brings a smile to the face of our “Crossing Dads”, is talking about their kids and grand kids. Being a Dad takes time, patience, love and presence….we would like to take a moment to let the Dads and Grandpas on our team know that we think you have all of these in spades! Have a great Father’s Day!!!

What’s Cookin’? Or Should we say…Who’s cookin’?

If there is one thing that guests always comment on during, or after, a stay at The Crossing, it’s always how great the food is! We don’t often toot our own horn but we have to agree with everyone on this! There is absolutely no question about who is responsible for the consistent, quality results that are served pipping hot through the swing door into the dining room…Chef Doug and his talented team. And, today we are happy to share that we have a new member of The Crossing family who is helping Chef Doug continue these standards of excellence, and that is Sous Chef Prasad Padte.

Settling right in with the rest of the team, Prasad has been enjoying his time at The Crossing. We’re loving getting to know him and his family and wanted you to as well.  Welcome to the family Prasad, we are happy you are here!

Read on below for Prasad’s bio which you can also find in the “Your Hosts” section of the website which features all of our full-time staff….

“I was expecting a modern banquet facility when I first visited The Crossing, but instead I found a wonderful cottage filled with antiques,warmth and a home like atmosphere. While walking around the property I came across the river side fire-pit which left me speechless.”

Prasad grew up in Bombay and gained his culinary knowledge in France and the UK working with some fabulous Chefs who believed in the ‘farm to table’ concept. Prasad feels that, “the great thing about good food, you don’t have to take mediocre ingredients & fancy them up. What I like about The Crossing kitchen is that everything is made in-house, you just get fresh ingredients and let the flavors talk for themselves.”

Five years ago, Prasad and his wife Shilpa, immigrated to Canada and made Calgary their home. They love travelling and learning about new cultures and cuisine, spending their days off exploring this beautiful province and country.

The Healing Powers of Fly Fishing

Spring is here which means summer is just around the corner, and here at The Crossing summer wouldn’t be summer without the inspiring Casting for Life annual retreat! For those of you not familiar with Casting for Life, a registered charity since 1997, it was created to, “provide women recovering from breast cancer with the opportunity to learn the sport of fly fishing and the art of fly tying in the beautiful and enriching environment of a three day retreat. By introducing them to this life-affirming activity, as well as providing a luxurious weekend of relaxation and renewal our desire is to provide them emotional and spiritual encouragement at a time in their lives when hope for the future is needed.”

Since 2001 The Crossing has proudly been the venue for the yearly retreat weekend. Year after year, we are continually inspired by the women who participate in this program. Watching women support women, share their stories, laughter and tears, and being able to partake as a vehicle in the healing process is something we are truly grateful for. Kate Fillion, a director at Casting for Life, explains how fly fishing has a multi-dimensional effect on recovering breast cancer survivors:

“The art of fly fishing plays an important role in the physical and emotional recovery process for breast cancer survivors. The motion of fly casting allows the body to gently exercise and stretch the muscles to allow for a greater range of movement. This can reduce swelling and help restore mobility and muscle function that may have been compromised by surgery. On an individual level, it is about coping with life after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and finding and giving support through other women who share the same bond. Equally important, the sport of fly fishing draws people to beautiful, natural settings, places of solace where emotional well-being can flourish. Fly fishing is a marriage of physical activity and intellectual stimulation.”

This year’s retreat runs from July 17-19th and there are currently nine spots left on a first come, first serve basis. Casting for Life and their generous sponsors and volunteers have worked hard to augment the cost of the weekend to $200 per participant and includes all accommodations, meals, equipment, instruction, etc. If you or someone you know is a breast cancer survivor and could benefit from a weekend of relaxation, fun, friendship, meals that you don’t have to cook or clean, and above all else, healing for the mind, body and soul, please contact Kate Fillion at 403-606-4055, or visit www.castingforlife.com for more information.

‘Spring Clean’ with your team!

Yes, springtime is indeed the perfect time for so many things…gardening, tuning up the bikes for family rides, the start of baseball, soccer and golf, skiing in a t-shirt…

Notice we left out ‘spring cleaning’ as we want to talk about this from a different perspective.  Usually ‘spring cleaning’ involves a weekend in the garage or basement, sorting, sweeping, decluttering and getting orgazined for the summer season ahead.  The reality is that we do this at home but we should be doing this at work as well.  There is no easy way around it, either at home or at work, but the truth is you just need to put in the hard work and everyone knows that you feel 100% better when it is done.

Early spring is the perfect time to take advantage of the shift that everyone is feeling after sloughing off the winter.  There is a new-ness, a revived energy to be tapped into and explored as a team; so take a few days and ‘spring clean’ as a team.  Go through the good, the bad and the ugly, see which methods led to success and which ones are turning up dead ends.  Or, perhaps it is time to get the team together and do some profiling to make sure that everyone is in the right job, at the right time, with the right team members around them.  There are a million ways to ‘spring clean’ but the important part is that you take the time to do it.

Where you do your team ‘spring clean’ matters as well.  We can’t begin to tell you how many of our groups are astonished at how much more they have accomplished, and how much ‘deeper’ they have been able to go as a team while on site with us.  The flow, and absence of interruption, obviously are key factors in their success, but many continue to say that it is the ambience and off-hours of casually spending time bonding, sharing meals, playing pool, going for walks, or enjoying the scenery from the deck with a glass of wine is what the secret ingredient is.  Many groups also incorporate ‘non work’ activities such as fly fishing, yoga, orienteering, trail riding, drum circles, guest speakers, wine tasting, etc., to bring about a different type of colleague bonding experience.

We recently launched our first video on YouTube and would love for you to envision your team enjoying time together at The Crossing…

 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPS6zW_J8j9_1GwlRUs9FYw

And so, we invite you to come and do your ‘spring cleaning’ with us.  March, April and May bring a whole new vision of beauty to The Crossing’s vistas.  The sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature provide the perfect backdrop to dive into inspiring work.  To learn more or to book please feel free to call us at 403-932-3392 or email us at info@null0fe.697.mwp.accessdomain.com .

 

Hope to see you soon!

Do You Dare?

When is the last time you paid money to spend a weekend being openly vulnerable with a group of strangers?

Most would say never, but then again most have not yet experienced The Daring Way™ for Leaders. This past weekend at The Crossing, Jenn Lofgren of Incito Consulting Inc. and Jamie Davidoff of Spark Success Coaching, both Certified Daring Way Facilitator Candidates, lead an intimate group of strangers (yes we realize this sounds a bit like an oxymoron) on an intense two day leadership journey. Individuals from varying levels of management and leadership positions, with a confetti of professional backgrounds including health care, finance, energy, technology, and academia, descended on The Crossing looking for ways to become better leaders. What they didn’t realize was that they would have a transformational experience and develop deep, lasting bonds.

To give a bit of background, as per the website, “The Daring Way™ is a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. The method was designed for work with individuals, couples, families, work teams, and organizational leaders. It can be facilitated in clinical, educational, and professional settings. During the process we explore topics such as vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness. We examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are holding us back and we identify the new choices and practices that will move us toward more authentic and wholehearted living. The primary focus is on developing shame resilience skills and developing daily practices that transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead.” Needless to say, one must realize coming into this retreat that there is going to be some serious internal work required, but the benefits will last a lifetime!

The Crossing team welcomed Jenn, Jamie, and the participants on Friday afternoon and they didn’t waste any time getting started. Working through several exercises to create trust was the first task. Through said exercises and statement of intentions for the weekend, everyone quickly realized how much they had in common. And, what better way to continue to build trust and foster conversation than over dinner! As Jenn shared, “(Chef) Doug spoiled us like your best Grandma visit, ever!” After dinner the group picked up where they left off and dove into the myths of vulnerability and stepped into areas of risk, uncertainty, and emotional exposure. They rounded out the evening by starting to explore using the metaphor of an ‘arena’ representing wherever it is in your life that you are looking at showing up and being brave from a leadership context. They discussed what potential seats could be in the arena and who sits in them. After this it was time to call it a night and everyone eagerly made their way back to their inviting rooms.

After a hearty breakfast the participants took advantage of a beautiful morning and set out on the property for a walk to complete their first task of the day; discussing a Harvard Business Review article on Authentic Leadership that had been given to them in advance. Once back in the meeting room the day really got started with the presentation of their homework assignment from the previous night which was choosing a personal theme song. The morning was off to a rocking start (pun intended)!

But the party couldn’t last forever and hard work reared its head again. Saturday was full of the guts of The Daring Way™ program. Hard topics like empathy, self- compassion, shame, and examining values, pushed participants out of their comfort zones and forced them to ‘dig deep’, a phrase often used by Brené Brown herself, to come up with authentic answers to help forge a more wholehearted path. All of this hard work required some brain food and as Jenn relayed, “we ate and we ate and we ate!” After sharing another delicious home cooked dinner, the participants were ready for some much deserved R&R, but instead it was homework time. The assignment was extremely challenging, especially after an emotionally and mentally exhausting day. The crew rallied though, and found strength in the trust and meaningful friendships that had been built within the brief 24 hours they had spent together. They headed off to attack the task. Shortly after Jenn and Jamie found the small group working away, seemingly enjoying the torturous assignment, with hoots of laughter sparking the air late into the night.  The wine might have helped but it’s amazing what a little camaraderie can do for the soul!

Sunday morning was bittersweet as the participants gathered for the start of the final day. As a fresh fire was lit in the conference room, the group eased in to sharing the challenging work they completed the night before.  They discussed how to apply this to their position as empowering leaders, specifically focusing on the delicate art of providing feedback. From here they moved into their final exercise which was choosing guideposts and how to focus on implementing one or two into their daily lives.

Overall the weekend was a great success! We thoroughly enjoyed having the entire The Daring Way™ ensemble with us here at The Crossing, it was a perfect fit! We see one of our strengths as being able to provide a safe and inviting environment that allows people to open up and tap into a deeper level, both as individuals and as a team. Jamie and Jenn had some very kind words about their experience with us which we are very proud to share….

“The peaceful and quiet environment allowed people to be more focused and present. The fact that we had the building all to ourselves was a bonus as well. It allowed participants to freely use the meeting space in the evening knowing that they would not be disrupting any other guests. That also made it feel safe, comfortable and intimate.” Jamie Davidoff, Spark Success Coaching

“We couldn’t have selected a more suitable place for a transformational leadership retreat. The Crossing at Ghost River was the private, reflective, and beautiful location needed to support our clients going deeper into their work in a way that could not have been achieved in a busy hotel or in a venue in the city. The food and hospitality put us over the top; we felt spoiled in so many ways allowing us to be immersed in the program experience. “ Jenn Lofgren, Incito Consulting Inc.

It was our pleasure to host such a dedicated group!  Taking the time and energy to work on oneself, to improve not only their own lives but those around them, to become better leaders and self aware individuals, is something we applaud.  We hope you enjoyed your time with us and feel like The Crossing is the type of space that emits a welcoming, safe and open atmosphere.  Hopefully this incredible experience can be shared here again in the future!

‘Check In’ To 2015

We have just officially surpassed the first week of the New Year and we must say 2015 has a nice ring to it!

Call it hokey, superstitious, following the masses, etc., but the New Year really is a fresh start. Not that you can’t make a fresh start whenever you choose, but why not use the momentum of the universe to help you along? And what better way to make a fresh start than to set some goals! Here at The Crossing, our goal for 2015 is to focus on ‘checking in’. It seems appropriate for an overnight retreat centre, right!?!? But in all seriousness, we mean ‘checking in’ in a variety of ways, including checking out.

Check in with….yourself.
What do you want out of this year for you and only you? These are things that make you feel good, are positive, and contribute to you being an even better version of you. Do you love to read but somehow between work, juggling the kids’ schedules, hectic travel, etc., it has fallen by the wayside? What about dancing, painting, cooking, writing? Whatever activity it is that you loved that has somehow been shelved over time, try to find some time to shake the dust off.  Perhaps scheduling an hour a week, or even 15-30 mins a few days a week if you need more flexibility, can rekindle a part of you that you had forgotten about.

Check in with …..family and friends.
With people becoming busier and busier, it can sometimes happen that those who we want to spend the most time with actually get the least. Is there one night a week that the entire family is home? Get everyone around the dinner table and make it a standing date. Or perhaps a dinner party and game night with friends; make it monthly date and take turns hosting.

Check in with…work.
Start 2015 with a fresh perspective on what work means to you. The reality is that not everyone is currently working in their absolute dream job everyday, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of takeaways. Create an opportunity to speak with your boss on how you can become more involved in areas of your job that you are really passionate about.  Is there a social committee or rec sports league that you could join with your colleagues? We spend a significant portion of our day with our ‘work family’, these relationships need nurturing and investment just like the ones we have at home. Working with a great team who is supportive and encouraging makes a huge impact, not only on our performance, but on our day to day happiness as well.

Check in with your…body.                                                                                                                                             Take stock of how you physically feel. Is your shoulder still bothering you from that first heavy snow shovel? Do you have your yearly checkup penciled in with your physician yet? Are you waking up feeling ready for the day or wanting to hit snooze one more time?  Have you been wanting to dig out the skis for the last 3 winters? Wanting to break out of the take out food habit and rekindle the fire with your stove? Our bodies are miraculous machines, but like all machines they need repair, maintenance and downtime! Small changes can lead to big results, and often the better you feel the easier it is to keep on track. Try simple things like…. powering down all electronics at least a half hour before bed time, substitute an herbal tea for one of your coffees during the day, make plans with a friend to hit the slopes/gym/new class so that you are less likely to bow out, schedule your yearly checkup to fall on your birthday (you won’t forget and is there a better gift to give yourself than your health?), find a great recipe app that can make homemade meals work with your schedule and budget. And last but not least, check out…give yourself a day off every once and while.

The New Year gives us a chance to refocus, reset and revive!  Big changes and goals are fantastic, but make sure to pick a few small things that you know will be easy to incorporate into your day to day life.  The motivation that you will get from achieving these small steps will help you continue to build on your success throughout the year!

All of the very best in 2015!