Hidden in the forests on the Florida-Georgia Line (the real one, not the one that wears sparkly skinny jeans) lies a beautiful facility called White Oak Conservation Center. This 13,000 acre facility is home to some of the most endangered species in the world. They are one of the most successful breeding and research facilities on the planet, and they are one of my clients.
The land White Oak calls home was once a plantation, then a paper milling forest. The paper company’s owner had a passion for saving endangered species and started White Oak. After many generations passed, the family no longer owns the facility and the owner of the LA Dodgers now owns White Oak.
Since this was once a plantation, there are a number of houses on the property which are now rented out by companies for retreats or used for various summer camps. Our team decided to go to White Oak for our team meeting, and I was booked to stay in the same room that Bill and Hilary Clinton lived in during the Monica Lewinsky scandal! I kid you not. It was HUGE! There was a living room with a beautiful fireplace, massage room, two bathrooms (complete with bidets) and a private deck overlooking the house pool and the rhinos. Yes, we had a pool (and hot tub) you could watch the rhinos from. Incredible. Can you imagine waking up on a foggy Florida morning, walking out on your deck and watching rhinos? It was heaven on earth.
While we did have three days of meetings, we were able to fit some fun in too! I learned how to play round-the-world ping pong (which is SO MUCH FUN), we had a bowling tournament, went on a sunset cruise and went kayaking on the St. Mary’s River – plus, we pet rhinos and fed the giraffes!
I’ve been on a handful of corporate trips, and this was the most memorable and most successful. Our team had productive meetings and came out with better relationships than prior to the meeting. We had gone through a rough transition, with the abrupt dismissal of our Director, and this meeting finally helped us heal.
White Oak does occasional open its doors to the public, it is typically only available for retreats/weddings/etc. from 10-100 people. Side note – can you imagine getting married here? #lifegoals