Finding the Right Fit
A critical decision when planning your retreat is whether or not to use a facilitator. Ideally the choice of whether to use a facilitator should happen before too much discussion about your retreat objectives takes place. A facilitator can provide valuable guidance and assistance to the planning group as you design the event, assess your needs, and make other retreat planning decisions.
Two of the most often cited reasons to use a facilitator for a retreat is to help keep the group focused and to ensure all participants to fully participate in the discussion. Securing a trained, neutral facilitator that the entire group is comfortable with will take time, effort, and money. You may choose to look internally for someone with the skills you desire or for volunteers within your community who could help. Resources include area council of governments, community colleges, state agencies, or cooperative extension offices.
You may seek assistance and advice in specific issues areas, such as planning, in which case you might seek a facilitator with expertise about the substance of your discussion. Or your group may be experiencing such difficult group dynamics that it might seek a facilitator with particularly strong skills and experience in interpersonal relationships.
Whether you decide to use a facilitator or not, there are some specific considerations and skill sets you’ll want to employ during the retreat. Learn more about facilitating on your own or using a facilitator.