I’ve been on several retreats in the past 10 years of my life. I’d say roughly four in middle school, 8 in high school, and four as an adult.
Each retreat had a different theme and provided fun team building activities that helped me to make friends and step outside my comfort zone.
During my most recent retreat, I realized how similar it was to the ones I went on during middle school and high school.
5 Similarities between youth group retreats and adult retreats
1. They both have a focus or theme for the weekend.
Of course, each leader is going to cater the theme to the age group or to the shared stage of life. Even so, there is a theme.
For example, in middle school, our theme was more about getting acquainted with the Old and New Testaments as a whole. It was important to my youth pastor that he introduced us to the timeline of the Bible.
In high school youth group, the themes were deeper, like about self-image or how to be like Jesus.
In my adult retreats, the leader wanted to focus on how to inform people of our organization effectively, as there are many parts to it.
2. They both allow for the majority of the retreat to include free time.
Free time-no matter the age- was meant to relax, play card games, play outdoor games, or simply do something with the other members of the group.
This kind of time is especially important for me. I get to know people best and I open up about myself more when doing a group activity.
The funny thing is that most of the activities at the adult retreat were similar to those at the youth group retreats. I’m talking about things like volleyball, board games, card games, and others of the sort.
3. They both set aside time for group members to have individual time with God.
I appreciated the allowance for this time of being with God on my own. It gave me a chance to reflect on what had been taught during the lesson. It also gave me a chance to listen to God through the silence.
We also had the freedom to sit wherever we wanted, whether that be inside or outside. To be honest, during this past time, I spent this time on my bed.
4. They both led to development of community
After each retreat, I knew several, if not all, of the participants better.
As I am relatively new to the ministry I’m involved with, retreats are important to me as it is time dedicated to team building. I had several great interactions with people I would have otherwise just said “hello” to.
I also like the chance to get to know the leader more. Usually, leaders are busy-almost too busy to talk with, but retreats make them seem more relaxed and approachable.
That was especially important to me because the leader of the organization I’m a part of is my father-in-law.
Additionally, it helped me get to know my in-laws better as they are part of the ministry as well.
5. They both are memorable and hard to leave!
Every time a retreat comes to an end, I feel deeply sad and disappointed that the fun time away is over.
This was especially difficult for me during middle school and high school because I loved going on adventures with friends. Transitioning back to reality is not easy for me.
Now that I’m older and can go on adventures more often, retreats aren’t as hard to leave, but I still enjoy my time and get disappointed that I’ll have to return to work and school.
As far as being memorable goes, I can go back to middle school times and remember the retreats.
The most memorable ones for me were when my sister and I were both in high school together. We spent time with our own groups of friends, but I loved looking over at her to share an inside joke. Also, it was fun for us to annoy each other or when the youth pastor would pick on us as siblings.
Memories of retreats get people excited for the next one.
No matter the time of life, always choose to go on retreats!
Do you like vacations or getting away for the weekend? Well, that is what retreats are meant to do for people.
They allow for the mind and body to take a break from the fast-paced lifestyle they are accustomed to and do fun and refreshing things.
The best part is that it allows people to make new connections with other members of the group.
I strongly encourage church leaders to plan retreats and church members to go on retreats. You will not regret the time you will spend away from normal life!
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