I just returned home from Founder’s Circle, one of my favorite events ever! (Do I say that about every event!) But I really mean it!
Founder’s Circle is a smaller event, only about 120 demonstrators, with an informal atmosphere, lots of free time, cute pillow gifts that tied into the gardening blooming theme, and a few activities designed to reward and pamper our top-performing demonstrators. And to top things off, it all takes place in southern Utah, one of my favorite places in the world!
This year was extra special, because Sara came with me (after not attending for two years)! It was wonderful to have her there—we split up and talked to as many different demonstrators as we could, then we huddled together at the end of the evening, looking through the Founder’s Circle yearbook (a handy little book that has everyone’s photo in it) and sharing what we’d learned about each demonstrator. I think between the two of us we talked to just about everyone!
I enjoyed every single day! The first full day (Thursday) I actually went shopping, one of my favorite activities but not something I would normally do at Founder’s Circle because my focus is on the demonstrators. But when I walked into the Gathering Place that first day, a group of demonstrators invited me to go with them, and I jumped at the chance. I figured it was a win-win! We tried on clothes, shared opinions about what looked great and not-so-great, and had a ball!
Friday most of the group went to Kanab, where we toured our manufacturing facility—love this trip and the opportunity to show off our roots. Many of the demonstrators had been there before, although almost one-third of our group this year were first-timers, a fact I find inspiring and exciting!
Friday ended with the pajama party and business share, with a card swap. For the first time ever this year, I actually had my swaps done on time and got to participate! (Usually I end up sticking my cards in a basket on the last day and telling everyone to grab one.) It was fabulous to stand in the line and give a card and receive a card from everyone—loved it!
Saturday was another free day, ending with a wonderful final dinner, held at the Ledges, a charming restaurant on the edge of the golf course. Dinner was delicious, the sunset was breathtaking, and everyone got to release real-live butterflies (part of the garden theme of the entire event). Although the butterflies didn’t all take off in graceful flight like we had planned (I think they were a little stunned at being let free), it was still a memorable experience.
Although many of the demonstrators planned outings (shopping, spa, the Grand Canyon, Zion Park, Aida, etc.), I spent much of my time at the hotel, hanging out in the Gathering Place or the dining area (no surprise there, right?)
The Gathering Place is the hub, the center of all the Founder’s Circle activities. It’s in a large, bright room, with natural light streaming in, full of energy and excitement. There were plenty of sofas and chairs and pillows (all decorated in Designer Series paper designs!—everyone wanted to buy them) to relax on, more treats than anyone could possibly imagine, a My Digital Studio computer corner, and plenty of tables for stamping.
If I wasn’t there, you could probably find me in the nearby dining area. If you went kind of late to breakfast and chatted long enough, you could be first for lunch! (I know, because I did it!).
I was particularly impressed this year with the way demonstrators made new friendships, while playing catch-up with old friends as well. Everyone seemed to be warm and welcoming, whether we were eating, stamping, riding on the bus, whatever. And I loved the opportunity to spend some rare face-to-face time with some of my favorite people in the world!
So that’s my Founder’s Circle report. I’m sure it’s not as detailed as some. I imagine there are a few blogs out there with lots more photos and minute-by-minute happenings! I hope everyone else enjoyed their time in southern Utah as much as I did!