Planning a retreat, whether it is a single day, a full weekend, or a week-long event, can be complicated. Here are some ideas to think about as you plan your retreat experience.
Be clear of the purpose of your retreat. Be able to state it in one short sentence.
Plan Ahead. People are very busy. Allow your participants time to get the dates on their calendars. Depending on the time of year, you should probably allow a minimum of 4 months lead time for even a one day retreat. If you are holding a week long event, a 10 to 12 month lead time is realistic.
Arrange for any presenters or speakers well in advance.
Arrange for the location of your retreat at least a year out. Rainbow Lodge can book up to 3 years in advance!
Establish a realistic budget. Budgets should include (at the least): Facilities and meal costs, program costs (including presenter honorariums or fees, travel expenses, extra lodging, printing, etc.). Don’t forget other items such as insurance, promotion and miscellaneous items. It is always good to add 5-10% for a cushion.
Analyze your program and determine obstacles you may need to overcome to have a successful retreat. Some things to consider calendar might be calendar conflicts, weather, and ways of overcoming any reticence on the part of potential attendees.
Be aware of the potential medical needs of your attendees. It might be good to have a designated first aid person on site.
Know of the special needs of any of your attendees and communicate with the facility what those are. Pay special attention to dietary needs and food allergies.
Tour the facility prior to your arrival for your retreat (or better, before booking). Nothing is better than seeing the site in person to determine how to best use the site for your program.
Communicate early and often with the staff at the retreat center so that all are working “on the same page” toward the success of your event.
Bonus thought: Make sure you are able to enjoy the retreat yourself! The better the planning, the better the chance of that happening.