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Tips for Small Group Leaders

Be Personal and Friendly

œ   Learn the retreatants’ names

œ   Interact with your small group during down time

œ   Interact with other retreatants during down time

œ   Establish an interest in retreatants’ lives

œ   Find common links and use them to develop a good relationship of trust

 Allow the Retreatants to Grow and Learn

œ   Use personal examples to show retreatants what kind of answer or discussion you desire, but do not take over

œ   Though it is tempting to share lots of personal stories, please don’t

œ   Let your youth talk

œ   Rephrase questions or redirect questions if you think they might yield better responses

œ   Be patient with retreatants, they may not be used to sharing personal things in a small group or going on retreats, period

œ   Be open to different avenues for the retreatants to grow and learn, even if it isn’t what you expected or wanted

 Maintain Boundaries

œ   Be friendly, but not too friendly

œ   Avoid sharing overly personal stories

œ   Use common sense when determining if some action is appropriate or not

œ   Maintain age boundaries as well as gender boundaries

Be True and Cool, Not Compromising and Popular

œ   You are there to be true to the retreatants, sharing the truth about faith, God and the Catholic Church, not to be popular and well-liked

œ   But this doesn’t mean you can’t be cool—definitely stay cool and act cool while being a small group leader

œ   At the same time, don’t hesitate to discipline if it seems necessary

œ   Retreatants will respect an adult who enforces rules even if they don’t like the rules

œ   Be consistent when enforcing a rule—keep enforcing it, even if the retreatants don’t respond

 Establish a Positive Environment

œ   Redirect negative comments to other discussion topics

œ   Encourage small group members to respect each other as well as you

œ   Find ways to make the retreatants have fun

œ   Don’t tolerate name-calling, put-downs, or even passive behavior like eye-rolling or angry sighs

œ   Your job is try to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to have a great time at the retreat

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