The saying goes, “What happens in The Forks, stays in The Forks”, but when it comes to our Annual White Water Rafting Trip (aka Annual Camping Trip with a Rafting Component) that’s just not true. It’s not because we want to continually bring up moments like when our commemorative camping stickers were thrown into the fire, or when someone rode a bike for miles with flat tires, it’s because the connections we make with our team members while we are camping don’t stop when we leave the woods.

Each summer we pile into cars and drive North for a weekend of bonding, rafting and relaxing. We are treated to fully stocked cabins, loads of food, drinks galore, yard games, stacks of firewood and of course, professional rafting guides.

This year’s 5th annual retreat was no different (and was our biggest turnout yet!). But, all the awesome treats and unsung details don’t come together without well-orchestrated moving, shaking and planning.

Sean O’Reilly, our resident guide and Director of Professional Development, heads the trip each year—planning the weekend from start to finish, with help from a few selfless staff members: Karyn, Brandon, Drew, PJ (and many more!). Sean secures a date, orders equipment from Moxie Outdoor Adventures and recruits his friends—who happen to be some of the best guides in the Northeast—to man our boats: Lily Hanstein, branch manager of Gorham Savings Bank at Long Wharf and a recent volunteer at United Way of Greater Portland, and Robert “Bo” Miller, an IT pro at Tufts Medical Center.

Lily, Bo and Sean started their careers as guides years ago and while they no longer work on the rapids, they keep coming back and volunteering their time to give us a fun run down the river. Lily also hosts similar trips for her team at Gorham Savings, where, like TrueLine, it has majorly helped shape the company culture. Lily and Sean pioneered these outings due to their love of the outdoors and it’s a prime example of how we can impact groups of people and affect change from the inside out.

Back on dry land, Karyn and Brandon, our usual doers of things in the office and in life in general, make sure we have all the food, beverages, ice, ketchup, bug-spray and anything else you might need for 48 hours in the Maine woods.

Brandon also lends PJ, Director of PR for our sister company TrueLine Public Relations, a hand shuttling all of us back to camp after rolling down the rapids. We can all agree that nothing feels better than hopping into a warm car after sitting on the river for 3 hours, except hot, homemade food à la Drew, a Content Coordinator and self-taught chef.

Drew preps gourmet meals for everyone. Sautéing finely chopped veggies and marinated pork over the fire for quesadillas—later to be topped with homemade salsa.

Not too shabby for a bunch of PR and digital marketing pros from Portland, Maine – huh?

As you can imagine, we are all thankful to these people and the many more who make this annual outing unforgettable and TrueLine a great place to work. The trip is different each year—different team members, different weather, different currents—but the one thing that remains the same is the sense of connectedness we leave with.