As was modeled before me, our teams have always sent a letter to the retreat participants.
Back in the day we used to send them through the mail, however due to the fact that almost everyone has email and postage can add up quickly, we now send them electronically.
Be sure to print out and mail any copies of your retreat letter for women that do not have email access. Since you’ve asked for it on their registration form, you’ll know just who needs one mailed to them.
So what might you want to put in your retreat letter?
- Directions to the retreat location.
- Packing list – women need to know what to wear, what to bring, etc. Don’t forget to tell them to bring their Bible. Want them to bring snacks and board games? Need craft supplies for your service project?
- Dress code – some locations may have a dress code for meals. Women want to know what they should wear.
- Free time activities – let them start planning what they want to do during free time. Some of your ladies may want to head up early to do some exploring.
- Times – clearly note what time they can arrive, what time dinner will be that first night, and what time you will finish.
- Contact numbers for your retreat location. Spouses may want/need a number to call. Depending on your location, cell phone reception could be spotty.
- Name of their roommate. While most of them will already know who they are room with, noting their roommate lets them know that you got their requests.
I promise some of your women are less than excited to go. Maybe their spouse is pushing them to get to know some of the other women at your church. Others may be struggling with leaving behind children or parents that will have to be cared for by others.
Make sure your letter is warm, inviting, and exciting! Give your gals a brief overview of the weekend.
Let your women know that you have been praying for them.
Let them know you can’t wait to spend the weekend with them.
Let them know you expect God to do great things.
I highly recommend that you send this letter out 4 weeks prior to your departure date.
- That let’s your planners plan.
- You can also stick a reminder in the retreat letter about when final deposits are due.
- It helps build excitement about your retreat.
If 4 weeks is too early, be sure to send your letter out at least 2 weeks prior.
One group I went on retreat with sent their letter out maybe 3 days before. By that point I had sent an email with several questions – What did I need to wear? What time did I need to arrive? I was stressed out instead of excited!
You can still make your letter pretty and include your retreat graphics even though you are emailing it out. Just send the letter as a PDF attachment. Just please don’t send a blank email to go with it!
I also recommend you send out a shorter note one week before the trip. Remind them what time they need to be there, email the directions again, and let them know you’re excited. Some of your women will need that second reminder.
Have I missed anything? What else should leaders include in their letter to participants?