Keep it fresh! There are no ‘cookie cutter rules’ when it comes to planning an off-site retreat or event. Groups that are unique and ever-changing require event planning that is unique and ever-changing. Don’t be afraid to try something new, as long as it fits into your event’s objectives and is appropriate for the intended participants. The same old thing, over time, can cause a loss of interest.
While we are often busy with lots of activities that are not necessarily ‘bad things’, they are definitely competing for the commitments we make and could possibly keep us from better options. Some good advice I once received (probably from my mother), focused on the fact that when we say ‘yes’ to one thing, we are possibly saying ‘no’ to something maybe more beneficial or relevant. When it comes to prioritizing and committing to activities and events, if we are honest, the benefit of spiritual growth is not always the top factor in the decision-making process.
To compete with all the activity options we have, events need to not only be fresh but also relevant. The same old thing doesn’t always cut it in today’s constantly changing and entertainment-driven society. Youth are looking to be engaged in new and exciting activities and challenged to grow outside of their comfort zones, while adults are seeking motivational and practical events to keep them improving and enjoying life. So if you’re planning a weeklong or weekend event for a specific group, bring a little initiative into the mix by creating an itinerary full of games and activities that will promote not only spiritual growth but also relationship development. Below are some components to consider when organizing an event:
- Purpose – set realistic & relevant objectives
- Program – well thought out planning from the key facilitator down to the R&R times
Ø Tailored Games
Ø Enjoyable Social Times
Ø Relational Activities
§ Promote Communication
§ Foster Trust
§ Build Cohesiveness
Ø Flexibility for Times of Exploring Personal Growth
Ø Humor Can be Beneficial
§ Defuse Tense Situations & Conflict
§ Create Rapport
§ Solicit Feedback
- Participants – try to engage all
- Place – select a venue that takes care of necessities so you can focus on event objectives
- Retreat Forward – taking away practical skills and tools to apply to our daily lives once the event is over
Probably the most important component to planning a successful event is the PROMOTION efforts. Our Christian Retreats Network website offers several downloadable, printable and customizable templates to assist in this phase of your event: CRN Downloads
Also, with the presence of social media, think about the benefits of utilizing these avenues for event planning/ promoting: engage, intrigue, invigorate, inform, propagate and integrate your event into potential participants’ lives! So get out there and Tweet, Post, Tag, Snap or bombard your target audience with all types of videos, pictures, and memes to excite them about attending your event. After all, if you plan an awesome event, we definitely want others to attend it!