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Top 3 Ways to Ruin a Retreat

Keep Participants Guessing About What To Expect

What better way is there to get off to a bad start than to make sure no one is sure what to expect? That is not to say that every detail needs to be announced. Some surprises can lead to a sense of excited expectation that can be a highlight of the retreat. Following is a guideline of what information participants should know heading into their retreat:
♦The total cost of the retreat
♦If spending money is needed to cover meals on the road and if there will be opportunities to purchase snacks, souvenirs, etc.
♦What to pack
♦What NOT to pack!
♦A general idea of the schedule and what to expect. (and what NOT to pack), what extra spending money might be needed/desired, and the general idea

Assume You Can Figure Out Missing Details Once You Are On The Retreat

While you don’t need to be hyper vigilant that each possible scenario has been thought through and planned for, you also don’t want to have to deal with the stress of arriving ill prepared. Have you thought through:
♦What audio equipment you will need (including extension cords and connecting cables)
♦First Aid supplies and who will be in charge of them
♦Pencils, paper, or other supplies that will be needed during sessions

Let Pranks Go Unchecked

Pranks are an assumed part of a retreat if youth are involved, or men, or women!  A well played prank is enjoyed by all and may even be the highlight of a retreat. Unfortunately, they can also have lasting negative effects such as being costly and being asked to not return to a facility. Think through the following questions and encourage others to do so as well before allowing or following through on a prank:

♦Each prank has a victim(s). Will the victim(s) be humored or humiliated by the prank?
♦Will this prank lead to retaliation that is likely to escalate quickly?
♦Will this prank harm the facility or personal belongings?

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