- generate laughter
- increase guest interaction and
- build relaxation by eliminating the fear of being embarrassed.
HOLD ENJOYABLE CONTESTS WHERE EVERYONE CAN WIN.
A "Tea Tasting Contest," for example, adds no stress and is just plain fun. Hold it during breakfast on the first morning of your retreat: Set up six tables featuring carafes of hot water, disposable Styrofoam cups, plastic spoons, sugar packets and numerous tea bags of one kind per table. Do not identify what kind of tea is being served at each table except by numbering the table itself.
During and after breakfast, invite each guest to make her way around the room sampling the teas and writing down her guesses on a personal sheet of paper with only the numbers 1-6 on it. At that morning's session, let the guests self-score their papers. Have volunteers pass out "free" tea bags to everyone. You could even create your own tea bag packet-jackets featuring the retreat's theme verse.
HOST A GAME SHOW WITH VOLUNTEERS.
True, a few people may get embarrassed, but they would have volunteered for the job instead of being forced to play.
- Tweak the Newlywed Game to make it appropriate for a mother-daughter event.
- Lead a friendly game of Family Feud at a MOPS retreat.
- Host "Name That Praise Song" at a worship planner's renewal weekend.
PLAY A BOXED GAME AS A GROUP.
Balderdash, Cranium, TaBoo and many other games are ideal for large group play with a few simple changes. Remember: Put no individual person on the spot, but rather let the "teams" do it - or, let someone from each team volunteer to be the spokesperson.
HOST A BEAUTY PAGEANT.
Again, recruit volunteers who LOVE the spotlight and are willing to prance around in their cute pajamas or even in something as basic as their winter coats, gloves and hats. Since only the flamboyant volunteer, it will be fun. If you enlist the most quick-witted-woman you can find as the impromptu pageant hostess, and another volunteer to hold up signs toward the audience that say things like, "Clap Now!" or "Gasp!" your pageant is sure to be blast.
There are so many things we can do at retreats that can't be done during regular meetings. Go for it! Your women will thank you.
Marnie Swedberg is the author of Retreats Made Easy: A comprehensive guide providing step-by-step instructions so you can set and accomplish your goals, enjoy the process, and get rave reviews all in less time and with less stress than you would think possible.