8 Fresh Ideas for Your Next Spring Retreat

We had the privilege of being part of some amazing retreats and events this spring.

Here are a few fresh ideas to help you spruce up your spring retreat and make it even more spectacular: 

1. Create inspiring signage for participants as they drive in.

Along the popular road to your retreat center, sprinkle signs like “We can’t wait for you!” and “You’re going to have an amazing weekend!” This simple practice can create excitement in the participants even before they pull onto the property.

2. Offer a snack and beverage at check-in.

Fancy resorts often provide fruity water and snack at check-in. Upgrade your event by offering ice-cold water bottles and homemade cupcakes to everyone as they check-in.

3. Boldly display your giveaways.

Retreat attendees love prizes and giveaways, but they don’t always know what they’re getting. Instead of keeping the bags and baskets of goodies behind the stage display them on a table to create anticipation. At the ReNEWal Conference outside of Dayton, Ohio, each church who attended was asked to bring at least one basket of goodies worth $20-$50. The creator of the best basket won a free registration to next year’s event. The baskets were themed and spectacular.

4. Use white lights to create magic in a room.

A few strands of white Christmas lights can turn an ordinary room into a magical place. Use these lights to change the ambiance and create someplace enchanting and beautiful.

5. Give each person retreat dollars.

These allow attendees to use the money (along with real dollars) to make purchases. The easy-to-print retreat dollars can be used toward a massage, latte, books, gifts, audio duplication, or even used to make a donation during a collection for something the retreat center may need. Whether you give each person $2, $3, $5 or more retreat dollars, it’s a great way for participants to bring something from the retreat home with them. This can be particularly helpful and meaningful for those who have received scholarships to attend.

6. Host a candy bar.

Instead of serving dessert one night, create a candy bar. Use large glass canisters to hold all kinds of M&Ms, gummy bears, sour candies, gumballs, Dove chocolates, and more. Provide small bags and spoons for people to serve themselves. Attendees will love it!

7. Bring in a massage therapist or two.

Invite them to charge $1 per minute of massage and provide sign-ups for attendees. The therapists will be popular and busy throughout the retreat. Also, consider inviting others who can offer spa services—footbaths, nail paint, etc. to allow participants to pamper themselves.

8. Make as many announcements as you can at the beginning of each session.

This will allow the impact of the main message to linger rather than being undermined by a long-list of announcements. Remember that by the time your speaker is done, your audience is, too. They’re ready to be dismissed.

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Margaret  Feinberg
Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com) is author of some great reads like Scouting the Divine and The Sacred Echo. She loves Coldplay but can’t wait for the skinny jean trend to pass. She asked her social media friends what marks a hipster pastor and their most brilliant responses are found above. You can follow her snark, wit, and wisdom at www.twitter.com/mafeinberg and help her figure out what to do on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/mafeinberg.