Everything you need to know about
HOSTING A DRAGON SLAYERS RETREAT!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should you host a second grade sacramental retreat?
Research is clear that parental lives is the most powerful religious curriculum of all. If parishes are not reaching parents as part of their sacramental prep, they are missing a huge opportunity. Parents are called to be primary educators, not parishes, but parents are difficult to reach. We want to help you reach them! Most parents will bring their child in for preparation for First Communion, even if they are disengaged. THIS IS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD HOLY FAMILIES AND HELP THEM REDISOVER THE POWER OF RECONCILIATION AND THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST. Don’t miss it!
2. When are these retreats offered?
Most retreats take place on Saturdays or Sundays during the school year. The list of available dates can be found our schedule page. Contact us if you have a special request.
3. What is the Retreat structure?
The standard retreat is 2.5 hours without food or 3 hours if you offer food. Many parishes begin with a pizza party as parents/kids arrive (that is up to you).
So a typical schedule sample would be something like this:
11:00am-11:30am Parents/kids arrive, register, fun music, pizza
11:30am-12:30pm Dragon Slayers Live! (parents and kids together)
12:30pm-1:30pm Parents stay in main hall with John Wood for parent presentation. Catechists take children to classrooms for breakout sessions.
1:30pm-2:00pm Family Challenge, Gift bags, and Certificates (Parents and kids together)
4. What kind of facilities are needed?
We will need a large gym/hall/auditorium style room for the main part of the retreat. We highly encourage both parents to come, so you need a space big enough to accommodate 3 people per family. If you are having pizza, then tables may be necessary for food.
For the breakout sessions, you need atriums or classrooms for each group of kids. (If multiple parishes are attending, they should each get their own classroom(s). We recommend that if you have more than 20 kids in a class that you break them into smaller groups.)
Schools typically work well because they have a large gym or auditorium and many classrooms.
Note: Because of our sound system and props and decorations, we need access to the facility 2 hours before people arrive and for about an hour after the retreat to take stuff down. Please keep this in mind when booking the facility.
5. How many people can attend a retreat?
As many as your facility will allow. See question number 4 above regarding the need for a large hall and classrooms. We highly encourage parishes to work together and co-host so we can reach more parishes. If all weekends are taken, we will ask hosting parishes if they can accommodate any other parishes at their retreat.
6. What responsibilities/equipment does the parish need to provide?
A. Book the facilities for the day
B. Contact families inviting them to the retreat. One parent is required to attend with the child, but we HIGHLY recommend both parents. We provide you with a sample letter to get them excited and encourage them to both come.
C. Provide us with a roster of kids so we can order materials and begin making certificates before the retreat. (We need to order crucifixes AT LEAST one month before the retreat.)
D. Provide us the emails of the parents in electronic format before the retreat so that we can register them for the follow up 25 week Saints in the Making Family Email Challenge.
E. The parish is responsible for any food provided.
F. We need a screen or a white wall to project our power point presentation. We can provide our own sound system, projector, and computer.
G. A priest or deacon to bless the crucifixes. (Not required, but highly recommended). We normally do this after the 2nd hour, but we can also do it at the beginning of the retreat if that is when the priest is available. If a priest or deacon isn’t available during the retreat, the crucifixes can be blessed beforehand.
H. Catechists must be in attendance to work with the children during the second hour of the retreat. We provide you with multiple activity options (below) or you can do your own activities.
Activity options for catechists during hour two: (Click on each one to view video)
1. The Prodigal Son
2. Jesus is the Bread of Life (Water beads)
3. The Dragon Slayers Examination of Conscience
4. The Light of the World
(Note: These videos are from our virtual retreat and are only supplied here as examples for the catechists to watch to prepare. We recommend catechists do the activities themselves, not just play videos if possible. We provide materials for these activities if requested.)
7. What are the Costs?
We don't charge for the retreat, we only ask that you help us cover the cost of the gift bags that we give to the parents. These gift bags cost us $30 per family. (Here is a materials video showing the materials from the virtual retreat program. You can see how beautiful the crucifixes are! For live events, we order all this stuff for you and supply it, you dont have to do anything)
Here is a summary of the fundraising options for the materials for your parish to consider to help us cover these costs:
A. Consider hosting a one night event or mission at your parish(es) anytime throughout the year. I would come and do a presentation that is open to the public. I have spoken on a variety of topics and done many parish missions across the country. This event is no cost to the parish and we give you many marketing tools. (It can be repeated yearly with a different topic) At the end of the presentation, we would explain to the audience the impact the retreats are having, show them the materials we are getting into the hands of the parents, and pass a basket to give them an opportunity to make a donation towards these retreats.
B. Consider asking the local KofC to help sponsor these materials. John Wood is a KofC member and would be glad to come to a meeting to explain to them how these events build strong families and vocations. We could include a KofC brochure in the gift bag and we will encourage the men to join. It's a way of increasing membership for the local council (with young dads!) Here is a KofC video you can give to your local council to ask for support!
C. The parish is free to simply make a donation out of their budget to help cover the cost of $30 per child. Any donations should be made out to: Extraordinary Mission
8. What kind of follow-up do you provide?
A. We give an anonymous survey to every parent which gives us valuable information on where they are at in their spiritual journey and how we can help them.
B. We don’t just tell these parents to be primary educators and then leave them to fend for themselves. We follow up with them for 25 weeks with our Saints in the Making Family Challenge! (SAMPLE EMAIL) This challenge includes resources and ideas for the whole family with a weekly email. There are 4 tracks to this family challenge: Deep Roots for Parents, Dragon Slayers for kids, Sanctifeyed for middle school and teens, and Into the Breech for Men.
C. COMING SOON! We hope to offer summer Dragon Slayer camps, archery leagues, and more opportunities for families to spend time together and grow in holiness.
9. What if a child/family is unable to attend?
Sometimes conflicts happen or people get sick (or pandemics suddenly strike!). No worries. Families may join other area retreats, or we offer a virtual version of our retreat as well and give you all the tools necessary for a family to experience the retreat from home. Live retreats are always best, but if necessary, you can offer the virtual retreat option.
10. Can you do a live retreat for other grades?
While we have done the live Dragon Slayers presentation for multiple grades and entire elementary schools at once, the key to this program is reaching the parents. Having a yearly retreat during sacramental prep is the best way to make sure every family at your parish experiences this retreat. It is very difficult to require parents that are not in sacramental prep to attend, and we do require that at least one parent be present for the whole retreat. If you have a suggestion or special event request for us to consider, please let us know. Having said that, you may enroll any family in our virtual retreats at any time (or purchase a parish based subscription that makes it available to every family in your parish).
Other questions? Email email@example.com or call John at 419-619-7774