EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
ATTENDING A DRAGON SLAYERS RETREAT!

1. WHY SHOULD YOUR PARISH ATTEND 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 rediscover the power of Reconciliation and the most Holy Eucharist! Don’t miss it!

Dragon Slayers was a finalist in the 2021 OSV Innovation Challenge as one of the best new Catholic innovative ideas in the country!

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 (Click here). Contact us if you have a special request by clicking HERE.

3. WHAT IS THE RETREAT STRUCTURE?

The standard retreat is 3 hours. 
A typical schedule sample would be something like this:

12:00pm-12:30pm

Parents/kids arrive, register, & fun music


12:30pm-1:30pm

Dragon Slayers Live! (Parents & kids together)


1:30pm-2:30pm

Parents stay in main hall with John Wood for parent presentation, while catechists take children to classrooms for breakout sessions


2:30pm-3:00pm

Family Challenge, Gift bags, and Certificates (Parents & 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. 


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 (Click here) 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 (Click here) 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. 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.

 
 G. 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 title below to view.)
                   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?

NOTE: Please do not allow costs to be an obstacle. We have scholarships from the KofC and/or will waive the retreat fee for first time parishes if you want to trial the retreat. 


Starting in 2022-23, the retreat fee will be $20 per student ($500 max per parish). This will include access to all of our virtual retreats to use for any families who miss the retreat or in any way you wish to use the programs. The cost of the family gift bags are $30 per bag. (Here is a MATERIALS VIDEO (Click Here) 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 don't have to do anything).


    We are confident that you can fully cover the costs of the gift bags by considering one or more of these fundraising options! 


     A.  Consider asking the local KofC to help sponsor these materials, or give us a contact person and we can contact them for you. 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 (Click here) you can give to your local council to ask for support! So far, every parish that has tried this has gotten most if not full sponsorship from their local knights!


    B. Parish mentorship and family adoption program. We will give you a FLYER (Click here), bulletin ad, and video to request members of your congregation to "adopt" a second grade family. Their role would not only be to provide the $30 support of a gift bag, but also to pray for their "spiritually adopted family" during the year as the child prepares for First Communion!


   C. We strongly encourage and request that each parish who is involved in a Dragon Slayers retreat consider hosting a one-night mini parish mission with John Wood once every 4-5 years. We give you a VARIETY OF TOPICS TO CHOOSE FROM (Click here), a marketing plan to follow, and all kind of marketing tools. There is not a parish fee as long as you agree to follow the marketing plan. A free will offering will be collected to support Dragon Slayers retreats after the presentation, and your parish keeps 50% of the profits from that evening! We plan on offering around 12 fundraising events per year. 

8. WHAT KIND OF FOLLOW-UP DO YOU PROVIDE?

A. We give an ANONYMOUS SURVEY (Click here to view) 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. Click here to view) 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 (Click here). 


Note: The virtual retreats are included for FREE for all parishes who do our live retreat. 

10. WHERE ARE THE RETREAT VENUES?

We are working on offering VENUES ALL ACROSS THE DIOCESE OF TOLEDO (Click here) to make this retreat accessible to every parish in the diocese. If there is not already at least one retreat venue option in your area, we will work with you to find one! Please contact John Wood at john@extraordinarymission.com to discuss venue options. If you are not in the diocese of Toledo, OH or surrounding area, please consider our VIRTUAL RETREAT OPTION (Click here).

11. 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?

 

WHAT PASTORS ARE SAYING!

"The Dragon Slayers Retreat had a wonderful impact on the families who participated here at Saint Joseph Parish. While I knew it would assist the First Communicants in their preparation for the Sacrament, the true blessing was the powerfully spiritual impact the retreat had on their parents."

Monsignor Michael Billian
Pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Sylvania, OH

 
Dragon slayers book image.jpg

The ideas, names and methods used in this retreat are based on the book DRAGON SLAYERS, by Sir Wyvern Pugilist, copyright Joyce Denham, and are used with permission of the author.


To purchase DRAGON SLAYERS by Sir Wyvern Pugilist, go to his website dragonslayersbook.com.