Advance with a Retreat!

It’s back!

“The life changing event for Leaders of Volunteers, the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management is bigger and better than ever!
The Retreat is the leading annual educational and professional development opportunity for volunteer program managers who feel they are past the ‘basics’ of their profession and are seeking new challenges. A world first, the Retreat is valued by hundreds of Managers of Volunteers who say it was the most significant learning experience of their career.
2013 marks the seventh time the Retreat has been held after previous events in Canberra (2005), Brisbane (2006), Hobart (2007), Gold Coast (2009), Adelaide (2010) and Wellington (2011). This year we return to Australia and look forward to hosting the Retreat in the amazing city of Sydney.
The 2013 Retreat will be held at the Novotel Brighton Beach in Sydney from March 20 – 22, and will feature a faculty featuring Retreat Founders Andy Fryar and Martin J Cowling, joined by international guest faculty member Sue Jones (UK) and international guest presenter Tony Goodrow (Canada).”

Ah ..the Retreat.

So many memories. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 8 years since I went to the first one. Ive been to every retreat bar one. There are reasons why I keep going back. In my opinion the Retreat is what you make of it. It’s up to you. You can sit back and watch it all pass by or you can actively participate. And that’s the beauty of the Retreat. It gives you to chance to become involved, to share your experiences, to learn and to share your learning with others. Unlike a conference it is an intimate experience. Group work, sharing knowledge and light bulb moments are there for the taking. Here are some of the things I have taken away from the Retreat:


Ive had the opportunity over the years to see some great presenters in action. Andy Fryar, Susan J Ellis, Martin Cowling, Jayne Cravens Linda Graf, Rick Lynch and Rob Jackson, Liz Scarfe and Meg Webb to name just a few. After missing New Zealand I unfortunately missed out on seeing Sue Kobar and Claire Teal. All people who make a significant contribution to the sector. They have shared their learning and inspired many.


At the first Retreat I came across great people whom I still have contact with. Attendees who have gone on to be leaders and champions of Volunteer Management. I discovered AAMOV and the people who volunteer to advance our sector. Their work is ongoing today and the retreat gives you the opportunity to mingle with people who are passionate about volunteer management and volunteerism itself.

Learning through discussion and debate:

The retreat gives us the opportunity to have a say about the direction of our profession. We may not always agree or see eye to eye but it is a safe forum for debate and analysis. No voice is unheard. No opinion is ignored. We learn so much from others. At the Retreat so much valuable information is condensed into three days.


The Retreat is always a great place to reflect. To reflect on your own career as well as reflecting on the sector itself.


If you allow it, the Retreat can give you that boost to go back to your own job with renewed energy and optimism. I have experience this myself. Several times!

Professional Development:

The first retreat gave me the confidence to make some serious changes in my own professional life. I have not looked back since. I have been a guest faculty member twice and I have seen how the retreat has given inspiration and confidence to many.


And there’s a bit of that too. But Ive made it a rule not to sing Danny Boy again after the first Retreat in Canberra. The organizers work hard to ensure there is a good balance between all of the above.

I am looking forward to the next retreat in Sydney with its theme being “Leading Impact- How Volunteer Managers Build Success”.

I am particularly looking forward to seeing Sue Jones in action. Sue is doing some incredible work for the sector in the UK and looks like a great choice for the next faculty! And Tony Goodrow from Canada is an exciting guest presenter too to top it off!
I hope to see some of you there in March 2013. Let’s keep working together to advance our sector at the Retreat!


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