Tips for First Time Leaders

 

Imagine leading your students, employees, or colleagues through a rejuvenating getaway where they can unplug and relax, hone in and collaborate, enjoy the moment and connect, or delve deeply into a specific topic. The retreat you envision can be a life changing experience for yourself and participants, once you overcome the hurdle of planning your event.

 

Designing your retreat requires an investment of time and energy, but with the proper planning it can be incredibly rewarding. From logistics and group facilitation to planning your agenda, there are lots of details to consider. Do not worry, we have got you covered! Check out the below list of ideas and questions to ask yourself, so you can create a memorable experience for your group.

 

We are always here to support you through this process, so let us know your needs! If you have any questions about planning your retreat or the process with SunMountain Center, please feel free to reach out to us at retreats@sunmountaincenter.com.

Your Intention and Theme

Your Purpose:

Why are you offering this retreat or workshop? What will participants gain from joining you?

 

Theme:

Do you have a specific theme to your retreat? Will you teach a particular skill or is your company in need of team building time? Here are some of our suggestions to stimulate your thought process:

  • Becoming Agents of Change
  • New Year Celebration
  • Moving to Mastery
  • Vision of 2020
  • Thanksgiving Gratitude Retreat
  • The Power of You
  • Winter Crafting
  • Relax and Renew
  • Solstice Celebration
  • A Journey Through the Chakras
  • Motherhood and Family
  • Vision Board Creation
  • Ayurveda and Yoga
  • Soul Collage
  • Self-Care for Women in Service Professions
  • Spiritual Healing for the Healers in the World
  • Nature Watercolors
Logistics

When:

What time of year suits your retreat? If you would like to participate in seasonal activities, then that will inform what time of the year to book. For hiking, we recommend the summer and fall for a better chance of snow-free trails. How many days would you like to offer to participants? Please note our minimum three-night stay for most of the year.

Lodging:

How many spaces will you need to reserve in our two homes? Will you book one or both of our houses? We can accommodate single, double, or quad occupancy according to what you and your participants prefer.

Meals:

We supply all meals during your retreat. Our cuisine is always vegetarian, and we are able to accommodate other dietary restrictions such as gluten free and vegan diets.

 

Registration and Promotion:

We recommend creating a website to promote your retreat, unless you are offering a private event for your company, students, family, or friends. Along with a website, some of our favorite ways to market retreats are social media, word-of-mouth, and newsletters. Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful ways to showcase your event, so announce your retreat in classes you teach, recommend it to friends and colleagues, and offer to answer questions or discuss details with interested participants. If you do not yet have a website, here are some databases where you can easily list your retreat and manage registrations:
www.yovada.com | bookretreats.com | https://www.bookyogaretreats.com

Organization:

Keep yourself organized, both personally and for participants. With online registration, you may keep detailed records of participants, their dietary and accommodation needs, and the reason they are attending the retreat. We provide you with the documents you need to make this happen, including a room list with space for you to note any dietary restrictions or special requests. Maintain documents and be sure to communicate any questions or issues with the SunMountain Center staff.

 

Communication with Registrants:

Be sure to email participants once they register. Send another email a week or so before the retreat to give information about how to get ready, what to bring, and expectations for checking in. Participants are much more likely to feel comfortable and enjoy the retreat when they feel prepared. Here is a list of items we recommend bringing that you can share with attendees:
2020 Guest Info Sheet

Supporting Materials:

Prepare any handouts, activities, questionnaires, and teaching materials before you arrive. Keep everything organized so that you are ready when you are beginning every activity.

 

Post-Retreat Communication:

After participants leave, send them an email to say “thank you” and ask for feedback. This will help for your next retreat!

Retreat Experience

Activities:

Are there particular things you would like to incorporate in your retreat, like hiking, art-making, yoga, outdoor adventure, business meeting, or spa services? Here are some of our recommendations for things to do around Manitou Springs:

Special Ceremonial Aspects:

Will you want to have a welcome ceremony or celebration? Are there events you would like to offer throughout the retreat? What about a closing ceremony? If there are any props you need for these, be sure to bring them and set up in advance. Some examples are items for an altar, special food for a mid-afternoon or late-night gathering, games, or anything else that fits the theme of your retreat.

 

Small Gifts:

Are you thinking about giving participants a token to remember their time in your retreat? Some examples are a journal, flowers, mala bracelet, or gem stone.