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Plan your own UUMEN Retreat!

The men of the 1st UU Church of Ann Arbor Michigan recently held their 3rd anuual UUMeN's Retreat.  This is a weekend event which began Friday October 18 and went through Sunday morning.  Here's the story:


Fly casting practice

The men, about 40 of them, were assign to 5 small groups called "lodges" upon arrival at the retreat site.  These groups are used for three small group meetings throughout the weekend.  A smaller group meeting allows men to form closer freindships and model the structure of a men's circle or group meeting.

Other elective activities included, Tai-Chi, discussion groups, workshops on didgeridoo making, fly fishing, and this year we had a kind of "primitive" theme, so we had fire-starting (the hard way!) and Atlatl making as well.

The food was done by the camp we stayed at so we didn't have to cook.  T-shirts designed and given to the men.  The total cost was $110.

One of the highlights of each day, of course, was the evening campfire.  We start off with a semi-serious ceremony.  The program includes poems, readings songs and ritual.  Saturday night each "lodge" had been asked to contribute a song or skit or whatever to the program and we had a trophy for the best performance.  We then close the formal campfire program with a nice ceremony and then the fun really begins.  Guys have drums, guitars, and VOICES.  We love to sing!  There was even some kinda strange TRIBAL dancing going on there...
The weekend finished off Sunday morning after breakfast with a Service.  The men were lined up by age, oldest first and marched down to the fire bowl.  Before being allowed in they are challenged by a "gatekeeper" and the elder (oldest guy).  The elder questioned them as to their intent to provide service to their community in the coming year.  If he was satisfied, you were allowed to pass.  I shudder to think of what would happen if he was not satisfied!  A moving Service was then given by a group leader and a group photo taken...  A wonderful fall weekend and the best damn bunch of guys you could imagine.
Here are some printed resources to help you plan your UUMeN's Retreat!

Click here for a Brochure used to advertise the retreat. (pdf)

Here is a schedule used to plan out the weekend (MS Word)

This is a more detailed retreat plan (MS Word)

Each man was given this retreat schedule when he arrived at the retreat (pdf)