A year to half-a-year ahead of time, we put together the year's schedule. Then we make reservations with the locations and reserve buses to take people there and back.
Closer to the time, we three facilitators work over several meetings to plan sessions that we hope are relevant, meaningful, and challenging. We discuss the theory behind what we're doing, look at feedback from the group on what interests them, consider our overall curriculum, brainstorm a variety of ways to approach the goals of the retreat, and finally piece it all together into nine hours of in-session programming. Then there's the work of putting together all the supplies needed for the selected activities and general useful things for the house. We track who will be able to attend (and, in some cases, for how long) and make final payments with the retreat center.
Then, the night before, comes the funnest part: buying snacks!
I thought it was funny to see how much snack food (junk and otherwise) we got for the ~70 people coming to this weekend's retreats. Wow - that's a lot of food in my book!
We provide three meals at the retreat center; but I quickly learned as a RAPP member (and had reinforced as a facilitator) the importance of having snacks to keep people going through the long hours - especially knowing that some never go to sleep.
Hidden amongst that pile of food, of course, is a lot of Oreos! :)