5 Quick Enhancements for Your Retreat

You’ve probably heard of the business term “value added.” It applies to youth ministry. There are ways  that you can enhance your retreat without a lot of extra hours and effort but there is great value in adding these 5 valuable features.

1. Encouragement Cards

You don’t have to change anything in your program to set up a system of encouragement cards for students and leaders to fill out. Put names on envelopes and stick them on card board with the names.  showing out. At the end of the retreat give students the envelopes as a value added gift from the retreat.

2. Cabin Prayer

This is a big feature of summer camps but some retreat groups skip over these. They can be affective for calming the room and bringing the focus back to Christ. A leader can remind the students of the retreat theme and have a few students pray out loud.

3. Quiet Time

Some groups do this really well while others miss out on this opportunity. Scheduling a time before breakfast for students to attempt morning devotions can help students get a feel for it. All it takes is providing  a space for it and including a time in your schedule A reminder in the cabins at night and in the morning could be just the encouragement a student needs to begin to make this a practice in their life.

4. Q and A

First Baptist Church was always great for this when I spoke at their camps. They included a time where students would meet with me to have any question they wanted answered. I was always surprised that 15 to 20 students would sit with me in a room to have their questions answered. If your speaker is up for this you may have students who have sincere questions for them.

5. One to ones

Adult leaders or volunteers can sit with students at a meal time at a camp fire or walk with a student headed back to the cabin. If you intentionally coach your leaders to spend the weekend highly engaged in relational ministry the results can be impressive Breakthroughs can happen, relationships can be reinforced and students can open up in ways that they would not on regular youth nights.

What Else Can You Add

No doubt, you are already doing some of these and you have others that I haven’t listed. The idea is to add little improvements each year to maximize the impact of your retreat. It is such an important event you want to make the most of every minute.

If you have any other ideas for us please leave a comment!

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Ron Powell


Ron Powell is the Adviser to the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years. He continues to volunteer, write, teach, and speak to parents, leaders and teens. If you would like to contact him you can email ron.powell@vanguardcollege.com