We find it helpful to schedule a debriefing within a couple of days after your retreat is over. Gather together the team and your volunteer staff–anyone who may have had contact with or input from your guests or the retreat center staff. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss the overall experience of the participants and the retreat planning team.
What went well? What needs improvement (or was even a complete disaster)? What do your evaluation forms reveal about your guests’ level of satisfaction? What needs to change when you plan for the next retreat? What was particularly enjoyable for your attendees? What did they find or beneficial? What suggestions did participants make that would improve their next retreat experience? Make lots of detailed notes during this meeting and file them. These notes will be a great starting place for your next planning team to begin; your next event will be even better as you apply the lessons learned this time around, and everyone will benefit from your past experience. Above all, keep in mind that there are no failures—only opportunities to learn and improve.