Looking back on the 2020 TSL Coach Summit

Looking back on the 2020 TSL Coach Summit

Looking back on the 2020 TSL Coach Summit 750 1000 Theo Wolf

Back before the coronavirus pandemic had swept the US, a small group of our team members and coaches gathered together in upstate New York for our Annual Coach Summit.

Our coaching program is entirely remote, which means our coaches are spread out across the world. The Coach Summit offered them the opportunity for many of our coaches to hang out for a weekend, coming from places as far as Taiwan and South Carolina.

The primary goal of this summit was to give coaches a chance to meet each other in-person (most for the first time!), build relationships, and learn from one another. Our time was divided between discussing our students, testing out new curriculum, and having fun — whether competing in our annual frisbee-golf tourney (Nathaniel and our Director of Operations Wei Te took the crown this year from reigning champion Larry), rocking our cupcake-decorating contest (team Ayna and Spencer won this one), or going on nature walks (with an outdoor meditation led by Uchechi). Many of these sessions were led by our awesome team of coaches. Here’s an excerpt from our schedule:

Friday night:

  • Make fajitas together
  • Kick-off celebration (featuring delicious chocolate cake baked by Sara)


  • Yoga (led by Nathaniel)
  • Identity profiling curriculum session
  • Teaching with Zoom Best Practices (led by Spencer)
  • Cupcake decorating contest
  • Taiwanese cultural session
  • Frisbee golf
  • Argentinian BBQ dinner (made by Lloyd, who learned the craft while in Argentina!), accompanied by a student feedback sharing session
  • Group support session


  • Curriculum design challenge
  • Personality quilt making (led by Ayna)
  • Bhangra dance lesson (led by Ayna)
  • Hike
  • Nature meditation (let by Uchechi)
  • Closing session

Overall the retreat was a massively good time, and for most of us was a final foray into a fun, friend-filled environment before coronavirus hit and the US shut down. We’re grateful to have had such an opportunity.

Sara described her experience of the summit: “I’m a big fan of The Spike Lab’s value of hospitality, and specifically the fact that this is much more than skin-deep politeness. It is a true spirit of caring, compassion and belief in another. This value was on full display at the summit. It was really rather remarkable to be with a talented group of people who were so intently concerned about the learning and wellbeing of others. People usually go to events like this with a ‘what can I gain’ mindset, but everyone went to the Spike retreat with the idea ‘what can I give’ in mind.”

Anna said “what moved me the most was the chance to hear students’ feedback for coaches and learn about the profound and lasting impact TSL coaches make on the students’ lives who in turn find ways to inspire others with their Spikes and create change in the world. It’s the flywheel effect of coaching and the impact created by students through their Spikes that sparks so much joy for me”

Our hope is to make the Coach Summit an annual or even biannual occurrence. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, we don’t know when this could happen next, so in the meantime, we’re just going to enjoy the memories we created at the last one.

Since then, we’ve brought on four new coaches (check out their profiles on our blog!), so whenever that happens, it will be even bigger and even better than the last!

See some pictures from the summit below:

Team selfie!

Nature hike!

Lloyd presenting the BBQ!

Hanging out at the dinner table

Racing to decorate cupcakes

Frisbee golf participants getting ready


The 2nd place cupcake design

First prize winner for cupcake decoration