Finding time for alumnae and undergrads to connect is just plain hard. Everyone is busy with school, work, family and other endeavors. But it is so important to make it happen. "Older and wiser" alumnae have a lot to offer undergrads, and they certainly have as much to gain by maintaining that connection that sisterhood embodies. And most importantly, it is all for the good of the chapter for the bond to continue to grow — regardless of the stage of sisterhood. Below are 5 Engaging Retreat Ideas for Sisters and Alumnae alike. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money and travel to the opposite end of the country to have fun, get involved and make memories.
- Destination Getaway
When in doubt, getaway. A three-day weekend is the perfect excuse to pack your bags and hit the road with your sisters and alumnae. Pick a fun destination but without a ton of distractions. Close to the coast? Find a fun, yet quiet beach town where you can rent a house for the weekend. Plan activities as a group to maximize bonding time. Have a sand castle building contest, search for shells and use them in a group craft later. When night falls, get comfy and opt for a movie night, charades or try indoor Olympics with tournament style Jenga and Twister.
If you find your group closer to the mountains, activities can involve a group hike, bonfire (don’t forget the s’mores) and maybe zip lining for the more adventurous in the group. Make the most of your weekend and enjoy your beautiful surroundings with your gorgeous sisters!
- Give Back and Have Fun
It feels good to give back, especially when you can organize and accomplish a charity project with your sisters. It can also be fun! Plan a weekend to participate in a charity project/event or create one of your own. Research your local Habitat for Humanity chapter to build a home on behalf of your organization. Coming together to build a home in your community as a chapter is very rewarding. Create great memories while giving a deserving family the opportunity to create their own.
Also, think about contacting your local animal shelter. They are always in need of volunteers to help with adoptions on the weekends. Most of the time shelters are looking to co-organize events with local organizations. Create your own fun event like “Picnic with Pups” in a local park where the shelter provides the dogs available for adoption and your organization hosts the event–drumming-up awareness for the shelter. Invite local food trucks to be involved. Ask sisters with artistic talent to do sidewalk chalk art and face painting. Your alumnae sisters may even have a few other community connections. Make sure to get their input and keep them involved. Giving back can be a fun time to learn more about your alumnae, give back and have a blast!
- Get Active
Get to steppin’…or cycling, walking, hiking or whatever fun and active adventure you and your sisters want to do! Pack a lunch and explore a new hiking trail in your area. This is a fun and inexpensive way to get everyone together for an afternoon activity. Or turn it into a weekend retreat and hike to an overnight camping spot. Great conversations are bound to spark on the trail.
If camping isn’t your group’s thing, then consider participating in a local 5k. A quick afternoon run with your sisters while sporting your sorority gear makes for a great bonding experience. Color runs are becoming popular all over the country and they add another level of fun to the run. Afterwards, make sure to indulge in a giant cheeseburger lunch with the ladies!
- Keep It Local
If you can’t get away for the weekend, think about meeting up for a few hours every month. Set up an evening to try out a painting class, hot yoga, comedy night or a fun local event/activity in your town. Take your alumnae’s busy work and family schedules into consideration. It may take a lot of back and forth to find a night that works for everyone, but the more the merrier! You never know until you try.
Don’t forget your school’s homecoming week. Homecoming week is full of fun events on and off campus. Between sporting events, scavenger hunts, campus tours, Greek life sponsored events, etc., homecoming week can turn into a fun staycation for alumnae and undergrads to connect!
- Set a Record
Now this may be the most fun idea of them all — and perhaps a way to make history. Who wants to set a Guinness World Record? Of course...you do! Get creative and think of the best record to set. Maybe a giant group hug? Human pyramid? Whatever you choose, it’ll be a fun thing to do as a group, and if executed correctly, it will go down in history! You will also need a shirt to commemorate the event to keep as a souvenir. You can even sell t-shirts to participants outside of your organization and give the proceeds going to your chapter’s philanthropy partner. Guinness World Records has an entire page set up to records catering to non-profits and charities.
The key is to get everyone involved in whatever event or activity you choose is to make it fun! It will already be memorable since you are spending the time with your sisters. Have any other fun retreat ideas? Let us know in the comments!