Seven Things I’ve Learned About Running a Winter Youth Retreat

(1) Forget about sleep. Students love late nights, and wee hours yield transparency. Make yourself available and you’ll forge new friendships. But don’t torture yourself by hoping for rest. That’s what van rides are for (unless you’re driving). (2) Schedules matter. Students want to know what’s next. Schedule event time and free time. Action and […]

Kindness and respect

Last week a student said she really enjoys one of our leaders. Why? “Because he doesn’t treat me like I’m stupid.” We asked what she meant. “When I don’t know something, he doesn’t look at me like there’s something wrong with me. He doesn’t skrinch his eyebrows and say, ‘you don’t know that?’ He just […]

The Time Factor

We once had a student who never smiled. Ever. A barrier or an opportunity? If our goal is “a smile by the end of today’s session,” we’ll be disappointed. Most things take time. Seeds to trees, babies to adults, first pages to finished manuscripts. A frowning student in September can be a healthier person by […]

What kind of church attracts students?

The most recent edition of Immerse, a bimonthly journal for youthworkers, features a thoughtful piece* on churches that attract and retain students. The author, Christy Lang, cites several research papers and presents findings both surprising and useful. Here are three samples from her article: Drawing on developmental theory, Lytch notes that adolescents have particular needs […]