The Ultimate Guide for Retreat Planning

Posted on January 27, 2020 by America's Keswick in Retreat Planning


People using a map to plan a retreat with the help of America's Keswick retreat planning guide.

Planning a retreat doesn’t have to be stressful or intimidating. While it requires time and organization, coordinating a retreat can be a rewarding experience. We’ve developed a guide to help retreat planners and provide them with the tools needed to create a successful retreat. By following this guide, leaders and attendees of your retreats will leave feeling empowered and energized.

1. Set Retreat Goals

First things first: zero in on your goals for the retreat. The overarching retreat goals are often the same: further the church’s mission and fulfill God’s plan for the church, empower members on their faith journey, or provide relevant, holistic education to church members. However, it’s still important to understand your retreat’s audience. What’s right for a women’s retreat is often different for a youth retreat. Each retreat should be customized for its attendees.

Men’s Retreats

Consider the goal of your men’s retreat. Maybe you want to bring your group closer together. Perhaps you want your members to forge close bonds. You may want to focus on relieving stress. Once you decide on your purpose, make it clear to the group and use it as the basis for planning your retreat. Here are more tips for planning a men’s retreat.

Christian Men's Retreat Center: America's Keswick
Men hanging out in the sun while playing cornhole during a men’s retreat.

Women’s Retreats

Don’t get intimidated by the many options for women’s retreats. Think about your group. What goal or theme do you want to focus on? Maybe you want to use your women’s retreat as an opportunity for your group to interact and strengthen relationships with each other. This can be accomplished by creating a stimulating atmosphere and interactive experiences. Use these tips to plan a better women’s retreat and create an unforgettable retreat.

Women participating in an archery activity at a women's retreat at America's Keswick in Whiting, New Jersey.
Women enjoying the interactive experiences offered during a women’s retreat at America’s Keswick.


Youth Retreats

If you’re planning a youth retreat, there are countless ways to approach the retreat. Maybe you want to hone in on self-esteem issues rampant among teenagers. You may also consider an educational retreat. Once you have a clear goal, you can move on to planning activities to engage your youth group.

A youth group retreat group photo taken at America's Keswick in New Jersey.
A group of teens posing for a group photo while on a youth retreat.


Family Retreats

If you’re looking to bring families closer together, a family retreat is a great way to spend time together and bond. The goals for your family retreat can focus on quality time together, finding a new perspective, or solving problems. There are many other ways retreats can be rewarding for families and give each other a break from their screens.

A family smiling and enjoying their Christian family retreat at America's Keswick, a Christian retreat venue in Whiting, New Jersey.
A family smiling for a photo during a family retreat at America’s Keswick.


Couples Retreats

A couple’s retreat is a great way to encourage couples to strengthen their relationship. Other goals may be to stimulate personal growth, rebuild a foundation, or work through difficult conversations. If you need more help hosting a couples retreat, consider these 7 tips for planning a couples retreat.


A Christian couple painting during a couples retreat at America's Keswick in New Jersey.
A couple at America’s Keswick enjoying some painting while on a couples retreat.


2. Find a Venue

Once your goals are set, you can start the search for the perfect retreat center or venue. Be sure the site meets your group’s goals and provides the right basics: dining, recreation, and lodging. Please make sure you utilize your retreat location to its full potential. Not only is it cost-effective, but you will provide your attendees with a better overall retreat experience.

3. Create a Budget and Establish Funding

It’s best to take on the most time-consuming and challenging tasks first. Do the research to prepare a budget that includes price ranges for location, activities, catering, events, transportation, and more. This way, there are no surprises. Once the budget is set, you can determine how much support your organization can provide you and how much fundraising needs to be done. If you haven’t already, you should start raising money now. Host a ticketed dinner, organize a silent auction, or ask your congregants to donate items for a church-wide yard sale. The sooner you fund your retreat, the better off you are in planning the rest of your retreat.

4. Find Speakers and Plan Activities

With your goals defined and your audience in mind, next, you should determine if you need speakers and plan your activities. Many successful retreats choose a central theme to base their activities, discussions, games, and other educational experiences. For tips on planning activities and engaging with your audience, check out our Complete Guide to Retreat Planning eBook.

5. Promote Your Retreat Event

Once you start receiving funding, you should begin promoting your retreat.  You want to make sure you’re targeting the right audience for your event. The more people you reach, the better. Of course, make announcements at church. You can also get the word out several other ways: use Facebook or other social networks, post a sign at church, pass out flyers to your congregants, and create short videos to share on social media. Promoting your retreat builds excitement and maximizes your attendance.

6. Plan the Retreat Details

In most cases, your retreat center can help you manage the details of your retreat. Either way, there are essential details to keep on your radar. These details may include reservations, paperwork, guest check-ins, dietary needs, lodging, accessibility, transportation, and other essentials.

There is a lot to consider when retreat planning. America’s Keswick may be a great fit. By keeping your primary goals in mind and reading through this guide, your event is sure to be a success. Contact us today to speak to a retreat expert about how our Christian retreat center can help meet your goals.


Helpful Resources:

Tips and Advice for Planning your next Men’s Retreat

How to Plan a Better Women’s Retreat

5 Ways Church Retreats are Rewarding for Families

Great Activity Ideas for your next Youth Group Retreat

5 Goals to Focus on When Attending a Married Couples Retreat

6 Things to Expect from a Marriage Retreat

7 Tips on How to Host a Married Couples Retreat

Establishing Strong Relationships Through a Retreat Experience

How to Get Your Significant Other to Attend a Couples Retreat


Retreat Planning eBook Cover

Free eBook

Want more tips on how to plan a retreat?

Download our free Complete Guide to Retreat Planning. This complete guide will help make your retreat planning experience easier than ever before.

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Ready to start planning your next retreat? We've got you covered.

When preparing for a retreat, it's important to pack strategically to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Start with the basics like clothes, toiletries, and footwear suitable for different activities. Remember items for outdoor adventures, such as sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent. Include personal safety items like a first aid kit and any necessary medications. Consider bringing entertainment, snacks, and personal comfort items for relaxation. Lastly, organize your belongings with extra bags and packing cubes. Customize this packing checklist based on your specific retreat and preferences for a seamless and fulfilling experience.

Our retreat specialists have planned hundreds of events and are here to help you make your group retreat one you will remember for years to come. Request a Retreat Information Packet to learn more about our retreat options or submit an inquiry now to get started with planning your group retreat.

Want more tips on how to plan a retreat?

Check out our Complete Guide to Retreat Planning.

Get the Free eBook

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