Bookending your retreat with an opening and closing circle is important to connecting the group with intention and meaning. These are often the times when students feel safe and comfortable opening up, as that is what the space is created for.
Opening circles are appropriate the night everyone arrives or the next morning to introduce students to the adventure ahead. This is where you can lay out the week, let people know important information about the venue and give them an opportunity to introduce themselves. This is also a great time to engage in some icebreaker activities and hand out gift bags (which can be a nice touch that people appreciate very much!).
During the last night or morning, you can gather the group together for a closing circle. This is a great opportunity to reflect on the week and give everyone a chance to share their experiences. You could even incorporate something sweet like having students write love letters to an anonymous recipient and then send them to everyone randomly when you return home.
Opening and closing circles are great ways to help students feel like they can integrate and reintegrate before and after the trip. I love helping teachers to plan these parts of their retreats because they can be so impactful.
Are you ready to start planning your next retreat? I offer one-on-one coaching and full service retreat planning for teachers ready to make their dream a reality. Let’s set up a call and get things moving for you today!