Are you tasked with planning the new member retreat? If you are the New Member Educator – we are sure you are feeling the pressures of not only planning the overall new member program, but also a memorable new member retreat. Well, we want to give you some ideas on what to include and think about as you are planning this event.
The main goal of this retreat should be to bond sisters together. Sisterhood is an important aspect of every sorority and the retreat is an ideal time to get the newest members to form these connections with other new members and initiated members. The new member retreat is also a great time to show new members that sororities are not only about going to meetings and events, but a time to build lasting memories and to have fun!
Bonding for new members. Though new members already have some shared memories; like Bid Day and eventually initiation. Planning time for the new members to bond in other ways is important. Here are a few activities to consider for your new members:
- A Game. This can be anything from capture the flag to twister. The game should allow sisters to join teams with sisters they don’t talk with every day or a game that allows sisters to let their hair down and have fun!
- Positive Words. Who doesn’t like to hear positive things about themselves? This is a chance for new sisters to start with some positives, not only about themselves, but to express to others. For example, a sister could tell another that she sees her as a true leader or that she thinks she is a great sister because she goes out of her way for others, etc. To save time you could have everyone write their name on a blank piece of paper and pass them around for their sisters to comment on. There are a ton of ways you could tweak this for your specific need.
- Circle time. This may sound corny, but it is a great bonding tool. We have seen many new member classes benefit from allowing each new member the chance to share a story. This story can be as personal as the new member wishes and often these stories allow sisters to connect on a deeper level.
Bonding between initiated and new members. Yes, it is the new member retreat, but your chapter will benefit from inviting the initiated sisters to be a part of this event. We often hear that chapters are having a hard time getting the two groups together and to get to know one another. Take advantage of this time and help build connections.
- Songs, Chants and Cheers. Allow some time for the older sisters to teach their new sisters some of your sorority’s songs. The initiated members should begin to pass down traditions – traditions in which bring sororities and chapters together and back to their history.
- Games. More games can’t hurt. It may sound childish, but a good ol’ game can be the ticket to get the ladies to loosen up. Tie in your sorority’s history into a spin-off game of Jeopardy or Amazing Race.
We are willing to bet that if you plan the new member retreat with bonding as the main goal, you will get the results you are looking for. If your chapter has some traditional activities and they contribute to the new member program, then by all means keep them. If you need some new ideas, think of ways you can foster true sisterhood among your members.
What activities does your chapter incorporate at the new member retreat?
Casey, Kate & Rachel
© 2012, Sorority Ever After™. All rights reserved.