Every retreat should have a hospitality table where women can find items needed to make their retreat experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Women forget to pack essential items and things that they didn’t realize they would need, and we try to anticipate those items to have them available. We have our table of supplies in the back of the meeting space and during announcements, we point it out so women will know it is there.
After every retreat, we store unused supplies until the next year, when we replenish and expand our offerings, according to need.
We have miscellaneous items available, including umbrellas, pens, toothbrushes, Kleenex, etc. But from my observation, here are the six most popular items to have available at your hospitality table:
#6 -Earplugs – you can purchase these very cheaply, and they may help some ladies have a good night’s sleep in an unfamiliar setting with roommates.
#5 -Toiletries (of course) in sample sizes in case your women left home without them. If you retreat at a hotel, the hotel provides some of these things (shampoo, soap, etc.), but if you are in a camp-style venue, you need to have supplies such as shampoo/conditioner, soaps, toothpaste, lotions, etc.
#4-Feminine care products – this goes without saying. Women come unprepared!
#3- Throws – Venues are normally kept cool (even in the warmer months), which is acceptable for the majority of your women, but others will be uncomfortable and distracted because they are cold. If we could offer something for the middle-aged ladies who run hot, we would!
#2-Basic medical supplies – Tylenol and Ibuprophen, antibiotic creams, bandaids and throat lozenges are a must. If you are in a more rural setting, bug spray, Benedryl and calamine lotion may be indicated. We have even had pain relief patches available in our more recent retreats.
#1. Can you guess what #1 is? CHOCOLATE! Are you surprised? We always provide mints, hard candies, and small chocolates. Chocolates disappear first!