- Gather your team
– 3-5 women is ideal for a planning team. You may also want to assemble teams to help with areas such as food, Creative Quiet Time, etc.
- Find a venue
– Be creative! Look into the resources within your church body and community and see if someone you know is willing to let you use their space. Homes and churches are great options that will keep the cost low for attendees. You may want to look for a space that has an area for large-group gatherings, as well as smaller spaces for breakout sessions.
- Plan your date
– After checking with your team and venue, consider reaching out to your local adoptive/foster mom group (if you have one locally) to poll them for the best time of year to host your mini retreat. These retreats do not have to be an overnight event, and it is often helpful to host them on a Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. This is completely up to you and can be catered to your team/community’s preference.
- Make an invite list/promote your event
– Depending on your resources, you could plan on inviting 25-30 women (knowing you may end up with around 15-25), or you could open it up to as many women as your venue can hold. As you plan, you will need to consider your numbers as you plan food and costs of the retreat, so it may be wise to decide on a maximum number of moms that you could accommodate. Get the word out via churches, Facebook, your local adoptive/foster mom networks and agencies, etc.
- Figure out your budget
– Ideally, try to aim at keeping the registration fee between $25-$50 per person. Again, be creative with the resources around you. People may be willing to donate some of the costs so you can keep the registration fee down (small groups may volunteer to bring in breakfast or donate snack foods and coffee, etc.). You could also see if your church ministry would be a financial backer and/or would consider purchasing the retreat kit to have as an adoption resource. If you do need to pay for lodging somewhere, we understand costs may be higher. Always ask, “What is our goal and what are the needs of our community?”
- Plan food
– One option for food, as mentioned above is donations. For a retreat that is taking place Friday evening and all day Saturday, you could provide coffee and dessert on Friday evening, Breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day on Saturday.
– You could also call or look online for local restaurant’s catering menus. Check with multiple places to see if they would consider donating one meal (Chick Fil A does a GREAT boxed lunch and may reduce the cost if you call and tell them about your ministry). Figure out how much it would cost to order food and plan your menu around your budget.
-If making your own food for the weekend, you could have a committee of people dedicated to planning, buying and making the food. Make sure they understand that will consume most of their time that weekend.
– Don’t forget to include snacks, drinks, paper products, utensils, etc.! In the past we have had success with creating a “Sign Up Genius” link that all of the women on the planning team could send out to their various small groups, lift groups and churches to donate even the smallest items.
- Make a schedule for the weekend
– Check the Created for Care website for a sample schedule, located under the “mini retreat” tab, but once again- this is YOUR mini retreat! Make it your own and cater to the preferences and schedules of the women attending!
- Create an invite and/or a registration protocol
– Include link to the Created for Care website (www.createdforcare.org) for them to find out more about Created for Care and the mini retreat.
- Plan what speakers, DVD’s or CD’s you’ll be using in each session.
– Here is another place to consider your community. Spend time praying for direction on what the needs are and what would be the greatest blessing. Past retreat sessions are an option as well. Other groups have had a great success bringing in their own speakers- consider your community! Local church leaders, adoption professionals and counselors might love the opportunity to come share with your group! Panels are another great way to hear from all voices of the adoption triad- reach out to friends who are adult adoptees, birth moms or veteran adoptive or foster moms. Their experiences and voices are so valuable! You could even allow folks to list questions for the panels as a part of registration, and make sure to provide the questions to the panel members ahead of time.
- Plan Creative Quiet Time
– Resources are on the website under the “mini retreat” tab or feel free to contact us! Consider your own community of women and their needs and follow the Spirit’s promptings!
- Plan worship
– We have found that it is best to have live worship when at all possible. Reach out to your circle of influence to see if there is someone in your church/community (or even some adoptive moms themselves!) that would be willing to come share their gifts to lead others in a time of worship.
- Plan gift bags and/or special “goodies” (optional)
– Every mama loves a little treat! If your budget allows, purchase or make a couple special “surcees” (mug, journal, etc.) for these mamas to receive upon their arrival. If your budget doesn’t allow, ask around with local businesses to see if they would make donations for these sweet mamas- some companies may donate gift cards or discounts off their services. Get creative- you could check with local Holy Yoga instructors to see if someone would be willing to come lead a time of stretching and rest! Ask if local massage school students need hours of “practice” to graduate! 😉 Think outside the box about what would feel like “rest” or a “treat” to these mamas!
- Contact us if you have any questions! firstname.lastname@example.org