Are you looking for some fresh, new ideas for youth retreats? Believe it or not, there is a whole spectrum of options beyond the typical Band Camp or Science Camp. This article will explain why youth retreats are so popular and offer a few suggestions of ideas that could make a difference in someone’s summer.
The Purpose of Youth Summer Retreats
A youth retreat serves many purposes:
- They are a great way to pull together children of all ages to spend time together doing something meaningful away from the daycare setting like in LadyBug & Friends Daycare. For example, it could be in games and activities, discussion groups, groups joined together by a common cause, participating in leadership exercises, or bonding with peers.
- Youth retreats offer an opportunity for focusing on specific themes (think Band Camp) to draw together participants with things in common.
- The goal of youth retreats is to be fun and make memories.
Summer Retreat Ideas
Here are a few ideas that can assist with making your next outdoor summer retreat a lot of fun for all who participate:
1 – Include The Perfect Guest Speaker
One of the most critical components of a good summer retreat is the person who makes the main presentation. If the guest speaker presents something connected to the retreat’s theme, you will want to have someone knowledgeable about the topic.
Plus, the presentation has to be engaging. That doesn’t always mean funny, but interesting in a curious way will produce results. Authority figures are always a good bet. The better the speaker, the more participants will pay attention and learn about the subject matter.
2 – Take The Retreat Outside
Who doesn’t like camping during the summer? Why not take the retreat theme you had planned on offering in a classroom setting and adapt it to where it can still be presented effectively as part of an overnight campout.
For example, utilize tents in the playing field behind the school you were initially going to rent a classroom for your event. Camping in the school field is also much more manageable than bussing everyone to a nearby campsite. Plus, the event can include such camping activities as a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and other things.
3 – Plan A Movie Presentation
Movies are always a good idea for an outdoor summer retreat. Instead of using the traditional movie theater, try putting together a showing where participants can bring chairs or blankets to sit on for the presentation.
Naturally, the movie should fit into the retreat’s theme and lead to a discussion on the topic. Also, have a “concession” set up with refreshments during the screening to give the theater experience without the theater. Finally, who doesn’t like a movie night under the stars with a light breeze and the smell of popcorn?
4 – Tackle A Volunteer Project
Today, many young people do not understand the importance of community and why one should give back through volunteer service. By focusing a summer retreat on a particular cause, or several, you expose young minds to the possibilities of achieving goals through working together with no monetary expectations.
In addition, doing things to help others because it builds character and makes you feel good could result in many participants becoming more actively involved in their community, which is a good thing.
5 – Improv Classes
An effective way to help build the imagination of youth retreat participants is to do so through an improv theme event. Something like this can help participants unlock the creativity they have inside them that they may never have had an outlet for until now.
Offering improv classes will encourage innovation through imagination. Plus, improv does a lot more for those who partake in it, including building their self-confidence, mindfulness, increasing body awareness, improving verbal expression, and enhancing listening skills. All of which are valuable life skills.
6 – Coding Contest
With the speed of today’s technology continueing to spin, it only makes sense that youth with a firm grasp of computer coding will have a better chance of entering the IT industry. One way to give local youth a leg up on that is to host an outdoor summer retreat that incorporates coding but includes a coding contest as the primary focus.
A coding competition within a coding camp may help some participants identify a skill they did not realize they had. With participants using laptops and tablets, this would be an accessible retreat to host outdoors.
7 – A Writer’s Workshop
Sticking with the overall theme of creativity, one of the most popular activities today’s youth enjoys is writing. Creative writing is something that never seems to go away. It is an easy activity to start and typically begins with journaling.
Being able to put one’s thoughts on paper and clearly describe them takes an artistic flair that may inspire some youth to explore this activity. Short stories, poetry, and more can result from such a summer retreat and could pave the way for some budding writers in the group to get serious about their craft.
8 – Host A Wellness Event
Today’s youth deal with many struggles that test not just their physical but also their mental health. A great way to help these young people keep a handle on their health is through a wellness checkup.
A wellness retreat that teaches many coping skills to help participants deal with the problems they face daily. For example, include peer pressure and bullying, stress, anxiety, and fear in this event. Then, hiking, walking, biking, and other outdoor activities can be sources of wellness.
A summer retreat does not have to be something that takes place indoors—for example, moving many retreat ideas from inside four walls to outside the building. However, accepting these events outdoors brings a different perspective and exposes participants to fresh air, sunshine, and the summer’s smells, sounds, and sights that should be a big part of their retreat.