What being #1 on Google for Retreat Facilitation Has Taught Me

To be clear, I didn’t set out to be the top ranked for “retreat facilitation” on Google.

So I was pretty surprised a few years ago when thevargagroup.com organically became the top ranked site when you search “retreat facilitation” on Google. 

After all the paid ads, thevargagroup.com is #1. 

Because of this, I get loads of emails and inquiries from all around the world.

Here’s What I Know as a Retreat Facilitator

Here’s what I know as a retreat facilitator, and what I wish more leaders understood.


Great retreats are part of something bigger

Retreats should be part of a larger planning, changement management or training process. A one time gathering won’t change what you’re trying to change or teach what you’re trying to teach.


Great retreats are purpose-full

Until a group knows what they are trying to accomplish, even the most skilled facilitator can’t help 

Great retreats start long before anyone gathers

Taking the time to build engagement and buy-in before the retreat and attend to all the logistical details ensures that the time during the retreat will be fruitful, productive and positive.


Great retreats strengthen relationships

Building trust and relationship is always a key goal of gathering – and sometimes is the only goal.

Great retreats are focused

Groups always want to accomplish too much or have too many goals they want to achieve during a retreat. Zeroing in one one or two key goals or questions you want to explore or answer is a big key to a retreat’s success.


Great retreats are facilitated by an expert

When you hire a seasoned facilitator to lead your retreat, everyone on your team is freed to participate as an equal. Skilled facilitators make facilitation look effortless but are actually using a combination of deep listening and dynamic interactive activities.

high five icon

Great retreats are fun

People learn best when they are engaged and having fun. Making sure there’s plenty of laughter and joy in the midst of important work is essential.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose sight of the big-picture thinking needed to move your organization forward. 

Retreats can help you take a necessary step back — creating a powerful opportunity to come together as a team, strengthen relationships and focus on your most important goals.

Amy Varga

Amy Varga


Since 2013, Amy Varga and her team at The Varga Group have worked with over 100 higher education institutions, independent schools and nonprofits to help them raise more than $200M. The Varga Group team helps organizations grow their fundraising, train their board, coach their leaders and successfully navigate their capital and comprehensive campaigns. The Varga Group is based in Portland, Oregon and works with clients nationwide.

Ready to talk about a retreat or training for your team?
Send me a note and let’s talk!