Each year we've done a houseboat trip but to help save cost we decided to tent camp it this year. Last week we took our students for a 5 day retreat to a lake to wakeboard, tube, camp, bond, laugh & retreat together. I had a great key leader help coordinate the trip and logistics with me.
For me here are the highlights of the trip!
Detachment from the everyday life;
When students don't get great cell reception, are removed from the "normal" routine of their life and are encouraged to breathe they come alive. Seriously, it's like a transformation in front of you. It's easy to watch students learn to laugh again, relax and feel alive. In our context students live such a ridiculous paced life and often it's parents induced, teacher manipulated, coaches encouraged & they buy the lie that's how life should be. This trip shows them another truth, that without rest & refreshment we do feel like we slowly die.
When students begin to relax they also begin to share. These trips allow so much one on one conversations, small group friendly opportunities and amazing chances to really get to know students. You begin to hear more apart of who they are, the worlds they live in & how as a ministry we need to care for them. These trips also allow students to get to know each other. Friendships are formed. Bonds are created. Ministry connections flourish.
Intentionally having this trip right before school starts really helps us kick off the fall well. We really begin to help challenge & encourage them to live their life focussed on Jesus and nothing else.
Students crave joy. These trips allow students to celebrate life and have fun. Youth ministry needs to be fun & celebrated. Being pulled on a tube behind a boat brings out laughter. Having deer raid your campsite brings out laughter. Camping in a tent & waking up drooling on a roommates pillow brings out laughter. Sitting around a campfire & playing games brings out laughter.
If you ever need a blueprint or help putting together a houseboat & water trip like this let me know, would love to help your ministry pull one of with great success!