Guide for Event Planning

 

Dance camps and retreats, be they a weekend event or a week-long experience, embody Murshid Samuel Lewis’ (Sam’s) vision of communities gathering to Eat, Dance, and Pray together. Our experience has been that a retreat of in-depth dancing changes lives and awakens the camp community to our depths in unity. This spiritual value is most accessible when the logistical and organizational aspects of the camp do not get in the way. Careful planning and preparation is necessary to ensure that the purpose in being together is fully realized.

 

There are many considerations in planning a retreat, and here you will find tips for planning a retreat which include selecting a facility and a checklist of basic steps that can be implemented in a systematic order to plan and carry out a retreat.

 

Depending upon the scope of what you are planning, there are a variety of ways to organize and delegate the work to be done. The following lists some possible positions Oneness Project has used that are included on the checklist. Variations may be needed to suit specific retreats.

 

  • Camp Director – carries the spiritual vision of the content, program and inspiration of the event
  • Camp Manager – builds the organization needed to fulfill the logistical and personnel needs of presenting the retreat, before and during the camp/retreat, as well as clean up and post-retreat evaluations
  • Events committee or Dance Group – fulfill specific fiduciary and planning roles
  • Registrar – tracks registration, maintaining accurate database, responsible for addressing questions of registrants, collecting registration fees, interfacing with all camp staff, children’s program director, and the cook, helping prepare retreat space, greeting registrants as they arrive, sending refunds after camp, etc.
  • Children’s Program Director - Plan and direct a children’s program for a diverse group of children, coordinating with Dance leaders and karma yogis to integrate program with the adult camp
  • Karma Yoga Assistant - Work with Registrar and Camp Manager to pre-assign karma yoga positions from registration information, and monitor the KY operation, assisting with problems that may arise.
  • Shuttle Coordinator - Under direction of registrar, set up shuttle schedule; communicate with shuttle registrants prior to and during camp – this may fall under the role of registrar, also.
  • Bookstore Manager – Set up bookstore, track inventory, take in money, and collect 10% tithe from bazaar vendors.

 

Appendices are included after the checklist that offer sample schedule, contracts, registration forms and budgets for a retreat. More information of this type is available from the Oneness Project office; please feel free to contact us with your questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Checklist

When

Task

Notes

Who

6-12 months

Plan Event

Intention, venue, staff, programming, date – See information on Planning a Retreat that follows the checklist...

Interested parties or Dance group

 

Develop Budget

Include venue and staff expenses, travel, scholarships, food, children’s program, advertising, etc. may include work exchange, set up bank account

Committee or Manager

 

Select Staff

Spiritual Elder, Director, Management, Registrar, Dance Leaders, Assistants, Musicians, Counselor, Facilities/Tent Boss, etc.

Committee or Manager

 

Rent venue

Secure with deposit, check out regulations, contact person, distance to medical assistance, etc.

Event Manager or Director

 

Housing

Check out options on site or off site –cabins, tenting, hotels, local home stay

Registrar

 

Insurance

Camp Liability Policy (Note: Oneness Project can assist you in identifying a source for insurance, if you need one)

Manager

 

Design flyer

Print copies and post on web

 

 

Advertise

Regional publications, send out flyers to Dance circles, post work exchange positions, application dates, late registration, and refund policy

Registrar or ?

 

Set up registration

Online registration site and means to track incoming registration, deposits

Registrar

3-6 months

Hire Cook

Sign contract. Plan menu with cook, send deposit 2-3 months before camp

Manager

 

Conference Call

Include staff and management, clarify roles, needs, and vision. Budget review. Discuss medical emergency procedures/plan.

Manager set up

 

Staff Contracts

Send out to all paid staff

Manager

 

Medical and Guardianship Forms

Send out to all parents registering children

Registrar

 

Fragrance Free?

Order supplies for participants to use at the retreat

 

1-2 months

Conference Call

Include staff and management, clarify roles, needs, and vision. Budget review.

Manager set up

 

Work exchange and scholarships

Assign awards

Manager and Registrar

 

Karma Yoga

Design spaces for needed assistance; worked out with cook, children’s staff, and camp manager

KY Assistant or Registrar

 

Children

Submit list of children with contact info to Youth Camp Director

Registrar

 

Children’s Supplies

Submit list of needed supplies and snacks and rough plan for the week

Children’s Program Director

 

Welcome Letter

To registrants with specific details about camp

Registrar

2 weeks

Conference Call

Include staff and management, clarify roles, needs, and vision – design schedule for week/weekend

Manager

 

Cook Update

Updated number of registrants to cook

Registrar

 

Shuttles

Coordinator contact campers regarding flight updates and pick up schedule

Shuttle Coordinator

 

Logistical planning

Develop plan for setting up camp – checking camp/cleanliness, plan arrival/greeting, Dance space/tent, white board, bulletin boards, suggestion boxes, install fragrance free supplies, plan orientation meeting

Manager

 

Assign housing

Final assignments

Registrar

 

Design KY Chart

Positions for everyone; may have prior preference requests from registrants

KY Assistant or Registrar

 

Contracts & Forms

Review to see all are in, staff, work exchange, children’s forms

Registrar & Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Prior

Check in with venue manager

Check out space, equipment, regulations, cleanliness, meet cook, etc.

Manager

 

Staff arrives

Orientation, bonding, organize vision for the week, prepare camp for arrivals the next day, assign tasks

Director

 

Set up Office

Printer if needed, supplies, etc.

Registrar

 

Decorate

Dance Hall/Tent, dining hall, etc.

Staff or KY help

At Camp

Registration

Greet campers as they arrive, give housing assignments, KY, schedule, name tags, answer questions, adjust housing/KY as needed

Manager, Registrar, KY Assistant

 

Orientation

Full Camp, first night or next morning.

Manager & Director

 

Bookstore

Set up – everyday? Times

w/e position

 

Bazaar

Designate day/time/place, tithing forms, collect tithes

Bookstore Manager

 

Staff Meetings

Scheduled by Camp Director/Manager, include program staff and management

Director/Manager

 

Roster

Print current roster for each participant

Registrar

Close

Evaluation Forms

Put out final morning or at end of event

Manager

 

Registration Table

Pack up, put away

Registrar

 

Clean Up

Each Cabin’s Inhabitants, Tent Spaces, Facilities – provide checklist for each

Manager and KY Assistant Design

 

Shuttles

Coordinate airport trips

Shuttle Driver

 

Final Walk Through

With Facility Staff

Manager

 

Lost and Found

Pack up, keep 2-3 months to mail as requested

Registrar

 

Children’s Supplies

Inventory and pack up

Children’s Staff

 

Pay Facility, Staff, Cook

As per contracts, collect receipts for travel expenses

Manager/Staff

Post Camp

Review Evaluations

Director, Manager, Registrar, Staff, Committee

May have conference call

 

Refunds

Mail out, minus fee, within 30 days

Registrar

 

Budget

Review income and expenses

Manager, Director, Registrar, Dance Group/Committee

 

Next Year?

Begin planning

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendices

Dance Retreat Facility, Budget, Sample Staff Contract

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dance Retreat Facility

 

  • The Facility
  • Facility Agreement
  • Housing

 

The Facility

The facility is one of the most important parts about planning a successful event. Use the questions below in evaluating a possible facility and review each of the topics appropriate for the event. This list is oriented toward renting a building, but many of the same concepts apply to renting a retreat center, a campground, or other event space.

 

  1. When evaluating a new facility, contact the facility and get the name of a contact person you can work with. Make an appointment to see the facility. The questions below may be useful during the tour.
  2. Parking -- Where do guests park? Is there enough parking for the number of people attending the event? What is the walkway like between the parking and the facility? Is there adequate lighting in the parking area?
  3. Entrances & Exits -- Are there lots of steps to enter the facility? Will it be difficult for seniors who may be attending? Look at the access, entryway, doors, hallways, and any other aspects of the facility to make sure there are adequate handrails.
  4. Coat Storage -- Is there a coat room? Are there enough hangers? Consider buying extra plastic hangars and leave them with the facility.
  5. The Dance space – is it large enough for the number of people who will attend? Can dancers easily dance in a circle, or will an oval be necessary? Is the space clear of posts? Is the flooring soft enough for dancing? Concrete o r linoleum floors are okay for short dances, but padding is needed for longer events. Are there chairs that can be put around the outside of the room for sitting? How many lights are there, and can they be controlled easily? What kind of air conditioning or heating systems are available, and may they be adjusted? Is there room for an altar? What noises do you hear – are there businesses nearby, airports, railroads, or freeways that are noisy?
  6. Kitchen – The kitchen is another very important part of the dance event; make sure to find out as much as possible about the kitchen. If an outside cook is being hired and she/he cannot see the facility, then a survey of what equipment is available is very important. Also consider taking pictures of the kitchen to share with your cook. If possible, make arrangements for the cook to see the kitchen. Is there a walk-in cooler and freezer space? What cleaning supplies are used and provided? Brooms, mops, towels, paper towels? Dumpsters – when is garbage day?
  7. Other Rooms – Look to see what other rooms are available, and what kind of furniture is available. Will you be teaching classes, or will you divide those attending into various groups? One common use is for a Children’s Program. Make sure that sound from the Children’s Program into the main Dance area won’t be a problem.
  8. Security – For events more than one night, can the musicians safely leave their instruments in the facility? Who else has access to the building while you will be using it?
  9. Ambiance – Are there windows or sources of natural light? Is it possible to decorate the space with banners or other emblems from the Dances of Universal Peace? What is the space used for most often – sometimes the resonance of other activities hang over a space and either enhance it or perhaps degrade its potential use as a sacred dance hall.

 

 

 

 

The Facility Agreement

Rental requirements – Ok, the place looks like it will work, and you’re interested in renting. What’s next?

  1. Cost – what does the facility cost? What are their terms (how much is the deposit, when do you make the rest of the payment, is a personal check okay). Notes on cost – be sure to ask for a non-profit rate, make sure that they know what group you are with. Some facilities will allow you to pay a base rate plus a rate for each person, and that can really help save money. Don’t hesitate to ask for a discount if money is an issue. You may have to change your dates to a time that is slower for the facility, but if it is really a special place, it might be worth it!
  2. Schedule – Is the facility available for the dates you want? What is happening the day before, during, and the day after that you night need to know about?
  3. Timing – When can you have access to the building? When and how do you do check-in and check-out, and who do you contact?
  4. Keys – How do you get the keys? Who is responsible for opening and closing?
  5. Insurance – What are the requirements?
  6. Contract – Does the facility have a contract that they want signed? Be sure to ask for a copy in advance, and read it, and call back with questions if there are parts that you don’t understand.
  7. Security Deposit – How much is the deposit? How do you get it back? What requirements are there, and how long does it take to get your deposit back?
  8. Cleaning supplies – what supplies does the facility provide, and who is responsible to clean?
  9. Caretaker – is there an on-site caretaker? Find out where he/she/they live and how to contact them. When will they routinely come by, and what will they be doing? What hours do they want to be contacted, and when do they want to be left alone?
  10. Facility Emergency Contact – Find out who to contact in case of a facility emergency. Post multiple copies of this information throughout the event, including the kitchen. Often this can be as simple as not knowing how the dish machine works or where to locate a light switch.
  11. Supplies – Who is responsible to provide trash can liners, toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies?
  12. Cleaning – The cleanliness of a facility is a big issue at most events. There is a wide range of feelings on whether a facility is clean or not, either before or after an event, and making sure that there are clear expectations in this area is important. Especially when people are traveling for a weekend or longer event, the last day can leave the organizers with a big job to do, and not enough people to do it. On the other hand, DUP groups are very respectful, and for several of the facilities that we rent, our history of leaving the place cleaner than we found it has been a big part of our success in being welcomed back.
  13. Checklists before and after the event – Larger facilities such as retreat centers and lodges often have a checklist used at opening and closing. The checklist can be used to determine whether part of the deposit is refundable, so it is worth paying close attention. A walk-through with a representative at the beginning of the event and again at closing is an important item to be added to the schedule. It is best to have the same person open and close from both the facility and the dance organization, as the evaluation is subjective.
  14. Check Out – One of the areas that the checklist covers refers to damage before and after the event. Some wear and tear is inevitable, but damage that happens during the event needs to be identified. A discussion about this is appropriate with the caretakers during check-in to find out their level of concern and attention to detail. Use the checklist to comment on general cleanliness in each area. Pay attention to whether the floors have been mopped or vacuumed. Find out where the cleaning supplies are, and who is responsible to replace them and when. Are supplies provided to clean the kitchen?
  15. Leaving the Facility – Some facilities need to have chairs taken down and put back at the end of the event. If those closing the event are not those opening, make sure that the facility contact at closing knows how the facility is to be arranged upon leaving. Some groups have done a simple sketch of where tables and chairs were arranged when they came in, and then the sheet was left with those closing.

 

Housing

Retreats and camps may vary greatly in the housing needed and available, ranging from home stays with local dancers to cabins, tenting, or hotel facilities. Look into what is available where you are holding the retreat, and be sure to include clear information regarding this on your flyer.

 

  1. Home stays – Get a clear count of what may be offered by local families, such as number of rooms, sizes of beds, available bathrooms. Clarify with locals what their expectations are – bring a sleeping bag or sheets, breakfast is to be provided, who cleans up, are expenses reimbursed – by whom? Communicate these specifics to the registrants.
  2. Cabins – Inspect first and note numbers of beds, electrical outlets and lighting, and privacy. How close are the bathrooms and showers? How many cabins are available and how will you break down assignments – women, men, late night folks, families, quiet. Are they handicap accessible?
  3. Camping – What is the area like? Is it flat? How large may the tents be? Are there hook ups for RVs – with electricity and/or sewer? Are there bathrooms and showers nearby? How many can the space accommodate?
  4. Hotels – Which ones are close by? Do they offer a group rate/discount? What are the rates? Are they within walking distance?

 

A sample camp budget and contract appears below. Oneness Project hopes this Guide to Event Planning is helpful to you. If you need more information or have specific questions contact us at www.onenessproject.com.

 


Sample Dance Camp Budget

 

Income

Days

People

@

Sub-Total

Total

 

Program Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adults-Full Price

 

19

 

 

 

 

Adults-Late Price

 

38

 

 

 

 

Teenagers

 

9

 

 

 

 

Children

 

0

 

 

 

 

Support Staff ½ fee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Adult Camp

 

10

 

 

 

 

Bazaar Tithes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Program Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scholarships

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Grant Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses

Days

People

@

Sub-Total

Total

 

Food & Lodging

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campers & Staff

7

112

 

 

 

Lodging and 3 meals

Children

7

4

 

 

 

Adults (12+): $___/day

Pre-camp setup

1

20

 

 

 

Kids 4-11 $__ Kids 0-3 Free

Total Food & Lodging

 

116

 

 

 

 

Dance Tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tent transportation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site Prep

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Dance Tent Expense

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Honoraria

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Staff Expense

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children's Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Children's Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Expense

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shuttle Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misc. Camp, Office Supplies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fragrance Free, Snoring Supplies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Administrative

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

NET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROGRAM STAFF

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title/Position

Name

Salary

Travel

Camp Fee

# Staff

 

Spiritual Elder

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Director

 

 

 

 

1

 

Dance Leading Staff #1

 

 

 

 

1

 

Dance Leading Staff #2

 

 

 

 

1

 

Dance Leading Staff #3

 

 

 

 

1

 

Children's Program Director

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

Total fee paid

 

 

 

 

 

Support Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musician

 

 

 

 

1

 

Musician

 

 

 

 

1

 

Camp Counselor

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

Total fee paid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAMP MANAGEMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title/Position

Name

Salary

Travel

Camp Fee

# Staff

Notes

Camp Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Manager

 

 

 

 

1

 

Assistant Mgr/KY Coordinator

 

 

 

 

1

 

Registrar

 

 

 

 

1

 

Tent Boss

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Exchange

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Prep #1

 

 

 

 

1

 

Kitchen Prep #2

 

 

 

 

1

 

Kitchen Prep #3

 

 

 

 

1

 

Tent Crew/Close Down

 

 

 

 

1

 

Tent Crew/Close Down

 

 

 

 

1

 

Tent Crew/Close Down

 

 

 

 

1

 

Tent Crew/Close Down

 

 

 

 

1

 

Bookstore/Bazaar Manager

 

 

 

 

1

 

Children's Program Assist

 

 

 

 

1

 

Shuttle Coordinator

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 ½ Fee Positions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Expenses

½ Fee Positions

 

 

 

 

 

    

Full Paid Positions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sample Staff Contract

 

 

Dear __________________,

 

We are pleased to write to establish our mutual agreement for your role as Camp Manager for _____________, presented by ____________ and taking place _____________ at ____________________.

 

1.      As Camp Manager we ask that you assist the director in creating the budget for camp and defining the camp personnel structure, including work exchange positions, needed to implement the camp. We ask you to provide leadership and coordination of the program and management staff to structure, manage and implement a well-coordinated, efficient and heart-centered camp experience for all. 

 

2.      We will waive your camp fee and pay you $____ plus reimburse $____ for travel and expenses for your services as Camp Manager. Please save all receipts to submit after the camp.

 

3.      We mutually agree that if overall enrollment levels require the camp to be cancelled we will give you at least two weeks notice of our intent to cancel the camp and this agreement will then be void.

 

4.      You agree while at camp to observe the safety rules prescribed necessary for the protection of personnel, participants and property.

 

5.      You agree not to assign, sublet, or transfer this agreement without the previous consent of __________.

 

We are very pleased to have you on the staff of Wilderness Camp this year!

 

I HAVE READ THE ABOVE TERMS AND FIND THEM ACCEPTABLE.

 

 

____________________________________       ____________________

Signature                                                                Date

 

THIS AGREEMENT IS ACCEPTED FOR BY:

 

_____________________Camp Director

           

_____________________Camp Manager