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If you’re planning your first retreat, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Canaan has dealt with both first-time retreat planners and seasoned veterans. Here are some tips for the first-time retreat planners out there.


I know what you’re thinking “but wait, this is my first retreat!”. Correct, but was there a retreat planned before you arrived in your new roll? Many organizations have had retreats in the past and those events may be a good foundation to build on. Talk with your coworkers or congregation, see what your potential guests did or did not like about the event.

You can also think back on retreats and day events that you’ve attended in the past!


This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how many retreat leaders don’t tour their retreat location before their event. A tour of the property allows you to see all of the facilities and activities. It also helps you to properly schedule out your event. For example, say you plan for an activity and then once the activity is over, you plan to have lunch. How far away is that activity from where you’ll be eating lunch? Will your guests want to clean up / rest before lunch? These are the kind of questions you can answer while on a tour.

We also recommend bringing some of your chaperones on the tour to get their ideas!

Lastly, the next tip will help if you live/work too far from the venue for a tour.


Here at Canaan we LOVE to work with Retreat Planners, that’s why we’re here! We want your event to be a success as much as you do. We can help you market your event with informational materials, pictures, and videos. We also love to give tours of our property to answer any questions you may have.

If you don’t have a schedule for your event, we can provide one for you based on your group’s event goals. We can also help you keep the schedule fresh year after year!


We’ve written about this in a previous blog post. Planning early is an important step as you want to give your potential guests enough time to fit your retreat into their schedule. Also, this allows you enough time to plan. We recommend bi-weekly communication leading up to your event to your potential guests and scheduled meetings with those helping you plan the retreat.


We’re not talking about overpacking your bags, we’re talking about activities! It seems like nowadays, we’re always on the go, always busy. Many individuals see a retreat as a getaway from everyday life. They want to try new activities and create relationships but also to experience some good old fashioned relaxation! While Archery TagZipline Tours, and our High Adventure Course are amazing activities, be sure to plan some downtime for your group. Make this downtime intentional. Encourage your group to hike around the property or find a peaceful place to sit, meditate and pray. You don’t need every minute of your retreat jam-packed with activities!


  • Arrive Early – Get to the retreat location before your guests arrive to make sure everything is to your liking.
  • What Does Your Retreat Location Provide? – Does the venue provide linens, soap, ice, etc.
  • Arrival and Departure Times – Check to see how early your group can arrive and how late they can stay.
  • Make Sure All Documents are Signed Before Arrival – Be sure that all waivers and contracts are signed before arriving at your venue. There will be lots to do upon arrival and this will be one less thing you’ll need to focus on.
  • Surprise Your Guests – A surprise campfire, S’mores, ice cream or night game are always great!
  • Communicate! – Keep in communication with your guests and venue. There’s no such thing as too much communication.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Ask For Help – Be sure to bring enough chaperones for your event. If your retreat doesn’t require chaperones, consider having 2-3 people help you plan the retreat. This helps you relieve the feeling of it all being on you!


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