YPO/WPO Forum Retreats


No one should approach your YPO/WPO forum retreat lightly – not your forum members; not the retreat facilitator.

The combined expenses for the location & retreat facilitator are minor compared with the time investment from each forum member. This time investment demands a thoughtful approach. No two retreats should be exactly the same because no two forums have exactly the same needs. A retreat facilitator should have a thorough understanding of the forum’s needs before the retreat starts. Kevin Kervick communicates with every member before the retreat agenda is finalized. After each forum member has been heard from, Kevin circles back to the Moderator – or other member(s) as designated by the forum – to finalize the retreat agenda. In addition to topic selection and tweaking, other content is recommended – as needed – to address the special needs of a forum.

Many retreat topics require some advance prep by the forum members, but the time commitment is minimal.

See the About Page to learn about Kevin’s qualifications to facilitate YPO/WPO forum retreats.

Check out the video below for an eight minute history of forum in YPO. WARNING – unless you are a true forum aficionado, your time may be more profitably spent watching a random selection of cat videos on YouTube!

Forum Confidentiality Case Studies

Forum confidentiality is critical for forum success. YPO forum trainer and retreat facilitator, Terry Plochman wrote the very first confidentiality case studies used in YPO forums. They were originally published in “The Forum Handbook” (co-edited by Terry Plochman and Kevin Kervick). This book is now out of print, and the current version, “The Forum e-Guidebook” (e-guidebook on YPO site, Member sign-in required) doesn’t contain any confidentiality case studies. This is a shame because a 5 minute review of a confidentiality case study at each forum meeting is much more effective than the usual confidentiality reminder. In order to keep these valuable tools in circulation, Kervick Development received permission from Terry Plochman to publish his case studies on this site.

Inspired by Terry Plochman’s work, Kevin Kervick has authored additional YPO/WPO confidentiality case studies. Both series are available below.

Download Terry Plochman’s case studies here:  YPO-WPO Confidentiality Case Studies – Terry Plochman

Download Kevin Kervick’s case studies here: YPO-WPO Confidentiality Case Studies – Kevin Kervick

YPO/WPO Retreat Objectives and Concepts

There can be many different objectives for a forum retreat. The three most common are:

  • Forging bonds of trust that promote disclosure and reveals the real member underneath the CEO exterior. This provides an energy that “elevates the game” during regular monthly meetings.
  • Identifying new presentation topics for members to give during the upcoming year’s forum meetings.
  • Providing new thinking – usually self-knowledge and personal awareness – for each forum member.

A great forum retreat will do all three, but there are times when a group will want to focus on just one or two objectives.

A brand new forum – or a forum with several new members – may want to emphasize the first objective. A more seasoned group may want to focus on the second objective if monthly meetings have devolved into a stale round of updates.

There are a number of good YPO suggested forum retreat topics. Alternatively, several retreat topics – created and facilitated by Kevin Kervick – are listed below. Each is rated on a scale that references the three main forum retreat objectives.


If this is your first forum retreat or if you are bringing in several new members, you want a retreat that is high on building trust and promoting disclosure. Identifying topics for monthly meetings can wait for your second retreat. If the new members have not been through forum training, then some “nuts and bolts” of forum best practices will need to be tossed in.

The New Forum Launch retreat consists of several exercises where members share their histories – both the triumphs and the low points.


This is a powerful retreat, scoring fives across all three metrics. Current scientific research into what makes people happy highlights things like exercise (which releases endorphins) or achievement (which boosts self-esteem).

This research completely ignores the ancient wisdom of the Greek philosophers; the early “Desert Fathers” (monastic Christians living in the Egyptian desert around 200 AD) and medieval philosophers like Thomas Aquinas. This retreat looks to these rich sources for the keys to a happier life.

Just as you don’t have to embrace ancient Greek paganism to get value from Aristotle, you don’t have to practice Christianity to get value from the teachings of the Desert Fathers or Aquinas.

This retreat is not a boring philosophy lecture. In fact, you will not learn anything about philosophy – guaranteed! Instead, we will use this ancient western wisdom in a series of fast-paced exercises to build a unique, personalized “greater happiness” road map. This forum retreat will challenge the conventional wisdom of the 21st century and that may make you uncomfortable.

The retreat objective is for each member to identify concrete steps that will help him or her build a happier life. Sometimes, these action steps involve difficult changes to habits and thought processes. At the end of the retreat, the forum comes to agreement on whether it wants to provide ongoing support / accountability to encourage each forum member to follow through with his/her personal happiness plan.



This exercise is designed to give each member greater clarity about a bigger, better future and how to attain it. A series of exercises focuses the members on the big-picture issues and some of the necessary stepping stones.

For more information on using Kevin Kervick as a YPO/WPO Forum Retreat Facilitator, contact him today.