Yearly Forum Retreats create some of the deepest bonds between Forum members, but the lead up to the retreat is also the number one time of the year when Forum members tend to leave a Forum. This is because, for some people, it’s easy to commit to 3-4 hours once a month. But if a retreat is overnight and 2-4 days long, each individual Forum member starts to weigh the value of the Forum against what they could be doing with those 2-4 days. In short, retreat attendance shows REAL commitment.
Members dropping out prior to a retreat causes an issue because many times, the costs of the retreat (housing, experiences, speakers, etc) need to be pre-paid and are non-refundable. If a Forum pre-pays for eight people and one person drops out, the Forum is SOL on covering those costs for the member who is leaving.
To counter this concern, it’s a smart idea to have everyone pre-pay for the retreat 45 days ahead of time. The payment for the retreat is non-refundable. That way, if someone does choose to drop out, they do so before they pay for the retreat, and before the Forum pays for anything for the retreat. This pre-payment makes it fair for everyone in case someone is on the fence about leaving or not.