The Story Retreat is an essential part of the Known Collective experience. Coming together away from life’s everyday distractions to share their stories allows the women of the group to begin the process of letting each other into their lives. Starting mentoring groups this way builds authentic community and allows deep relationships to take root and grow throughout the mentoring season.
We’ve given you the tools and resources you need to facilitate this time with your group, but that doesn’t mean that doing it well can’t still be a little tricky. We believe strongly in community and sharing what we learn from our experiences and from other mentors. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help as you plan your Story Retreat. Whether you’ve led several of these retreats or are planning your first one, these insights can help ensure the success of this important time for you and your mentees.
- Start thinking about the where and when before your Kickoff Meeting with your mentees. If you can, bring a list of possible dates and places to your Kickoff Meeting so you aren’t trying to come up with ideas on the spot. Trying to fully plan this retreat with your mentees during the Kickoff Meeting can distract from everything else you have to cover in that initial meeting.
- Put together a loose plan ahead of time and share it with your mentees, so they know what’s in store. This plan doesn’t need to be set in stone but should offer a few highlights they can begin looking forward to. You may not have everything you need to share the loose plan at your Kickoff Meeting, but make sure to prepare your schedule and communicate it after securing your dates and location.
- Be prepared to go off plan if needed. While we supply you with all the material you need to lead this retreat well, we also know that things don’t always go according to plan. Remember that your focus for this retreat is to create a safe environment where women feel seen and heard when sharing their deepest parts. If you need to make a few tweaks to your homework or schedule to make that happen, that’s okay!
- Have fun! The idea of fun is easy to forget but essential to building camaraderie with your group. It can also help break the ice for mentees who may feel anxious about telling their stories early in the mentoring season. Making fun a priority here helps lay the groundwork for the community your mentees may want to build together outside your monthly meetings.
Now it’s your turn! If you’ve hosted a Story Retreat previously, I’d love to hear from you! What have you learned, and what would you say are some Story Retreat best practices?
Or, if you’re planning for an upcoming Story Retreat, what questions do you have? I’d love to hear them and help you navigate them. You can reply to this email or set up a time to talk here.
In your journal, answer this question, “When I think about myself, who I am as a person, how would I describe the real me?” Don’t filter it, just jot down the words that come to you, keeping it to less than ten. This is personal, so be absolutely honest with yourself. If you’re being truthful, there should be positive words and negative words.
Then pray and ask God to give you the words He would use to describe you, His beloved daughter. Beside each word you wrote down, write the word that came to you when you asked God for His descriptor.
Look at the contrast between the words and think about the difference between how you see yourself and how God sees you. What is one step you can take towards changing the way you think about yourself to be more aligned with what God thinks about you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross for me and, in doing so, paying my debt and inviting me into Your family. Because I’m Your beloved daughter, saved by Your grace, help me to live more aware of who You say I am. Help me to hear Your voice above the roar of this world and to know that You, who deems me worthy and loved, are always with me. Amen.
IF:Gathering created this fun pdf to help you get the conversation started no matter who you’re with. The first half of 50 Questions to Ask Your People is packed with questions that go surface-level deep, while the second part is designed to take your conversation deeper. So, no matter the level of friendship, they have questions to help your relationships grow. These can be great conversation starters to use during your Story Retreat. (You’ll have to make an IF:Gathering account to access, but it’s free!)
MAKING SPACE WITH HODA KOTB – MITCH ALBOM: WHAT WE CHOOSE TO CARRY IS ACTUALLY WHAT ENDS UP DEFINING US
In this podcast episode, journalist Hoda Kotb talks with Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, about the lessons he learned from Morrie that can help each of us live a richer and more purposeful life. Throughout the conversation, they connect on love, loss, and legacy. It’s a beautiful representation of how story shapes our lives.
“We don’t have to let what breaks our hearts destroy our lives.” While there’s no denying there are parts of our stories we’d love to edit out, what if those circumstances are the unlikely ingredients God uses to weave together a greater good we’d never want to miss out on? Lysa TerKeurst offers a fresh perspective on why the hard parts of our story are just as important as the easy parts in this encouraging article about sharing who we are with others.
Create safe environments where women can bring life's deepest questions.
Known Collective provides everything you need to implement a mentoring process to help women leave comparison at the door and enter a space where they can be real and engage in conversations that matter.