Ah, the annual winter retreat. That blissful time when youth groups travel either somewhere sunny to escape the frigid tundras of their own hometowns or decide to (for some reason) travel further north and into snowy landscapes.
We don’t know if it’s the calming serenity of snow or the sheer fact it’s not summer camp, but winter retreats are unique opportunities to dive into solid connections with your group. Here’s what you should plan for with your winter retreats:
More opportunities to debrief
When compared to the high-octane energy of summer camp or the tight turnaround of a D-Now, winter retreats seem almost tame. (Notice that we said almost.) This calmer atmosphere is in part to (typically) fewer camp-wide games. Sure, there’s the retreat snowball fight, but winter retreats can slow down the go-go-go pace students can experience and give them more time to think about what they’ve learned in main sessions.
Strategic small group time
Speakers are great, but every youth minister knows that change can occur during small group time. It gives students the opportunity to ask questions, talk honestly, and feel like the adults around them are invested in what they’ve got to say. Winter retreats offer up more time than other group events for adult leaders to speak honestly with their students.
Cozy atmospheres abound
Winter retreats are the perfect opportunity to make things feel all warm and snuggly. Swap the Gatorade and sodas out with hot chocolate. Change the pizza and hot dogs for some chili. Yes, there are still fun things to do depending on your retreat location, but we still contend that group debriefs are better under fuzzy blankets instead of sweating out under a tree during the heat of the summer. Embrace the cozy atmosphere, and use the opportunity for you (and your students) to breathe.
Sure, you could still give your groups free t-shirts for winter retreat, but they’ll likely be covered by hoodies or pullovers. Give your students and volunteers something they’ll use all winter season with a crew neck, long-sleeved shirt, or hoodie.
At Uth Stuph, we love seeing youth groups come together no matter the season! With winter retreats being in full swing, we’re offering groups a limited-time offer. Order by 5 p.m. on Feb 28 and receive special pricing on long sleeves and hoodies. It’s the perfect swag for your next youth group retreat!