Who Is Your Retreat For?
Now that you’ve established the purpose for your event and what you intend to accomplish, you’ll want to consider the critical “Who” question: who is your retreat geared toward? Each group of retreat attendees will be unique and, of course, your planning needs to take that important fact into consideration.
Keep in mind that, at this point, you’re constructing the critical foundation upon which all of your future planning and preparation will rest. By providing an appropriate, strong “skeleton” right from the start, your event will take on a healthy life of its own as you flesh it out and move forward through the development of your creation—a truly memorable and meaningful retreat.
The strategizing you will be doing regarding activities, speakers, food—and even venue—will be dependent upon your “consumers’” needs and expectations. Will you be catering to a crowd of corporate executives working on the company’s next-fiscal-year budget, or your church’s youth group?…a local book club, or a bunch of dads and their teenage sons?…or maybe a co-op of home-school moms?
Retreats are for anybody and for any time! Grouping people together for such a purpose is limited only by your creativity. And you will find that, by bringing them together in a well-organized environment and giving them plenty of time and activities to connect with one another, you will be offering your participants a truly great gift—the opportunity to share both concerns and commonalities, to form new friendships, and to take away a collection of ideas and memories that have the potential for impacting their lives in some exceptional way.
Remember, your job will be much easier and your retreat much more successful if the target group is limited to a list of attendees who all share an interest in the intended focus of the event. If your event will be geared toward teens, then adults who are not needed as staff or chaperones should not be a part of your audience. Likewise, if your retreat is for senior citizens, they should not be permitted to bring along their grandchildren.
Keep your focus on “What” and “Who”, being sure to appropriately align your focus and your audience…this is the essential basis for that firm retreat foundation.