Christian Retreats for College Groups
Plan the Perfect Christian College Group Retreat
Are you in charge of a college or Young Adult Group? Are looking to do something that will build community within your group or searching for a fun activity that gives you time away as a group to grow in deeper relationship and have some fun? If so you, you are probably in need of a good 'ole College Retreat. Good thing you are reading this, because Shepherd's Fold Ranch is a fantastic Oklahoma Retreat Center located just north of Tulsa. In this post I would like to provide you with some tools to help plan a great Christian College Retreat for your crew. These items can be applied to a retreat group of any size. At Shepherd's Fold, we can accommodate groups any where from 15-190. The Retreat Venue you choose may differ. It will be best for you to know what you have available for you before you plan.
Like all good recipes, you need to have an idea of what you are going to create. What is the purpose of the retreat? How do you picture the time going? Are you wanting something activity packed or more relational and slower paced? Do you want to use a central scripture or biblical practice to be your theme? i.e using the time to be a prayer or silence retreat. Get your idea squared away before you proceed. The Idea should then be your filter when planning the events and activities for the Retreat. A few ideas for a Great College Retreat are: A Prayer Retreat, Community Development Retreat, Service Project Retreat, Book Study Retreat, Wilderness Retreat, The True Vine Retreat, etc. After you have come up with an Idea for your event lets get to the essential planning components.
Where are you going to stay for your retreat? This could largely be affected by the number of people you have attending. You need to find a place that will fit all your guests in separate sleeping quarters for males and females and ideally would have some shared living space. When determining where you will stay is also affected by The Idea for your retreat. If it is "conference styled" some hotels can provide what you need. This largely changes that effect your retreat can have though because, come on, who really wants to stay in a hotel? Your college kids will just watch tv, be online, go to the bar and no really get into the events. Find a camp close by that can host your group and make sure there are ample meeting rooms and places to hang out. At Shepherd's Fold we even use some of our Dining Halls as board game rooms in the evening so people can come up, play some games, listen to music and just hang out together. One important planning tip is to tour the property you are interested in. Getting an idea of where you will be staying and the flow of the events will help tremendously! To visit Shepherd's Fold Ranch and see one of the Best Christian Retreat Centers in Oklahoma, just call our office and set up a tour.
This may be the most important aspect of your preparation. What will people eat? You can easily win over a group of College Students if the food is good. You will surely hear about it if it is not! On the planing side of things, make sure you are aware of any dietary restrictions or food allergies and plan accordingly. As the planner you need to decide if you will provide the meals within your group or if you will be contracting out that responsibility. Your camp location may offer food service. If they do, ask about the history of the people that will be cooking and for a sample menu. Some camps have fantastic food (like us ;)) and some have the infamous "camp food" that can turn even the strongest stomach. If you are interested in providing your own meals, that planning can require a lot more work. It could be best to have someone who is familiar with large group food preparation to take over this portion. It will save you tons of time and headaches! As the planner though, set a budget for your group on what you will spend on food for the retreat. Oh, and by the way our retreat cook is and amazing chef who owns her own catering company that is famous for it's cake balls and chicken salad. If you ever stay with us, you have to let us cook you a meal or two!
What are you going to do? For most college kids all you need is a place and some space. They love to hang out and, when in the right environment are very creative at coming up with activities to do. In all reality, you could set the meal times, group times and let them plan the rest of the schedule. That is one of the great benefits of being at a Great Summer Camp. There are lots of options to do. Here at Shepherd's Fold we have a zip line, low ropes course, basketball court, volleyball court, and so much more. There are hosts of website with ideas for good team building games and activities that will also include the necessary supplies. After you find any games of activities you are planning it is best to make a master procurement list to streamline all the supplies you will be purchasing. If you are staying at a camp check with them to see what free things are available like cones, balls, tape, etc. All in all, remember to filter your activities through your Idea and make sure it is in support of it both in form and function.
Get People Going!
For college students specifically getting commitment from people can be ridiculously difficult. Most people have trouble committing too far in advance, so don't expect many to pipe up about attendance until 10-14 days out. And that is only if you are asking! This can make reservations difficult! Your Retreat Venues are going to want a deposit and I know you are not just made of money, so you have to do a little strategic guessing. Take the number of your group when it is at its smallest and plan on that. Hopefully, who ever you book with has some adjustment in their numbers and a comfortable deposit policy. You will want to discuss that well, so you are not stuck paying for a ton of people who do not attend. At Shepherd's Fold, you can read all of our Retreat Policies and Procedures and I promise you they are very fair. We require a guaranteed minimum that the group will be responsible to pay and then 10 days out ask for your final number that will be due when you arrive. If something changes within that and your arrival, most of the time we can adjust if you let us know. Regardless of what you decide it will be best for you to require a small deposit from you College students. We recommend at least $20 to save their spot. That is enough skin in the game that they will commit and it should provide you with a good idea of the parties interested.
More ideas and information than your brain has room for:
Ready to plan your retreat?
Contact us today and we can help make your event a success!