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How to Plan a Retreat for High Schoolers

Many think of high school as the best years in a person’s life. Of course, as we move beyond our teenage years, hopefully, we realize that our life only gets better. While high school can be fun, teenagers face countless challenges, including:

  • Stress from school, athletics, and work
  • Stress at home
  • Relationship and friendship challenges
  • Spiritual questions
  • Questions and stress about college and the future
  • Bullying in school and on social media

High schoolers need a break from their routines and an opportunity to reconnect with God through nature. If you are a youth pastor, student minister, club leader, coach, or volunteer of any kind, one of the ways you can provide teenagers with at least a brief reprieve from their struggles and stress is by planning a retreat. 

Here’s what you need to know about planning a high school retreat. 


Why Schedule a Retreat for High Schoolers

How can retreats help high schoolers cope with the stress and struggles of daily life? 

1) Teenagers Are Not Spending as Much Time Outside

Adolescents don't really spend as much time outside as they used to. Only around 20% of American youth venture outside weekly to move and exercise, according to research by the Outdoor Foundation

Children participated in 15% fewer annual outdoor trips in 2018 than in 2012. Should high schoolers and teens be spending more time in nature?

2) Reconnecting with Nature is Good for Teenagers

Although teens and adolescents are spending less time outside, we see evidence they should get out more:

“Time spent actively outside can help increase fitness levels for children and teens, and the exposure to nature can diminish stress levels and symptoms of ADHD in some children. Studies have found that connecting with nature makes people more kind and better at interacting with others in social settings.” - Pediatrician James (Tony) Bakerink, MD, founder of Wee Care Pediatrics.

In a time when kids need it the most, teens are less likely to speed time outdoors. We need to help facilitate opportunities for them to get out in nature. 

3) Getting Outside Helps Students Reconnect with God

Outdoor retreats are about connecting with the Creator as well as experiencing creation. Creation reveals who God is, according to Romans one. A high school retreat lets students carve out time to read the Bible and pray, in addition to enjoying nature.

We may all benefit from a chance to reconnect with God through his message and the stunning scenery that reminds us of his amazing power and glory.

How to Plan a Great High School Retreat

An effective retreat requires extensive planning. A few tips for planning a great high school retreat include:

  1. Start Planning Early: The earlier, the better for planning a high school retreat. You need to plan early so you can get the right location and give busy teenagers an opportunity to put your retreat on the calendar. 
  2. Choose the Right Location: Booking your high school retreat early gives you the best chance to secure the right location. You want to retreat somewhere beautiful, where there are plenty of opportunities for students to get out and experience nature. 
  3. Create a Solid Schedule: If every second is planned meticulously, your volunteers and leaders could get stressed. If there is too much downtime, your high schoolers can get bored. You want to make sure your schedule balances activities with downtime.
  4. Make Sure You Have Good Food: Food matters more than you might think. Eating well, even for a weekend, can help make your teens feel better and give them the fuel they need for an exciting retreat. They may not remember what they eat if the food is good, but if it’s bad, it can negatively impact the experience. 
  5. Create a Theme: Craft your devotional and spiritual times around a good theme. 
  6. Pray: There is nothing more important for your retreat than prayer. Ask God to do what you can’t. 

Your retreat will only be as good as your planning. 

What to Look For in a Retreat Center

If you want your kids to take a break from their smartphones for the weekend, choose a location that is rich in natural beauty. RNP is bordered by Estes Park, which is encircled by the Rocky Mountains. The location at High Peak Camp is breathtaking, and youth can't help but wonder at God's glory exhibited in nature.

High Peak Camp in Estes Park

We offer a variety of amenities at High Peak Camp to help us in serving retreat guests. High Peak Camp's facilities are an interesting combination of old and new. New structures have been added to our attractive historical structures.

For retreats, our five newer dorms can accommodate 176 people. Our Rocky Mountain Lodge has twenty-five rooms that can accommodate up to ninety retreatants. A variety of smaller cottages are also available.

Indoor group meetings can be held in our two-story mill building, modern and well-appointed chapel, coach stop, and lodge rooms. If you're looking for a place to do your programming and team development, High Peak is the place to go.

High Peak Camp is here to help make sure you have the best high school retreat possible. We would love to answer your questions and schedule your retreat today. Contact High Peak Camp for more information today!