Pinnacle Pursuits Pivoting 2020 Adventure

November 17, 2020
by David O'Connell
Family Adventure Retreat

“Pivoting to address critical needs of our communities”

Like many in our community, Pinnacle Pursuits has been stretched far outside our comfort zones from an interpersonal and business perspective in 2020. Our every effort has been made to support teams, groups and families throughout BC and beyond. As disillusionment and short, cold nights set in, we thought it valuable to share some of the success we have experienced to inspire optimism.

Pinnacle Pursuits is a company that thrives on creating meaningful in-person events and like most, our season schedule was subsequently wiped clean from March onward. Months of team building, youth leadership and large scale charity events were put on pause. As a result, we needed to think on our feet as the future of valuable in-person exchanges was uncertain. Meanwhile, we knew our clients and community would need leadership in navigating uncharted territory and we wanted to reinforce togetherness. 

One of Pinnacle Pursuits great strengths is championing a company vision. This is guided by our collective values which we use to steer our ship. When we make decisions about how to pivot and what to offer, we work off our decision-making matrix that reflects these values (‘Values’) and aligns with what we see as our clients’ most critical needs (‘Relevancy’).

Pinnacle Pursuits Decision Making Model

Serendipitous Clients and Value Driven Virtual Programs

During our time of pivot, and somewhat serendipitously, we were contacted by an amazing group of National Frontline workers who had been at the coalface of the pandemic. Our client needed time to take a breath, reconnect as a team and have fun together despite the demands they were facing. Thankfully, they trusted Pinnacle Pursuits to make this happen for them with a virtual team building program. Appreciating their role in the community and our desire to celebrate our new offerings, we chose to offer our services pro bono. It was the perfect client at the right time.

“Working with Pinnacle Pursuits, and in particular Jonathan, was a great experience! They were very helpful and organized in getting our team building session set up and making sure it was applicable to our industry (healthcare).
They were energetic and encouraging/inclusive during our online session and we had good feedback across the board from our participants. We each walked away with some ‘nuggets’ from our session and want to say a big thanks again to Pinnacle!” – Shannon C.

Pivoting Virtual Camp Experiences

As the days turned into weeks, we developed more programs that people needed and fine tuned our online virtual offerings. Our efforts saw the development of many special relationships in our industry with former clients and camps such as the BC Firefighters Burn Camp and Camp Good Times

The latter camps, who we traditionally run in-person experiences with, were at an impasse. The camps immuno-compromised children typically attend were unable to happen this year so we needed an alternative. The amazing camp counsellors simply would not allow the joy for campers to be lost. Pinnacle Pursuits was chosen to provide a virtual experience for those wonderful children. 

Crafting custom-made Virtual Escape Rooms, campfires and themed celebration nights, we managed to help our clients surpass fundraising targets but more importantly, we helped give the kids a wondrous experience they seemed likely to miss out on. Campers connected with friends and counsellors and shared their stories with a unifying togetherness. Everyone shared laughs, smiles, tears and some funny costumes in a touching display of community. 

Dealing with the Challenges and Pains of the Business World

During the locked down months, we were meeting virtually with business leaders all across the Lower Mainland. Everyone was trying to manage the worries of COVID-19 whilst keeping staff employed. The common shared pains included keeping everyone focused, dialed in and together in the midst of the madness. 

Employers wanted to remain empathetic but also didn’t want to lose momentum toward business goals and economic survival. We had been in their shoes and so treated their businesses and teams like our own. We extended our leadership training programs to our business community. Before long, clients reported that the isolation, disillusionment, detachment and disengagement was drastically decreasing. Staff were more engaged and delighted to get easy-to-follow, actionable steps. Thankfully, we were in the right place at the right time to support our business partners.

Pinnacle Pursuits Pivoting with Parascape Landscaping
Parascape Landscaping at Loon Lake with Pinnacle Pursuits

Helping Families Exhale and Be Together Hassle-Free

Despite our new offerings creating a strong impact, we felt we could do more. Having worked with many schools over 20+ years, we knew our youth missed out on transformative experiences and that families also needed time to recharge and reconnect. The last few months had been tough. Families needed a hassle-free outlet to get away. Jammed campsite phone lines served us the perfect idea. We created our very own Family Adventure Retreats. Social bubbles could come together, enjoy outdoor activities and reconnect with peace of mind, safety and security.

We have a wonderful long-standing partnership with Loon Lake Lodge and Retreat Centre in Maple Ridge. When we told them our plan, they jumped aboard. We booked a number of weekends over the summer and got to work creating COVID-conscious, family fun getaways in the pristine setting of Loon Lake. Outdoor adventure activities like canoeing, paddle boarding, high ropes, climbing, archery and hiking were all included giving the best of everything to families that needed it. Everyone who participated finally had a moment to exhale, while someone else did all the planning and cooking. Witnessing the relief and enjoyment shared amongst whole family bubbles was heartwarming and inspiring. 

It wasn’t just the relief for parents. The appetite for learning and adventure from the children offered so much inspiration. We had missed their creativity and energy, and it was obvious, they missed being outdoors together.

Dusting Off Student’s Social and Outdoor Skills

As the children returned to school in the Fall, we had reservations about what the experience would be like. Firstly, would all classes need to be remote learning? Secondly, would there be consistent unease dampening the opportunities to grow? Thirdly, would students feel isolated? We were in contact with several teachers and principals who expressed concerns. They worried for the curiosity and self-discovery associated with experiential education. 

Pinnacle Pursuits Pivoting Wild Skills
Bowen Island, 2020

Fearing their students would miss out and having witnessed some rustiness in social skills, we were asked to help. Pinnacle Pursuits was delighted for the opportunity to safely create impactful experiences once again. We took to the stunning Bowen Island parks using the outdoor medium to create a bonding  experience called “Wild Skills” for several sets of Secondary schoolers. Everyone, collectively, shook off the awkwardness of getting together after months of being apart. They dove right in, wearing their masks and challenging themselves all while abiding by our COVID-19 safety guidelines.

In Conclusion…

We have been fortunate enough to experience, first hand, the very best of frontline workers, teachers, students, business owners, charities, friends and family who have strived to make the lives of others better. 

Above all, there are teams making the best of things and paving a brighter future for those around them. Pinnacle Pursuits’ pivoting will certainly continue in the same vein. We are taking every opportunity to create a positive impact for corporate teams, school and youth groups, public service departments and families alike. Despite the challenges, our values are clear and we are committed to helping people thrive with safe, meaningful and connecting experiences.

Pinnacle Pursuits David O'Connell
Dave O’Connell