Planning a Women’s Retreat in PA — Making it Look Easy

If you are planning a women’s retreat in PA,  you probably fit into one of two categories — old pro or green first-timer. Old pros at organizational planning become pros because they learn on the job. If you’re new to planning you could go that route also. However, the professionals at Camp Netimus would like to offer our expertise to give you a great start in planning a women’s retreat. 

First Things First — Assembling Your Planning Team

Before you get to work planning a women’s retreat you need to assemble your planning team. The size of this team will vary depending on the size of your event. For a small retreat with 15 to 20 women, the planning can be accomplished with 2 or 3 active people. If you are expecting 100 to 200 participants, you will need a much larger planning team.

Once you have your team assembled, you will need to determine your rules:

  • How will the committee make decisions?
  • Will one person have veto authority over planning?
  • Is there an organization board that will have a voice in decisions?
  • How many team meetings will take place? How often? When and where?

Once you have your team organized and the rules established you can get down to the business of planning.

Create a Master Planning List — the First Meeting

At your first team meeting, the group should establish a master planning list. This can be completed by the team leader before the meeting. The master list will be a “living document.” That means that it will shift and change as the planning advances through each phase.

Some of the important items that should be included in the master list are:

  • Define the purpose, or goal, of the retreat
  • Set the dates, including times for the beginning and the end
  • Determine a baseline budget
  • Discuss proposed locations
  • Determine if food will be self-prepared or catered
  • Make a general menu (make sure to include any known dietary restrictions)
  • Determine if your group requires specific insurance coverage for the retreat
  • Plan special speakers and musical performances if applicable
  • Plan activities, workshops, meet-and-greet activities, etc.

Depending on the type of retreat you are planning, your actual list may have more or less information on it. The key is to try to have every aspect of the event represented on the master list. 

 

Using your master list, divide responsibility for specific items to members of your planning team. Some items may require mini teams, such as the activities team. Assign one person as the venue contact point, with an assistant or backup contact. Designate a person to be in charge of advertising your retreat with a team if necessary. Try to assign team members, or allow them to volunteer for tasks based on their talents.

Depending on the size of your team, some people may be doubled up on responsibilities. The key is to spread the tasks so that one person is not overwhelmed. Small events can be planned and carried out in four to six weeks. For larger retreats, planning may take several months. 

Deciding on Your Food Choices

Food options may be dependent on the choice of venue. Many places may offer the option for catering services or a self-provided menu selection.

It is usually easier to have an event catered by the venue if that option is available. They are well-versed in food preparation for groups, dietary concerns, and selection. This also allows the organizers to enjoy the event rather than working hard behind the scenes to prepare meals.

Cover Your Expenses and Then Some

When determining your costs, add up all the expenses and divide that by the expected number of attendees. When determining individual registration fees always add a bit of cushioning.

For example: if total costs for the venue, lodging, entertainment, speakers, and catering are $5,000 per day for a two-day event with 200 attendees, you need to charge a minimum of $50 for each participant. If you charge $65 per attendee, you will have an extra $3,000 for unexpected expenses.

The remaining funds are useful for general expenses such as advertising, printing, and transportation. 

The Importance of Locking in Your Venue

Scheduling your event with the venue should be a priority for your organizing team. Venues can schedule up to two years in advance for some events, so locking in your projected dates as soon as possible will ensure that your event will have a location.

 
 
 
 
 
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When you select your dates, always have more than one option. We recommend selecting three separate dates and permitting your venue contact point to lock one in with the venue. Once you have your dates and venue locked in, you can begin producing your information campaign. 

Advertising Your Event

As the time for your event grows near, you will want to have an advertising plan in place. This can include:

  • Printed brochures or promotional flyers
  • Social media posts
  • Website announcements
  • Bulletins or newsletters
  • Phone calls
  • Mail invitations
  • Posters in public places

Depending on the audience you wish to attract, your advertising might also include local radio announcements. Keep in mind that some advertising does cost money. You planned for this, but will still need to adhere to a budget.

Locking in Your Attendance Numbers

Once you know your final registration numbers, you will be able to begin printing out your event supplies. These may include:

  • Registration forms (these can be online or in print)
  • Agendas or programs with the event itinerary
  • Workshop forms and materials
  • Exit surveys
  • Name tags

You should have a final meeting with your planning team shortly before your event to make sure that everyone knows what they will be doing when your participants arrive.

Ready, Set, Go — Have an Awesome Retreat

On the first day of your retreat, arrive early enough to decorate your venue and set up your welcoming procedure. This normally consists of a table where registrants can check in to pick up their retreat packet and name tags.

For a great weekend retreat venue, please keep Camp Netimus in mind. Our site offers lodging, meeting spaces, indoor and outdoor facilities for activities, and food service is available. Because we provide summer camps for girls, our available dates are during off-season periods, but fair weather abounds at our Milford, PA location.

Our Facilities Manager, Kayla Carrozza can be contacted via email at kcarr967@gmail.com or by calling (570) 994-4362. Our facilities can handle groups from 20 to 150 and are perfect if you are planning a women’s retreat.

You can see photos of our venue and facilities on Facebook and Instagram.

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