NOV 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 37 GOLF, RECREATION & RELATIONSHIPS Casting Lessons Build Camaraderie Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, Fla. When it comes to retreats and team building functions, groups enjoy Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, Fla. because the resort makes them "feel like they are coming home," said Rhonda Whitfield, director of sales and marketing at the Florida Keys property, which dates back to 1946. Today's groups get to experience both the old and the new, following a $25 million renovation to the property's accommodations and meeting spaces and many more millions in grounds repairs to the 27-acre property. While there are many options for recreation and team-building, ranging from fun tournaments on the nine-hole golf course to building bicycles for area children, the most unique and popular activities involve fly casting. Whitfield explained that fly casting lessons often start on the golf course before proceeding to the back bays and Atlantic Ocean waters that surround the property. "We have a group of fly casting instructors who come here for their meetings, so they are well versed to help others that meet here, and we partner with Orvis' fly fishing school to offer our programs," she said. n participating to their knees in laughter." The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, near Austin, Texas, uses its nearby natural resource – the Colorado River – to create mem- orable experiences for groups. Offerings include the Kayak the Colorado group activity in which expert guides take guests on a four-mile kayak excursion while discussing the abundant wildlife of the area and the distinctive Central Texas ecosystem. Groups can also cruise the river on a Splash Raft Float Trip, a competitive excursion led by experienced guides that includes water scrimmages and challenges with paddle splashes and water guns. Food & Beverage Contests Morris said that the JW Marriott recently helped a group host a salsa and guacamole challenge, capturing the spirit of San Antonio. The compe- tition was held in multiple ballroom spaces and included seven team-building exercises occurring simultaneously for more than 750 attendees. "Each room functioned as its own stand-alone event and each one produced its own winning team," Morris said. "Company executives judged the salsa and guacamole and chose an overall taste winner. Attendees were also asked to create a 'billboard' and a short commercial advertising their brand of salsa or guacamole and they were presented in front of all the other teams." Winemaking competitions and chopped cook- ing classes have proven effective rivalries that groups enjoy at Chateau Elan, Rosa said. Off the Beaten Path Adventure competitions have become increas- ingly popular in recent years. The Adventure Lodge Program at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge and Unicoi State Park & Lodge, both located in the north Georgia mountains, was launched in 2015. The program features Aerial Adventure Parks, GPS scavenger hunts, 3-D ar- chery, team-building itineraries and GoPro parks, as well as other unique activities. Morris said that the JW Marriott has designed some unique outdoor challenges, including: Rodeo Olympics: Teams compete simultane- ously in five separate competitions, including horseshoe tossing, 9-foot-diameter hamster ball races and life-size calf roping. The two teams that score the highest points in the general events categories move to the finals and the remaining teams clean the arena. Fire It Up Catapult Launch: Teams use their creative brainpower and problem-solving skills to construct a working catapult which, when completed, will launch eggs or tomatoes for distance and accuracy. Completed catapults are put to the test during two separate launch phases: one that measures distance and the other that tests accuracy. Game of Drones: Teams attempt to fly a drone through an obstacle course. The challenge can be tailored as a head-to-head competition or a timed event. n Sole' on the Ocean Solé on the Ocean Taking advantage of its oceanfront set- ting, Solé on the Ocean, a Noble House Resort, offers several recreational options for friendly group competitions. Groups can form teams for activities involving boating, paddle boarding and jet-skiing on the turquoise waters of the Atlantic or fishing from a boat or the shore. Located in Sunny Isles, just north of Miami Beach, Sole' is on the "Florida Riv- iera," renowned for sunsets, Latin dance clubs, and world-class shopping. The resort offers 6,500 square feet of meeting space and maintains a private beachfront and oceanside swimming pool. Along- side the beaches there are paved paths for bikers and skaters and the area offers a landmark fishing pier. n

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