University of Southern Indiana

Retreat Planning Quick Guide

Retreat Planning

Organization retreats and workshops enable student organizations to briefly get away from the distractions of school and work and to focus on the needs of the organization and the needs of the individual members of the organization. Planning for the future will enable an organization to operate more efficiently. By setting goals and planning together, members of an organization can operate more effectively as a team.

ESTABLISH THE PURPOSE FOR YOUR RETREAT

Examples include: Team Building, Skills Training, Communications, Goal Setting, Problem Solving, Planning, Learning, Orientation, Socializing, Transition, Revitalization, or Conflict Resolution

DETERMINING WHO THE RETREAT IS FOR

Is the retreat designed for new officers, executive board, or all organization members. 

TIMING OF THE RETREAT

You’ll need to determine if the group needs a whole day, half day or multiple days. It is also critical to decide what time of year to hold your retreat. Many organizations hold retreats first thing in the fall semester, but it may be more beneficial to hold something over the summer when students are less busy with academic responsibilities.

SELECTING A FACILITY

You will need to determine whether or not to have the retreat On-Campus or Off -Campus; When looking for an off-campus retreat location consider nearby summer camps. They often charge cheap rates in the off season. Be sure to check availability, accessibility, and accommodations. Don't forget about costs and contracts. Student Development Programs has contact names and numbers for retreat locations. Consider the Low Ropes Course that is managed by the Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness Center for a great on-campus experience!

TRANSPORTATION

If your event is off campus, members should be provided with adequate and safe transportation. You will also need to fill out a Student Organization Travel Request form.

FOOD AND DRINK

Before deciding on a menu for the retreat consider: cost, cooking facilities, preparation, food allergies/restrictions, and clean-up. Try cooking together it makes a great team building activity.

SELECTING THE BEST FORMAT

  • Workshops presented by an "expert" -advertising, program planning, public speaking, fund-raising, etc.
  • Experiential Exercises- team building, brainstorming, communications skills, ropes course, etc.
  • Recreational Exercises, skiing, hiking, canoeing, biking, etc.
  • You can also use a combination of these

SELECTING THE FACILITATORS AND PRESENTERS

Organization officers, organization members, student organization advisor, other staff/faculty members are all options.

RESOURCES IN DEVELOPING YOUR WORKSHOPS AND EXERCISES

Structured experiences books, reference books, videotapes; staff/faculty advisor; faculty members, community members are all good resources.

EVALUATING YOUR RETREAT

Ask members what they thought of the experience. What would they change? What would they keep the same? Ask the presenters what they thought of the experience. What could have made it better?

Student Development Programs puts on several retreats a year and can be a great resource during the planning of your retreat. Feel free to setup a meeting with the staff in this office, while you’re planning your organization’s retreat.

 

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