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Sandy Cove Blog

Event Planning 101: Retreat! Or Conference?

Perhaps you have heard the old joke:

Q. “When is a car not a car?”
A. “When it turns into a parking lot!”
(And if you are like me, and not afraid of a good “dad joke,” tuck that one away to try later on your 7 year old.)

A similar question, this time not a joke:

Q. “When is a retreat not a retreat?”
A. “When it turns into a conference!”

Now this might sound like strictly semantics, but if you are a volunteer event planner for your church, hang with me and let’s take a quick look at what the difference is, why it matters, and what we should do about it.

Topics: Group Leaders Group Retreats Groups

Retreat Planning 201: Serve Some Spaghetti

In the last post we talked about thoughtfully adding “white space” to the schedule of your retreat, in order to encourage and allow attendees a more holistic experience. Today I am going to talk through a variation on that – it is not true “white space” but it is the opposite of a “content dump.”

At Sandy Cove we call it spaghetti time, based on the old cooking adage that you know your spaghetti is done when you throw it against the wall and it sticks. The “sticks” part is what we are interested in. We like to schedule spaghetti time after a message, as an encouragement to not just agree and rush off to the next thing – but to actually process what I just heard and look for what specific application it has for me.

Topics: Group Leaders Group Retreats Groups

Retreat Planning 201: Bring The Polar Bear

Tommy’s teacher saw him spacing out the window, and asked him to get focused back on his drawing. “Oh, I’m already done,” Tommy informed her. “See, here are his eyes and nose.” “Uh… I only see three black dots on your blank paper. Who is he, and where is the rest of him?” replied the teacher.

“He’s a polar bear” said Tommy matter-of-factly “and he is out in a snowstorm.”

Now whether you regard Tommy as a genius or a slacker is up to you, but this story can help us remember something when planning a retreat, conference, or other event. Ready?

Bring the polar bear – but also bring the snowstorm!

Topics: Group Leaders Groups

Should You Host Your Event At A Hotel Or Sandy Cove Conference Center?

If you help your church or organization plan events, you probably understand how stressful yet rewarding the planning process can be. From scoping out venues to nailing down the final headcount, there's research to be done, checklists to be created, phone calls to be made, and lots of people to satisfy.

When it comes to choosing a venue, it can be tricky. You can look into hotels, conference centers, retreat venues, camps, and other nontraditional options. So, how do you decide which is best for your event?

Here's a simple breakdown between what you'll find at a traditional hotel venue and what you'll find at Sandy Cove—which is a conference center, retreat venue, and camp all rolled into one, great event venue. Read on to learn more.

Topics: Event Planning Groups meeting planning

Event Debriefing 101

Just as it's important to get all the details right before your event, it's also equally important to collect feedback, evaluate the planning process, investigate the attendees' experience, and reconnect with planning partners after the event.

Give your team a day or two to recoup, but while the event is fresh on your mind, schedule a 1-1.5 hour debriefing meeting a day or two after your event. This amount of time should be enough to fully evaluate the event without over thinking it.

Every volunteer event planner should keep these 3 simple steps for conducting an event debriefing meeting on hand.

Topics: Event Planning Groups

Rest, Spiritual Rejuvenation . . . And FUN: Reviews From Group Leaders

It's a challenge to plan and execute your own events, be it a leader's retreat, men's weekend, women's getaway, etc. Those heading up the effort are often consumed with maintaining the program, schedule, and other details that make the retreat or event nearly impossible to personally enjoy.

One pastor from Virginia said he had a light bulb moment one day. He and his team had known about Sandy Cove for a while, but never took advantage of their group-friendly programmed events. It's easy to pull together a group of people to attend a programmed event with solid Bible teaching and planned meals—you don't have to do any heavy lifting. Now, instead of being the on-site leaders, he and his team can participate knowing that the staff at Sandy Cove has everything under control.

Topics: Group Leaders Group Retreats Groups