8 things to know about a Manitoba retreat

Kevin Penner

8 things to know about a Manitoba retreat
The key to a great Manitoba retreat experience is spending some time and investigate the options available. Here, experienced retreat leaders share 8 tips to help you make the most of a Manitoba retreat.

If you think a Manitoba retreat in a wilderness park setting is solely for advanced trendsetters you are mistaken. Just like any outing, there are retreats available with wide variety of options and its worth exploring. The key is spending some time upfront to find the right fit for you. Simple options like board games sprinkled with hot tub and sauna visits can hit the mark.  Others may turn to a more focused approach with classes holding Arts & Crafts instructors and weekend projects.  For the adventurous it might be tubing, rafting with a canoe or outdoor survival teacher.  For those looking spiritual, it might mean a quiet retreat with prayer, solitude and slowly walking the trail systems.  You have to ask yourself what you want to gain from the time, what is your theme?

“For myself and those who attend my retreats which are geared towards the active homemaker.  I like the experience to be inspirational and rejuvenating, not exhausting,” says Theresa Frey.  Theresa teaches “How To Make Your Own Kombucha” in Pinawa, Manitoba.  In addition to leading fermentation weekends, she has taught sewing and quilting classes in places as far away as Mexico. “Once you’ve scheduled the time to be away, you should make the most of it and really fill your jar.”

What is a Manitoba Retreat?  It’s one where you are removed from the Urban Jungle and placed into a park of wilderness panoramic views of Manitoba’s forest town and nature preserves.  Below are experienced retreat leaders that have been helping people for decades with their retreat decisions. Here, they share what they wish potential attendees would consider before making a retreat booking. These 8 tips will set you up to make the most of your Manitoba retreat.

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1. It's all about location, location, and location

This is critical. “If you are going on a retreat, you do not want to be stuck in a vehicle driving for hours, especially if it is just for the weekend.  Often you can find Retreat Centres in nature like settings about an hour outside of most cities.  You want it to be in a relaxed atmosphere with a host and facility that matches both yourself and the group you represent.  The center should be large enough to give everyone elbow room.  Generosity with meals and some flexible meal schedules often provide a very relaxed atmosphere.  Guest rooms with various room types can be a great way to meet the different needs of your group.  Meeting areas should be large enough to easily host your entire group and their activities” says Tina Johnson, owner and instructor at Retreat Centre in Aspen, Colorado.

2. You'll want to investigate what kind of Manitoba retreat you'll be doing

From watercolor painting, ceramic classes, wildlife photography to survival classes a Manitoba retreat run the gamut. Do some research to know what kind of classes are available. Theresa suggests looking for a program that keeps classes fresh, mixing mellow and restorative classes with more energetic ones.

3. Holding a Manitoba retreat where you are your own host

To save a bit of money you may be able to utilize talent from within your ranks and plan your own sessions or series of events.  These types of retreats can be fantastic and the secret to its success is all in the planning and use of creativity.  If this sounds like the kind of retreat you are looking for try downloading these free e-books, worksheets… written by the good folks at Wilderness Edge.  To get both a blueprint and a number of really good ideas to start as your base.  Here is a video that is a great example of a retreat planned by the organizers that really showcases this idea.

4. Two sessions per full day a good starting point

Just because you are going on a retreat, doesn’t mean filling up your entire day is what you plan to do. Bill Johnston, an instructor and retreat leader at TimBuckTwo, says one to two instructive classes or activities a day is a good starting point.  If you are planning a weekend event, like a Friday night to Sunday after Lunch you are generally run three to five sessions.

5. Down time is essential

The goal of a retreat is to get what you need and not overcommit. Bill says nothing is more empowering than picking your own schedule. Johnston recommends using downtime to nap, read or take a walk.

6. Challenge yourself to try something new during a Manitoba Retreat

Torben suggests people attend retreats even if they don’t know everyone because being out of your comfort zone is where the magic really happens. It also puts you in the position to meet new people and, possibly, make amazing lifetime friends.

7. It's worth it— a Manitoba retreat is worth a bit of a splurge

Instead of choosing the least expensive outing based on your budget, Torben recommends waiting and saving to go on a retreat that will be really special to you. It should be a meaningful experience and offer everything you need. Sometimes that costs more.

8. You'll need to get in the right mindset before you go

Look at a retreat as an opportunity to unplug. Tina says she doesn’t mind when students are making social media posts about the experience, but she likes people to unplug as much as possible—especially to avoid checking work email. Bill and Theresa encourage people to have an open mind and know that even that a seemingly simple shift has the power to change your life.

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Wilderness Edge is definitely an awesome place and you will not be disappointed

Elisha Vandor • Creator of “Camp Brock” video

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On behalf of our residency program, we wanted to extend our appreciation and thanks to you and your staff at Wilderness Edge for hosting us this weekend. We had a wonderful weekend, and you guys could not have been better hosts! Everything from the booking of the event, to the group check-out went so smoothly. You were exceptionally accommodating to our entire group, and we are so thankful. you truly went above and beyond to make sure that we had the best weekend possible. we will highly recommend the Wilderness Edge to other groups at the U of M!

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