A Toast to 2015!

Written by Rachael Blair - December 15, 2015

Every year since our birth eight years ago (we’re still in primary school, age-wise), Wholegrain Digital has been looking forwards. At first, when the team was just a few of us, this was easily done around the table in the office on a day-to-day basis. However, as we started to grow, it became more important for us to carve out some time away from our day-to-day work, to revisit our vision and review what we’re doing to work towards it… And to have some fun of course! So, in 2013, the first ever ToastCamp was born.

Sounds tasty!

ToastCamp starts with toastToastCamp was so called as the first one was held in the run up to WordCamp 2013, we met at breakfast and we all like toast (wholegrain, of course!). We do not camp in toast-shaped tents and roast marshmallows around an open fire (yet… Although that’s an idea for a future retreat right there!). ;)

Reconnect, Relax, Re-evaluate

The idea is that a couple of days away from our usual environment gives the team a chance to reconnect with each other on a personal level as individuals, and for us as a team to reconnect with why we do what we do. We talk about what’s working well, debate what’s not so hot and share ideas about how we can serve our clients even better and continue to build a strong business in a wholesome way.

Here at Wholegrain Digital, we are as open as our favourite open-source CMS, so we’re more than happy to share how the week went with you!

Day 1 –  What’s your passion fruit?

The teamwork on day one started before we even arrived at our location, the Brixton Impact Hub at Pop Brixton. Two of the team members slipped on the way in and were ‘rescued’ by teammates – this was before even morning coffee so we were off to a good start!

rsz_tom_vineeta_highfive

Once we had all arrived, our founders Tom and Vineeta shared their vision for the coming year and we all shared our thoughts as to how we as a team can achieve it. The short version of the vision is to continue doing what we do but more, bigger and better. This means some potential growth in the coming year but the focus as always will be on growing stronger as a team and finding ways to serve our existing clients even better.

rsz_passions
Following a delicious vegetarian lunch of buckwheat pancakes at local café Kata Kata, the afternoon ended with a lovely ‘passion fruit’ exercise led by Amina. This mini workshop both reconnected us with our personal passions and with each other as we were reminded of our shared values. The underlying theme across all of our passions was a desire to help and empower people (including ourselves), which is a big part of our vision – to do good stuff that helps people (individuals, and humanity as a whole in the long-term). We love building beautiful websites but it has always been about so much more. 

Day 2 –  Building for the future

On the second day we returned back to our usual Impact Hub home in Westminster, where we kicked off the day with an uplifting video created by Amina, which showcases Wholegrain Digital’s ‘mission statement’ and highlights the individuality of each member of the core team. It was a beautiful reminder of the vision we’d discussed the day before and a tear or two may have been shed!

rsz_ervin_presents_nuts2
We then had a thought-provoking presentation on ‘better communication’, showing us how easy it can be to miscommunicate in the absence of non-verbal cues and how we can  compensate for this by using language in a more effective way. This is especially important for us as most of our communication takes place on the phone or by email.

We ended the day with a presentation from Ervin, who shared the NUTS framework he has been working on with the team. It was exciting to see how this is developing as this was just released as open source this year so that anyone can get involved.

And then they were off!

rsz_team_sport

We rounded off the two days with a fun afternoon of go-karting at Team Sport’s Tower Bridge location, where all the karts are electric (so it was wholesome too!). Those who were less keen (scared? No not at all… Ok, maybe a little) cheered on from the sidelines and enjoyed the chance to catch up outside of work.

Team Christmas Dinner

The whole team then got back together for a tasty vegetarian dinner at The Gate Islington, where we also shared our ‘Secret Santa’ gifts – all of which were super thoughtful, and wholesome of course!

Lola_loves_her-SecretSanta

It was a great two days, which all of the team enjoyed and we’re already looking forward to our ToastCamp 2016 when we’ll be looking back at how much we’ve achieved from now!