Retreats and summits

Retreats and summits

Last updated: 4th October, 2023

1. What are retreats?

Retreats involve community members gathering for two or more days, usually out of the city, and usually have group bonding as one of the key goals. Retreats are run by a variety of groups, including university groups, city groups, and national groups.

Retreats fall into a continuum from:

  • Unconferences
    • These are more intense trips where participants learn or work on projects together. Activities are planned and usually scheduled in advance by participants and organisers.
  • Casual retreats
    • The goal is to have fun and bond with others.

Activities can include social activities, talks, career planning, intensive workshops, and working on projects. Group retreats have ranged in size from less than 10 people (core members of a group only) to over 50 people.

EA groups can apply for funding to organize a retreat via CEA's group support funding, or via the options for group expenses listed here.

You can view our common group expenses guidelines to see a guideline on how much we can potentially fund your group to spend on per person for a retreat, which you can adjust downwards if your group is not in a high-income / high cost-of-living country.

2. Step-by-step guide to running a retreat

The following videos and steps were created by the Global Challenges Library. You can make a copy of their checklist here.

(i) Initial preparation (~4 hours over 1-2 weeks)

Pick dates for the Summit (~2 hours)

  • We recommend a 3 night Summit as a good default
  • You may want/need to find out the dates your most desired attendees are available for

Secure a venue and catering if you deem it necessary and can afford it (~2 hours)

(ii) Getting applications (~8 hours over 2-4 weeks)

Create a form/website to receive applications for your Summit (~2 hours)

Use google forms

(iii) After finalising your guest list (~14 hours)

Secure transport to and from the venue (~2 hours)

Compile your programme for the Summit (~8 hours)

Send important event info to your confirmed guests (~2 hours)

Email all guests sending them the key information
You might want to create a group chat on your preferred messaging platform for easier communication

Confirm final details with the venue (~2 hours)

Confirm dietary requirements and any allergies with the caterer
Assign out your guests to bedrooms

(iv) Final preparation (~5 hours)

Order supplies for your Summit (~2 hours)

You might want to bring some of the following supplies if you can afford to
Notepads and pens for everyone
Spare sleep masks and ear plugs
Spare tampons and other sanitary products
Spare painkillers, band aids, anti allergy tablets
Whiteboard markers
Tape and scissors
Paper, large and small
A bell/gong for ringing
Spare iPhone and Android chargers
Tissue boxes
Post-it notes
Trash bags
Spare toothbrushes and toothpastes
Spare shampoo and shower gel
COVID masks

Create feedback forms for the Summit (~2 hours)

Send a final reminder email to participants (~1 hour)

Alternatively, you can send this on the group chat you’ve already made.

(v) Day before

Call your booked transport to confirm that they have the correct details/check the route you are using for public transport

3. Further resources folder

This Google Drive Folder has templates and useful resources. Feel free to make copies for your own use! This document written by the community health team may be useful too.

4. Other helpful guides

You might also find these resources useful: