The following are best practices for hosting a retreat. Feel free to use these ideas and edit or add to them.
- Set Goals: Sit down as a Chapter and talk about why you are holding a retreat and what you want to get out of it. If you are having a retreat to address challenges like apathy or addressing cliques be honest and set those expectations before the event.
- Plan: Make sure you dedicate enough resources to planning and preparing for the retreat. Give your Chapter enough time to secure a location and plan activities.
- Prepare: Prepare for various needs that you can anticipate. Prepare for emergencies by bringing a first aid kit, have emergency contact info on hand, have a charged cell phone available. Also prepare for your Brothers needs. If they have dietary restrictions make sure they have food alternatives. Review weather reports before you leave so that you can pack accordingly. Get the Chapter excited for the retreat so that they are looking forward to it rather then feeling like it is just another requirement.
- Balance: A retreat should be an escape from your regular Chapter meetings. Allow for down time or fun activities to give everyone a mental break. Make sure you plan time to prepare food and eat together as well to give you the energy for the leadership and dialogue activities.
- Utilize Campus Resources: Your campus has many great resources that can help with leadership training, dialogue and listening activities, and team building activities. Find the experts and use them, you don't need to reinvent the wheel.
- Post Retreat: After the Chapter has unwound from the retreat set up options to gather feedback to help improve it in the future. Also make sure you address whether the Chapter was able to accomplish the goals you set out in the first place.