Planning A Retreat

Planning a retreat can be a lot of work.  There are many different things to think about and to plan for.  Here is a basic outline of questions to ask and steps to take to assure a successful retreat:

1. Preplanning:

  • Budget:
    • o How much can and are you willing to spend?  Figure out what you can afford and do some research before making any reservations.
    • o Who is paying for it? Your organization or the individuals attending?
  • Dates:
    • o Figure out several dates that work for you and anyone else planning the retreat.  Consider the timing for other people (is it during spring break or when another activity is going on?)
  • Goals and Objectives: What do you want to do and accomplish?
    • o Decide what type of retreat you want to have.  Is the goal for everyone to have fun?  Is it to help train your group to be better leaders?  Decide what type of activities and the length of stay would be appropriate for your group and goals.

2. Call the place you would like to hold your retreat

  • Are the program/ activities, lodging, and food within your price range?
  • Do they have an available date when you want to attend?
  • Can they host the number of people that want to attend?

3. Advertise!

  • Get people pumped for the retreat you are planning!
    • o Make announcements, send emails, spread the word, post pictures, and hand out information
    • o Share some of the highlights for the retreat
  • Give the dates as early as you can, so they can book it on their calendar.  The earlier they know, they more likely they can “save the date” and be available.

4. Book the retreat

  • Even if you don’t know the exact number, if you have a good idea that enough people will attend, get it in the calendar.
  • Give an estimate number of people, request the number of meals and nights you want to attend, and any additional requests (such as activities and meeting spaces).

5. Preparation

  • Have directions for each person (if people are driving separately).
  • Itinerary/ schedule: give to organization and to leaders (and participants if necessary)
  • Give a packing list for everyone.
  • Send in all forms that need to be given to the organization.
  • Finalize numbers and times with the organization.

6. Have Fun!

  • Have a back-up plan if anything is weather depending.
  • Relax and enjoy the retreat!
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