You’ve been there. Maybe your employer called it an “offsite” – where you and a few dozen folks you kind of know hole up together for a few days and explore your shared commonality. These multi-day events can be trying – often requiring a lot of awkward social dancing. The goals are usually to emerge from the experience with checkmarks on some sort of goal sheet handed down by the board of directors or HR director.
Last weekend, in snowy Estes Park, Colorado, Deuter held its second-ever “Ambassador Summit” – and for the 50 or so people who attended, it was far from a clumsy, company retreat. Sure, Deuter’s ambassadors sat through clinics on how to fit backpacks, got a glimpse of new products coming to market and heard from Deuter USA president Bill Hartrampf. But it wasn’t stuffy. It wasn’t corporate. It wasn’t full of 30,000-foot views or synergies or deep dives into EBITDA. Rather, it was full of hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, backcountry skiing, kids, the outdoors, laughing, whisky drinks, hugs, more kids, shared adventures, communal meals and friendships both new and old. And, oh, did we mention kids?
We asked our Deuter ambassadors what they took away from the 4-day summit. Here's what a few of them had to say:
Amelia Mayer: “While I've always thought the Deuter packs are fantastic, being a part of the Deuter team is so much more than packs. It's a community of outdoor enthusiasts of all levels and ages and preferences coming together to celebrate our love of the mountains and trails and inspiring others to join us. As we raise five kids the outdoor world, it is increasingly important to us that they see the value of others joining our family on the journey and helping us along. This is my family, my Deuter.”
Kathy Karlo: “Attending the Deuter Summit for the first time was like meeting family I never had. My family iskind of small, I move around a lot, and sometimes I forget that "family" extends so much farther than just the people you grow up with. It's about connecting with and sharing a space with like-minded individuals who share the same passions as you. And I love it.”
Brittany Greer: “For me, the Deuter Summit means unpredictably discovering deep and meaningful human connections. It means bringing together a widespread community who are all driven by similar fundamental passions and sharing those passions. It means strengthening my devotedness to Deuter and the inspiring humans behind it.”
Kat Andrew: “Community, community, community! It's great to see Facebook and Instagram photos and posts but to be able to meet the people of Deuter who have a real passion for outdoor adventure and travel is truly inspiring. I hope that comes across in our blog posts and pictures because our Deuter Ambassador Family is genuinely committed to the outdoors and inspiring others to follow in our footprints.”
John Soltys: “The best thing about being an ambassador is the community that has developed as a result of these kinds of events. I can reach out to folks with specific skillsets (slacklining, biking, climbing) knowing that my questions won't disappear into a black hole and my fellow ambassadors will be more than happy to help.”
Rachael Farmer:“The best part about the Deuter ambassador retreat is gathering as a community and sharing our love for adventure on the trail, watching the kids run around together, testing out new high-quality packs and sharing stories of our latest adventures.”
Faith Dickey: “Some of the best things about being a Deuter ambassador is being part of a team of people who all share the common love of outdoors, collaborating with a company that support women and wearing packs that fit!”
Emma Walker: “Spending a weekend in Estes Park with the Deuter ambassador team really felt like a family reunion. It was all the best parts—cooking and eating together, kids running around and playing, hearing what everyone's been up to—minus all the parts everyone dreads, like aunts who ask when you're going to get a real job.”
Jonathan Rizzo: "The best thing about being a Deuter Ambassador, other than the gear *wink wink*, is having the opportunity to represent an outdoor company with great values such as ‘Leave No Trace’. Being affiliated with this company is a rare chance to share reciprocal support for the betterment of the community.”
Elisa Rispoli:“The community of it all! We’ve formed good friendships with other ambassadors."