Tag: coach’s wife

Pursue Retreat Recap

Pursue Retreat Recap

Pursue Retreat Recap

We’re just a few days past our first Pursue Coaches’ Wives Retreat and I’m so thankful for how smoothly everything went! I knew we were in good hands partnering with Illini Land FCA because we’ve attended other events that Liz has put together. Regardless, it’s one thing to attend an event and quite another to work together to put the details together, get the word out, prepare the talks for sessions and everything else that goes on behind the scenes.

If you’ve never put together a retreat your head may be spinning, so I thought I’d give you a recap of some of the behind-the-scenes things we did to prepare for our first retreat and a few things we’re already doing to prepare for next year.

Preparation

Before the retreat, we had a lot of different things to figure out. Thankfully, many of them were quick because of previous relationships our FCA group has with local venues. We knew which hotel set up would be best and we also knew the window of time we were looking at which narrowed our weekends down considerably.

Once our date was set (January 31-February 1) we needed to figure out a lot of the details:

  • Colors
  • Theme, Verse, Name
  • Design
  • Schedule and Format for sessions
  • Speakers
  • Promotion
  • Vendors
  • Extra activities
  • Food
  • Cost and what would cost include

Thankfully we had a small team and we were on the same page about things, When we needed to make decisions we could do so quickly. We also chose to keep things simple. For example. Rather than worrying about creating a program with outlines, we opted to provide people with a custom spiral notebook. They will get a lot more use out of the notebook and it was a lot easier for us in the long run. Liz created personalized name tags for each attendee which included the sessions they signed up for on Saturday. This reduced confusion significantly and was a very welcoming touch.

Another way we chose to make things easier is that we opened a block of hotel rooms, but left reservations up to registrations. They were free to stay at the hotel or make other arrangements. Regardless, we didn’t have to deal with pairing up roommates or figuring out who was staying at the hotel.

This also kept registration costs much lower. Our registration costs included the event, t-shirt, journal, pen, dinner, snacks, and a sundae bar. Breakfast was provided by the hotel and the event ended by lunchtime so our guests we fed well the entire time they were with us.

One thing we thought of late was a group discount. That will happen right away next year.

Promotion

This was the most challenging and frustrating part in many ways. Social media algorithms are a beast to battle but we were doing so over the holidays which made it even more challenging. We created videos, a Facebook event, and promoted the event and website link on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and through Email.

We shared about the event in targeted Facebook groups, Instagram stories, tagged people, we even did a registration giveaway. With all that, we still had people the week of the event who were hearing about things for the first time. (sigh)

The lesson I learned for next time: You can never promote enough. Just keep sharing and sharing and sharing. The Illini Land FCA team had a Facebook Header and I think that would have been a good thing for us to switch out on our pages. Next year we will hopefully have more people help us promote as well since we have previous attendees.

Pursue Retreat

Before the retreat, we also had several meetings to discuss different aspects of the sessions and to fine-tune our talks. Since the team was spread across 3 states this meant chatting over video calls, voxer, and a lot of emails.

On the day of the retreat, we divided our tasks into set up (thanks to Liz and Robbie for doing the majority of this work and making things look absolutely amazing) check-in, vendors, and making sure people were feeling welcome as they entered the event.

Thankfully women are pretty chatty and we didn’t have to do much to entertain women as they arrived but we were ready to make everyone feel welcome if needed! We also planned some activities to fill in the silent times that we didn’t end up using. We had an area for women to paint their nails, and another to spend time relaxing and coloring while they chatted.

Our schedule included group programming Friday night and breakout sessions on Saturday as well as a Q & A session. Everything was well-received, although I wouldn’t be surprised to hear women say they prefer more breakout options rather than the Q & A. We started Saturday morning with a lesson on the BOAT Bible Study method which is a great way to inductively study the Bible.

Preparing for Next Year

It’s hard to believe we’re already talking about next year but at the retreat questions were already coming my way about next year’s event. After a few days of rest, I sent a request to some of the team asking them to join me for a month praying about the word purse. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God has given me that word for 2020 and the thought I can’t seem to shake is that there are more Biblical lessons to learn around that theme.

One thing I know for sure is that God was present at our retreat and I am so incredibly thankful for all the ways he covered that weekend and brought the right group together for an awesome first retreat. I’m incredibly thankful for the leadership at Illini Land FCA who heard about a dream and kept it moving forward. And I’m excited to see all that will happen as this retreat continues to grow!

If you’re considering putting together a conference or event I encourage you to start by finding a team that believes in the same mission you are striving to accomplish. Find people who have different strengths than you but who also understands the vision you’re presenting. It’s important to have people who can unite around the same mission. But it’s also incredibly valuable to have a variety of strengths, gifts and experiences come to the table together.

Gift Ideas for the Coach’s Wife in Your Life

Gift Ideas for the Coach’s Wife in Your Life

gift ideas for the coach's wife in your life

It’s February which means it’s time to think about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your favorite coach’s wife! I’m a huge fan of meaningful gifts and I’m also a huge fan of creating amazing experiences like when Ordell recently surprised me with a getaway. But today’s post isn’t about my favorite things. Instead, I’m featuring some of my favorite people as well as some ideas you might want to consider as you hunt for gift ideas for the coach’s wife in your life.

Experiences

Dinner and a movie is always great, but what about checking to see what theatre? A high school theatre performance is a great way to support your local community and add variety to your date night.

Try a new restaurant, check out a concert, or consider something even more adventurous. One year for our anniversary I surprised Ordell with a date at the gun range. I hadn’t ever shot a gun before, and we haven’t been back to the range since, but going to the range together helped me learn about something that Ordell enjoys doing outside of football and we discovered that I’m actually a pretty good shot!

Coaches’ Wives Specific Gifts

Friday Night Wives has a great book written by Jordan Harrell that is a wonderful source of encouragement called 31 Days of Prayer for the Coach’s Wife as well as an adorable line of clothing including one of my favorite tshirts May Your Coffee Be Strong and Your Season Be Long

Fly Fox Apparel has this ADORABLE tote for all those game day necessities as well as the cutest mugs, home decor and apparel for the whole family.

Gifts

These journal planner pens are my favorite and they are the perfect addition to the gift of a journal, book, Bible, Bible study, planner, or even an adult coloring book.

Is your wife a health enthusiast? What about gifting her a new outfit from Zyia Activewear? This is a great way to tell her that you want her to feel confident and comfortable in this high-quality workout gear. You could pair this with a few online fitness and nutrition sessions with Caitlin Caserta owner of Confident Fitness

Plan for a Future Getaway

There are some amazing opportunities for you to invest in your marriage by attending a marriage conference. In addition to spending quality time together on Valentine’s Day surprise your wife with a future getaway. FCA has marriage retreats at different times of the year including one in May in Central, IL. Coaches Outreach hosts retreats all summer long over various weekends.

Regardless of how you spend valentine’s day make sure you spend part of the weekend together, even if that means hanging out on the sidelines of the basketball court or the wrestling mat.

Where Everybody Understands

Where Everybody Understands

AFCWA where everybody understands

Last weekend thousands of coaches and hundreds of their wives headed to Nashville, TN to attend the annual American Football Coaches’ Association Convention and American Football Coaches’ Wives Association Convention

I have been a member of the AFCWA for 15 years. I know this because I attended my first convention when I was pregnant with Elijah. It was in Louisville and Elizabeth Smart played the harp at the luncheon. This was also the year I met Carolyn Allen and discovered she is just as kind and down to earth as her book led me to surmise.

This used to be the one weekend where I knew no explanations were needed. Every year I would look forward to conversations that didn’t start with a lengthy explanation as well as multiple questions about football. It’s almost always been my experience when interacting with coaches’ wives at the convention they ask wise questions and receive experienced answers.

The advice is thoughtful and kind and generally without an agenda or judgement attached. Seasoned wives offer advice with the understanding that younger wives are scared. Many women learn their husbands loose their jobs while they are at convention. Many learn they are moving, others receive promotions and will return home to new responsibilities.

For me, this weekend was the only place where I was able to gather varied perspectives about the coaching life, receive encouragement, and connect with coaches’ wives in person I rarely see any other time of year.

The American Football Coaches Wives Association board members work very hard all year to connect with coaches’ wives around the country. They volunteer their time and the committment is for multiple years. It requires a financial committment to be present at the convention which isn’t cheap, so there is certainly a sacrifice. The board has expanded over the years, as have the sponsors. The impact of awarding a scholarship to a coach’s wife pursuing her education is one of the first things that led me to pay attention to AFCWA and I’m thankful I did because it connected me with some amazing women. I’m also thankful it continues to be an important part of AFCWA.

Much has changed in 15 Years

Over the past 15 years I’ve learned about multiple opportunities for coaches and coaches’ wives to get away, many of them much less expensive and MUCH more restful! If your husband is attending the AFCA convention I certainly encourage you to find the time to join him if you can. However, you should know you won’t see your husband much if at all.

These conventions run parallel to each other. In fact, there are many times when I didn’t see Ordell other than to sleep the first two days. So, it’s something to consider when you are paying that much to getaway with your spouse!

If you would prefer a getaway that focuses on the coaching life where you and your husband will see each other I suggest you consider one of these events.

If you aren’t one for large crowds you may also want to consider whether this is the venue for you. The convention is a wonderful place, however coaching is a cut throat business and I will be honest it’s not pleasant to encounter the wife who you know spoke poorly about your husband to help elevate her own without your husband around. Those things happen at convention as well on occasion and it wouldn’t be fair to only present one side of the experience. 

And if you’re looking for a less expensive coaches’ wives retreat that doesn’t require you and your husband to leave the kids don’t forget there are other options for those too! There is still time to join us at the Pursue Coaches’ Wives Retreat!!

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