Whenever a student comes home from a retreat or camp, it is clear that there is an incredible value to what happens on a retreat. Every time I get a chance to talk to parents about helping their kids get involved in our ministry, I let them know that the best way to do so is to get them on one of our trips. There is something significant about taking a group of students out of their normal context that allows for incredible things to happen. Students build deepr relationships with other students that they don't normally build within weekly programs. Adults get more time to care for students than they do in an average week. And the teaching time has greater impact as it is done with more frequency and in a different environment.
There are a lot of great camps that provide incredible experiences; unfortunately if you are trying to do your retreats for around $100, you won't be left with many options. I love the experience that some of these camps provide, but I cannot fathom charging $300 for our summer camp.
How To Make Retreats Cost Less
1. Go Yourself
Instead of deciding to go with a big camp that is charging you for the whole experience, put something together yourself. Run your own program, find your own campground to sleep at, bring your own leaders, and deal with buying your own food. Some of these things can be a pain to deal with, but they each also can save you a great deal of money. One of our best retreats is one that we go to Lake Ann Camp when they are not running their summer camps and put on our own program at their facilities. It's a win for both of us!
2. Speak Yourself
An easy way to drive up the price your retreat or event is hire a "professional" speaker or band to play for you guys. I understand the value of having quality music and teaching, but your kids don't care the name of the speaker or band. Find a good teacher and musician within your ministry and have them be the main teacher.
3. Be Yourself
Don't feel like you have to produce the same experiences that you have seen at other retreats and events. Some of those might be great ideas, but that doesn't mean your retreat has to be the same experience. One retreat might be a weeklong camp experience while another may be a weekend long trip at a campground. Do what most naturally plays to your strengths and budget so that you can choose activities confidently and create a memorable experience.
Photo Credit: CCCPxokkeu