ERS Adventures on the Annual Camping Trip

Brian McCowan, ERS


“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
-John Muir

The ERS staff gathered in late September to celebrate the outdoor environment with our annual company-wide camping trip. An interest in the outdoors is a natural fit for the work we do. We traveled to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to spend a long weekend at Kettle Pond. Our annual tradition started 18 years ago with a canoe trip on New Hampshire’s Lake Umbagog, and it has evolved, as our company has grown, into a multi-activity weekend.

ERS has never held an organized “team building” event, as I’m sure most of the staff would think “how lame.” But this year, as we watched a small team prep a meal of Paella (yes, you read that right – scratch-made Paella on a camping trip), a few of us looked at each other and said, “Hey, this actually is team building.”

Friday afternoon started with volleyball, canoeing, and swimming in the pond, and it was capped off with a bonfire that brought out guitars, drums, harmonicas, a banjo, and various makeshift instruments. It took a while to get coordinated, but eventually it evolved from chaos to a raucous, percussive jam.  Saturday, we awoke to bright sunshine and headed to Wrightsville Beach for a day of paddling, bocce, soccer, and laying about in the sun.

“The Captain & Tennille!” shouted out Senior staff member Jim Paull at the Saturday night bonfire. This was not a song request, but the answer to a trivia question. Our teams were recording their answers on mini whiteboards, but whenever Jim knew the answer he could not stop himself from instantly blurting it out. Following multiple accusations of cheating, the trivia contest gave way to another lengthy jam session around the fire. Sunday morning, we crawled out of our tents and lean-tos and headed home after a great breakfast, eager to do it all again next year.