One of the most significant aspects of any parks and recreation organization is its dedicated staff. As the backbone of your organization, it’s important to ensure that your staff understands that their hard work is appreciated. One way to do this is through organizing a retreat.
In addition to giving your diverse staff members who may otherwise not connect with one another the opportunity to do so, you’ll also create a safe space to express their thoughts in relation to an issue (or set of issues) with greater focus. Use the retreat as an opportunity to make a difference within your organization.
Here’s how to plan an impactful parks and recreation staff retreat.
Outline a Goal
No matter what the purpose of your staff retreat is, start with a clearly defined goal. With defined objectives and a desired outcome in mind, it will be easier for you and your team to plan the details. In the event that you have trouble finding a purpose, consider surveying your team to see what they would like to work towards. This may include areas to improve on, fostering more interpersonal relationships, brainstorming expansion ideas for your programming, and more.
Find the Right Space
A staff retreat allows for you and your staff to escape your day-to-day routine, with the benefit of inspiring your team to think outside of the box. Your surroundings can strongly influence and guide your conversations. Beyond finding a good physical space such as a hotel conference room or at a location surrounded by nature, it’s important to consider what sort of psychological space you aim to create.
Depending on the purpose of your staff retreat, you may want to harness a relaxing, creative, or comfortable energy. Consider the goals and desired outcomes for your staff retreat and plan from there.
Prepare and Follow Through
To take advantage of the time that you have together, it’s crucial to be prepared so that none of it is wasted. Gather any information you can and make sure everything that can be done ahead of time has been completed, so that when it comes time for engaging conversations, your team has your full and undivided attention. Remind your team to set their out-of-office messages as well, so that they will not be preoccupied by responding to calls and emails.
It’s also beneficial to set clear guidelines for your team to adhere to, which will help them stay focused. In addition to keeping your team engaged, immerse yourself in the conversation. Everyone in your organization should be an active participant, so that you can all align towards the same goal.
After your retreat concludes, take every measure possible to follow through with the suggestions and solutions you and your team came up with collaboratively. Review your notes from your team conversations and distribute them to everyone in your organization.
Staff retreats are a great way to come up with new ideas and possibilities, while helping your team connect on another level. If done right, you can make it a fun and impactful experience for everyone. Whether it’s integrating new technology or growing your team’s dynamic problem solving skills, retreats can make a noticeably positive difference.