Retreat! Your Forum Needs to Work and Play…

As you work to schedule your retreat, I thought it would be helpful to share an excerpt from Mo Fathelbab’s book Forum: The Secret Advantage of Successful Leaders.  This is a great excerpt to share with other members of your group as you prepare to retreat

Chapter Twenty: Rejuvenating Your Group – Retreats

A single retreat is said to have as much value for group growth as six to twelve months of meetings – reason enough for groups to schedule at least one retreat each year.

What is a retreat?  A retreat is an organized one to two-day, out of town meeting that provides a group with the opportunity  to rebuild, rejuvenate and grow.  A successful retreat is planned using a work component and a play component.  The work component includes a formal agenda with updates, presentations, exercises, and housekeeping.  The plan component can be anything from skiing to rock climbing to white water rafting to any number of parlor games.  And, of course, shared meals are an important element.

Retreats can be held in a variety of locations: hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, private vacation homes, even boats.  Vacation homes can be particularly effective retreat sites because the group can stay together in a family atmosphere, enjoy total privacy, and share some of the menial tasks such as cooking, that engender a stronger sense of friendship.

The retreat provides an opportunity for self-discovery as well as to get better acquainted with fellow members, especially new ones.  It is not at all unusual for new group members to feel some hesitancy before attending the first retreat.  Seasoned groups, though, quickly realize the value of the retreat and look forward to the intensity of the experience.

As soon as you have a confirmed retreat date, you can begin the process of identifying a facilitator and scheduling the administration of a pre-retreat survey to help set the agenda for the retreat.

For those members who may want to explain the value of forum to their employers, here’s a Description of AFS Programs.  This document may be helpful when requesting time away to attend forum meetings or retreats, or to request employer reimbursement of the Alumni Forum annual fee as a professional development/corporate training expense.