By Kate Allison
Planning a youth group trip often results in elevated stress levels, high blood pressure, and the push for “youth group” and “trip” to never be in the same sentence again. However, there are numerous ways event planners can drastically decrease these seemingly inevitable side effects by simply following the tips below!
The most important task when planning a youth group trip is conducting thorough research on the 5 W’s: Where you are staying? When you are going? Who is going? What will you be doing? Why are you taking this trip? Many youth groups that visit YMCA of the Rockies have an overall theme for the weekend that they incorporate into all the programs, activities, worship and service projects they have planned. The good news is that no matter how you answer these questions, there are a plethora of feasible and exciting options available for your group.
Whether it’s a getaway in the mountains or a sightseeing weekend in the city, the many different towns, hotels, retreat centers, and camps in Colorado have your youth group covered.
Depending on the season, be prepared to book 6 months to 2 years in advance. Factor in the school year, holiday breaks and the likely chance you won’t get your first pick of dates, and you’ll begin to feel like this trip is never going to happen. However, it will happen and it will be worth it! You’ll have a higher chance of things working out if you are able to adapt, adjust, and accommodate during the planning process. Creating a plan A, B and even C are great ways to guarantee a successful and anchored trip. Good youth group trips happen because of good planning!
Even if you are looking for a more laid-back retreat, it’s always important to have some sort of game plan. From a program standpoint, decide whether you want scheduled group activities or an array of activities participants can choose from and partake in during their free time. For example, YMCA of the Rockies’ program departments and lodging staff at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby and Estes Park Center are happy to tailor to a group’s needs as long as they are given enough notice.
Kids aren’t the only ones to keep happy and in the know; you also have to think about their parents. Communicating effectively and efficiently is a key component to a problem and worry-free youth retreat. Whether it involves creating a printed itinerary, allowing cell phones in rooms or not, or remaining active on social media throughout the weekend, transparent communication ensures trust, and trust is the foundation of everything.
Bring a Deeper Meaning to the Retreat
Something as simple as service projects can help empower youth and make them feel like they’re plugging into the community by giving back. These short-term trips become the basis of long-term missionaries, friendships, memories and much, much more.
Colorado is home to some of the best scenery and opportunity for adventure in the country, making it an ideal place to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. So when the planning gets tough, just remember that nature will inspire, motivate and engage your youth group more than you know.
Photos: Courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies
Kate Allison is new to the Centennial State and has been in the marketing department at YMCA of the Rockies since the spring season. She enjoys being outdoors and drinking hazelnut coffee, and this winter you can find her in Crested Butte working at the Adaptive Sports Center.