Post-Event Report: SOAK*2019 Leads Retreat

Last weekend (February 8-10), the Precipitation Northwest board attended the annual SOAK Leads Retreat. This event happens every year and is considered the official kickoff for the year’s SOAK event.

Organized by the SOAK Producers, this retreat has traditionally been attended by all of the SOAK Department Leads, as well as the RCs. Last year (2018), the Precipitation Northwest Board was invited to attend for a few hours to share updates and discuss things like event finances. Following last year’s event, Leads and Producers decided to invite the Precipitation Northwest board to stay and participate in the whole weekend starting in 2019.

The Leads Retreat is a chance for this year’s Producers, Department Leads, and the Precipitation Northwest Board to gather and prepare for the upcoming event and plan the weeks of hard work ahead.

This year’s retreat was held at Mount Hood Kiwanis Camp, and was attended by 6 of the 7 Precipitation NW board members, all 3 SOAK*2019 Producers, and 36 of the 38 Leads. Tzara, one of the three Portland RCs, also attended.

Here’s an overview of the agenda for the weekend. This agenda is set by the Producers, designed to orient new and returning leads about the upcoming year.

  • Friday arrival & overnight

  • Saturday presentations & breakout sessions (9am-6:30pm)

  • Sunday presentations (9am-10:30am)

In addition to discussing things like resources and budgets, the day also included time for each department to review 2018’s After Burn Reports (ABRs), which are reports written by last year’s leads that summarize important learnings and recommendations for how to improve over last year.

The Precipitation Northwest board presented 2 different sessions - one on Saturday morning about their organization, recent updates and developments, and a chance to address some questions that came up from (or since) last year’s event. The second session was on Saturday afternoon, and was all about finances --- specifically about how the Producers and Department Leads work together to propose both individual department budgets AND an overall event budget request to the board, which the board then reviews and approves.

In addition to a wide range of important event production discussions, there were two sessions on Saturday that the board was particularly excited about. First, the Producers prepared a short history lesson about the Portland burner scene and the precursors to what we now know as SOAK. This was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to hear about the legacy and history of our vibrant Burner community!

The second session of note was an open discussion with the Leads about their thoughts about the future of SOAK. This rich and passionate conversation gave all in attendance (board, Producers, Leads, and RCs) a chance to share their ideas and dreams for not only the SOAK event, but also for the broader Portland burner community. The board would like to thank all those who shared their thoughtful and creative ideas - this sort of feedback is extremely helpful when considering how they can continue to serve the community.

A special thanks to KosherBacon who volunteered his time to prepare and organize meals for the team over the entire weekend, and RC Tzara who joined us for the weekend to share ideas and wisdom!

Overall, Precipitation Northwest left the weekend inspired by and grateful for the hard work and dedication displayed by everyone who help makes SOAK happen, and deeply appreciates the opportunity to be working alongside such passionate and dedicated volunteers!