Service Week FAQ

Please note: The deadline for Service Week 2015 has passed. The application for Service Week 2016 will be available in December.

What is Omega Service Week?

Omega Service Week was created in 2005 and is now an annual event. The overall goal of Omega Service Week is to bring staff and/or board members out of their normal working environments so new ideas can be generated and participants can return to their demanding work feeling rejuvenated and re-inspired.

Each organization creates and leads its own retreat program, and has access to all Omega amenities as part of their retreat. Selected organizations use Service Week to develop strategic plans for the future, cultivate relationships among their board members, re-engage with their mission statements, heal organizational rifts, deepen staff commitment, and enjoy some much-needed peace and relaxation.

Who attends Service Week?

Our goal is to invite groups covering a broad range of social issues and to have representation from organizations working at the local, statewide, national, and global levels. Over the past ten years, we have welcomed more than 200 organizations that work to create a more compassionate and sustainable world.

What does the retreat include?

The retreat consists of a 2-day, 2-night retreat at Omega, including simple accommodations, meals, meeting space, and access to campus amenities. Each organization designs its own retreat according to its needs. In addition, each organization may request 1 hour of consulting during the retreat from the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON), representatives of which will be available on campus. There is no charge for this 1-hour consultation.

Who designs our retreat?

Each organization designs its own retreat according to its needs with a good balance of work and relaxation.

What is the Strengthening Communities Summit?

This year, the Strengthening Communities Summit prioritizes applicants that address a range of social, economic, or environmental issues in the Mid-Hudson Valley (Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, Columbia, Putnam, and Greene Counties). It will be held Monday, May 25 through Wednesday, May 27. 

What is the Women Serving Women Summit?

The Women Serving Women Summit is a program of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) and prioritizes organizations working to positively impact the lives of women. It will be held Wednesday, May 27 through Friday, May 29.

Who is eligible to apply to Service Week?

Any nonprofit organization may apply. Please note: The deadline for Service Week 2015 has passed. The application for Service Week 2016 will be available in December.

Can someone provide us with assistance in completing our application?

For assistance on how best to complete your application, you are welcome to set up a free, half-hour consultation with NYCON by emailing Doug Sauer, NYCON’s chief executive officer at

What are your selection criteria?

In selecting organizations, we look for those that will make the best use of and benefit most from this working retreat opportunity. These tend to be organizations that have identified goals for themselves, such as strategic planning, cultivating leadership, and deepening staff commitment, and are prepared to work on them in a retreat setting. We also look for organizations that have a mission and activities in line with our values and/or initiatives and that can demonstrate experience practicing effective collaboration.

If we want to have a retreat with another organization, how do we complete our application?

Your organization can apply to come on its own, or you can come in partnership with another organization with which you are working closely. If you are coming in partnership, each partner organization completes its own application and indicates the partner organizations with which it will be working.

What is the deadline to apply?

The deadline for receipt of your completed application is February 9, 2015. Please note: The deadline for Service Week 2015 has passed. The application for Service Week 2016 will be available in December.

When will we find out if we are accepted?

Participating organizations will be notified of acceptance by February 20, 2015.

If we accept the retreat, what is our commitment?

  • Agree to respond promptly to three requests for written evaluative feedback via surveys on how effective the retreat was toward reaching your stated goals. These surveys will be sent after the retreat and twice in the following year at 6 and 12-month intervals. Impact stories will be requested, and are always welcome!
  • Agree to participate in Omega's publicity and funding efforts, which may include providing photos, quotes, and mission descriptions; adapting and disseminating press releases and/or social media posts; and talking with interested parties
  • Join the orientation conference call
  • Participate in your entire session, beginning at 7:00 p.m. the day of arrival and ending after lunch on the day of departure
  • Attend the opening and closing plenary sessions
  • Be prepared to introduce your organization to other participants

What is the purpose of the orientation conference call?

To help you prepare for the retreat and enhance your outcomes, Omega hosts an orientation conference call with all participating organizations several weeks before the retreat. NYCON participates on the call, as well. The purpose of the call is to ensure that each organization is informed and prepared to make the most of this unique opportunity, has defined its retreat goals and can begin to connect with other selected organizations.

What about travel costs?

Selected organizations are responsible for their own transportation costs and arrangements.

How is housing arranged?

Each person taking part in your organization’s retreat must individually call the Omega Registration department to register for the retreat and receive her or his housing assignment. Rooms are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

When should we plan to arrive and leave?

Organizations selected to participate in the Strengthening Communities Summit arrive on Monday afternoon, Memorial Day, May 25, between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m., and depart Wednesday, May 27, after lunch. Organizations selected to participate in the Women Serving Women Summit arrive on Wednesday afternoon, May 27, between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m., and depart Friday, May 29, after lunch.

What if I still have questions?  

If your question is not addressed in our FAQ, please contact:

Strengthening Communities Summit Coordinator: Marta Szabo ( at 845.266.4444, ext. 403


Women Serving Women Summit Coordinator: Lys Swan ( at 845.266.4444, ext. 414