The OnCourse retreat facilitators work with the forum moderator or retreat coordinator to conceive unique retreats that focus on a specific topic, theme, or experience. Prior to the retreat, participants complete a confidential online survey that outlines their current personal and vocational situations, and any pressing issues or crises. This “homework” helps us develop a customized agenda for the retreat.
The OnCourse resources and the retreat coordinator collaborate to tailor the retreat’s agenda to the specific needs of the group. This agenda often changes after the retreat begins, based on the flow of discussions and experiences, as well as member needs.
Once the retreat begins, the customized agenda has the following general flow:
- Exercises to confirm or build safety within the group and deal with any issues or conflicts within the group
- Group-level exercises and experiences based on the common themes from the participants’ homework
- Individual participants have the opportunity to work through a difficult life issue or dilemma, using either the standard YPO presentation formats or more in-depth explorations led by the facilitator
- Sports, games, or adventures, often outdoors, that have varying levels of competition and creativity, and strengthen authenticity within the group
- An integration session to help the group sustain the retreat experience at meetings following the retreat
- Time for celebration and pure fun!
Following the retreat, the OnCourse resources often have regular communication with the moderator or group leader to strategize exercises and discussions for the group’s ongoing meetings, and to help them deal with interpersonal dynamics among the members.
Common Forum Dynamics (Prior to the Retreat)
- We’re an experienced forum. Our norms are solid; attendance is strong. We like and trust each other. We’re ready to go to the next level.
- Our meetings are flat, predictable, and boring. We need a jump-start.
- We’re all in midlife or in some transition. We’re ready to face our issues and devise a “game plan” for the next stage of our lives.
- We’re a new group. We don’t know each other. We want to become an intimate group of friends.
- We want to honor long-term, departing members and/or welcome new members.
- We’re struggling. Attendance norms are unenforced. There is unspoken tension among members. Confidentiality is weak. We’re avoiding difficult conversations. HELP!