Ah packing, we either do it a week in advance or 7 minutes before we need to leave. Either way, it’s an important part of a successful event! As a retreat coordinator, you’re not just packing for yourself, you’re also packing important items for your group! We wanted to share some of our top tips of what you and your group should and should not pack for your retreat.
WHAT TO PACK:
PACK FOR THE WEATHER-
Be sure to keep up with any weather updates all the way up to when you’re about to leave for your retreat. Weather is ever-changing and you don’t want to bring the wrong clothes. Also, consider packing a rain jacket or umbrella just in case any storms arrive during your stay. The weather also plays a roll in what you’ll need to bring for bed! Be sure to ask your retreat center to see if linens are included and if your cabin is air conditioned. Here at Canaan, we do not provide linens but both of our cabins are air conditioned!
PLENTY OF CLOTHES-
Consider your activities and how many changes of clothes you’ll need. If you’re having a messy activity like a food or mud fight, you’ll for sure want to bring a few extra changes of clothes. Also, many retreat centers have lots of water activities. Consider bringing an extra bathing suit if your event is during the warmer months.
Not all of your guests will be up for a Zipline Tour, High Ropes Course or Leap of Faith. Instead, some of your guests will enjoy relaxing inside for a bit to play some board games or head out to the sports fields for some sports, cornhole, canjam etc… Be sure to bring some of these items for your guests to help facilitate some alternative ways to have fun! Remember, some of your guests are going to consider this retreat a relaxing vacation and will want to participate in some more relaxing activities.
Be sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks for your entire group. While meals at retreat facilities are great, your guests will still enjoy some snacks throughout the day and maybe even one before bed!
WHAT NOT TO PACK-
TOO MANY ELECTRONICS-
Now this is a difficult topic. On one hand, it’s a good idea to bring your phones to be able to contact loved ones but consider keeping them in a safe location until a designated time in the evening. After your guests have checked in with the family, return all the phones to that safe location. Electronics like a laptop or projector to aid in worship or meetings are ok but make sure they don’t become the focus! Many a retreat have been taken over by a movie or football game. Also, electronics are an easy way to get sucked back in to the stressful situations I’m sure many of your guests are trying to escape while at your retreat.
Be sure to ask your location for a list of items that are prohibited. Canaan provides a list once a retreat is booked. Items to consider would be weapons, alcohol, pets, ATVs etc..
Above we mentioned to pack some extra clothes but don’t overpack! There’s a couple reasons for this. One, you may purchase some items at the gift shop and need to make room for them. Second, you won’t know how much space you’ll have to store your items in the cabin. Luckily, here at Canaan we provide plenty of storage for your items but it’s still a good idea to pack lite.
Be sure to survey your group on what allergens they may have. This can affect your meals and activities and you want to make sure your guests are happy and healthy during the retreat. For example, consider a peanut allergy and the menu you’ll be serving or even those who are allergic to certain fragrances.