KWE 2022 has been RESCHEDULED to Thursday, March 31 – Sunday, April 3
We are excited about gathering in person. However, we are not interested in putting anybody’s health at risk by getting together. So, we wanted to let you know what the plans are so that you can be prepared and feel safe.
First, if the state of Massachusetts shuts down, we will cancel. In that case, we will not be responsible for our contract with Southbridge.
If it doesn’t shut down, we are responsible for making sure that all of your rooms are paid for, so we are pretty motivated to figure out how to be together while being tremendously safe.
Here is our thinking: You can’t spread Covid if you don’t have it. You can have Covid no matter how many vaccines you have – the vaccines keep you safer, but do not stop you from spreading asymptomatically.
To verify that our people do not have Covid, we are asking that:
You bring your updated vaccination card (all attendees must be vaccinated, and we ask that you get your booster as well if you are eligible)
You take a PCR test within 72 hours of coming, and bring the negative result
If you get a positive result, stay home, and KW will cover your hotel costs.
After taking the PCR test, please take extreme care to not contract Covid. For example, avoid being near people indoors, and if you need to be, (like going to the supermarket,) double-mask, or wear a N-95. Mask if you are close to people outdoors. Clean your hands regularly. Rinse out your nasal passages . . . Really, take precautions seriously.
Please buy at least three antigen tests. They are available at drug stores for $10 each, or two for $25. Bring them. (If this poses a financial issue for you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are happy to assist).
We would like you to test each morning to be certain that you have not developed Covid since taking the PCR test. If you get a positive result, we will send you out for a PCR test to verify.
Everywhere but in your room, we will all be wearing masks, at all times, except to eat.
To eat, we will put four people at a large table, so there is good distance between us. We’ll wear masks except when actively eating or drinking.
Our meals will be in a ballroom, so the ceilings are high.
If you can think of another precaution that we can take that will make us safer, please do not hesitate to suggest it. You can reply to this email or reach us at email@example.com.
We take this pandemic very seriously. We also take our mental, emotional and professional lives seriously. The focus of this retreat is to fill your hearts, listen to your stories, and replenish your joy. If we can be confident that we are not spreading the virus, we can pay attention to these equally important things in our lives.
NOTES ABOUT SOUTHBRIDGE:
The Southbridge Hotel place was an optical factory, employing 6000 people. It was renovated to be a Department of Defense training facility. That means that they have a bunch of classrooms and seminar rooms that are all comfortable and connected, and – well, just brilliant.
It also means that they have a high-level gym – with racquetball courts, a half basketball court, exercise equipment, weights, and a timber-frame building, full of warmth and light, housing a large pool and a hot tub. Bring sneakers and swimsuit and be prepared to connect with friends in a healthy, active way!
On the other hand, it is clear how much Covid has impacted the service industry. You hear it on the news, but here you can see it in person. They are short staffed. When we talked to the sales manager about it, she said that the managers here are pitching in to clean because they just can’t hire enough people to keep up their cleaning protocol.
This made our hearts explode with gratitude. We decided that we’re going to set the tone that we will treat this place like we treat a relative’s home – no judgement, tons of appreciation. We’ll pitch in when we can.
They are giving us a very good price . . . let’s rephrase this. We looked at literally hundreds of properties, from Quebec to Atlanta, and the prices here are better than anything other than a Sleep-n-Weep Motor Inn.
We are tremendously grateful, because having reasonable accommodations makes KW affordable for a much greater range of people. Price was one of the major motivations to move from Vermont in order to make KW more welcoming.
We are making some choices to keep the costs low:
- We’re having simpler lunches so our dinners can be a little more creative
- We’re asking for NO MAID SERVICE over the weekend. It means our rooms will be more covid-safe, and it reduces the stress on their staff. If you need something, you’ll just need to ask the desk. No biggie.
- We’re planning a fun ice-breaking activity on Thursday night. We are going to send out a “Would You Rather” style of survey. We will need responses from everyone in order to plan the activity. Please keep your eyes out for that survey!
PARTNERS & DOGS:
Dogs are not allowed at Southbridge, which is sad.
Partners are technically allowed – however only with a leash…
In order to join the meals, they need to be admitted off the lottery, which means qualifying for KWE, registering for the lottery and getting in off the wait list, which is still quite long.
Your time at KWE will be full of old friends, new friends, engaging conversations and dashing to your room to write down an idea. This retreat is intended to be a retreat. When spouses or significant others come, we tend to cater to their needs, instead of focusing on our own.
If someone in your family must attend, they will be responsible for getting their own meals and entertaining themselves. There are limited local restaurants that deliver.
Knight’s Limousine Service has a shuttle from all the local airports—Logan, Bradley in Hartford, CT, Manchester in NH as well as T.F. Green in Providence, RI, which are all about the same distance from hotel as Boston Logan. They will bring you right to the door of the Southbridge Hotel.
If you book a ride for just yourself, it’s a bit pricey – $100 each way. However, the price decreases quickly when multiple people share rides. If you book a town car or van for up to 10 people, the price is just over $200, so the more folks who share, the better the rate will be.
If you put your arrival/departure information on our carpool spreadsheet you will be able to see who else you might be able to coordinate a ride with. You can call Knight’s at 1-800-822-5456 to arrange a group.
Another option is for someone to rent a car, of course. Again, you can arrange carpools using the spreadsheet!
Thank you for understanding the vision Kindling Words East has for your retreat! We are so very excited to fill this place with our quantum power generator of excitement that happens when we all get together in person.