A youth retreat is a powerful opportunity for students to experience spiritual growth and focus on friendship and community. But how do you find that perfect balance of fun, worship, and making sure your basic needs like food and lodging are met? Here are some tips to planning a retreat your youth group will never forget.
1. Choose a location that allows for fun activities. Having an activity component allows youth to let off steam during the day and prepare for worship at night. In the summer, consider a place that has access to activities like swimming, canoeing or outdoor sports. For a winter youth retreat, consider staying in a place with access to skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing.
2. Make sure there is plenty of food. Even better, find a facility that offers a meal plan. There are some retreat and conference centers that offer dining options in their on-campus facilities.
3. Find a speaker who can relate to youth.There are several speakers and groups who regularly talk at youth conventions and retreats. The Skit Guys are one example of well-known team who use comedy and drama to relate to youth.
4. Include praise and worship music. Worship is often named as the most powerful part of a youth retreat. Ask for recommendations of musical groups near the facility or consider finding a group who will attend a retreat in a getaway location. Some praise bands, such as The Wayne Kerr Band, regularly play at youth events and know how to make worship memorable.
5. Include a mission component. Giving back to the community where you are having your retreat will impact both the recipients and the youth who are doing the projects. Seek out local churches or nonprofit organizations in the area that need volunteers, or consider youth retreats with mission components built-in.
6. Choose a scenic location and allow for some downtime. The mountains of North Carolina make a scenic and relaxing location for youth to experience times of reflection. Choose a location with labyrinth or other places of meditation.
7. Eliminate distractions.You’d be surprised what happens when youth have a chance to relate one-on-one. Look for retreat locations that don’t have easy access to TV and video games.
Like these ideas? Consider Ski Lake Junaluska. Choose from six pre-planned weekend packages that include worship, music, lodging, acclaimed speakers, meals and skiing in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Or customize your own package using the beautiful Lake Junaluska facilities and discounted access to Cataloochee Ski Area or Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Our packages include lift tickets, ski and boot rentals and ski lessons. To find out more about Ski Lake Junaluska, visit lakejunaluska.com/ski or call 800-222-4930.