As the Builders Club service year comes to an end, you might decide to plan for next year. If you’ve always wanted to do a leadership retreat with your club, this is a good time to consider it. This can be particularly meaningful for Builders Club members. Well-designed social and emotional experiences and leadership development can play a vital role in building self-esteem and social connection for students during this period in their development.
Other benefits of retreats include:
- Connecting and bonding for students.
- Time for team-building and active, experiential activities.
- Intensive time to focus on exploring or learning specific topics.
- Dedicated time for teams to plan.
- Building facilitation skills in students leading sessions or activities.
One of the first steps in planning a retreat is to get approval from the school’s administration or organization’s executive director. Involve your club officers in planning and perhaps in making the request to your administrator or director. For that conversation, be ready to share a basic description and purpose for the retreat, as well as an idea of when you would like to hold it.
Details to determine for a club leadership retreat:
- Purpose: What goals do you have for the retreat? What do you want officers and members to gain?
- Participants: Who will facilitate each workshop or session? Will there be special duties or roles for advisors, officers and committee chairs? Will you invite a speaker from your Kiwanis club or organizations that your club works with? Do you need help from other teachers or parents/guardians?
- Program: What topics will be covered to meet retreat goals? What type of sessions will you have (workshop, icebreaker, teambuilding)? How long should sessions be to keep students engaged?
- Length: How much time is reasonable for students to participate — a half day or whole day? How long does the retreat need to be to meet your goals? Remember to keep students engaged, keep sessions short and include activities that have them active and out of their seats.
- Timing: What time of year will you hold the retreat? The beginning of the school year? Midyear? Factors affecting timing include the availability of the location, other events on students’ calendars and the goals of the retreat.
- Location: Is there a flexible use space in your school or organization that would be comfortable and available? Are there special places in your community (such as your sponsoring Kiwanis club or a public park) that have a space to meet at no charge? Does the location provide a way to get students outside for a healthful break? How will you handle meals and/or snacks in the space?
- Transportation: How will students get to the retreat? If the club needs transportation, what is the cost and are there any resources to cover it?
- Supplies: What items will you need for each of the sessions and activities? Will you provide or will students bring something to drink and eat?
- Takeaways: How will you capture what happened at the retreat? You’ll want to include decisions made about club activities or procedures, action steps the club plans to take, questions brought up that need resolution and the experiences of participants.
- Release forms: Remember to have photo release forms signed by parents/guardians for all members at the beginning of each year so you can use images from club events in presentations, stories and social media.