Monday, February 25, 2008

    COOL IDEA: Elements of A Great Retreat

    The youth ministry blog "Confessions of a Human Being" offers up a series of posts with some excellent tips for leading a retreat with your youth. Here's one I particularly like:

    Ban Personal Electronics - The two major factors of most every retreat are building community and getting away from the hustle and bustle of life. Anything that requires headphones will automatically cut a person off from the group, and cell phones, PDA’s, etc. being present are not getting people away from life’s bustle. Do not allow students to bring anything that falls under this category, or you will be fighting an uphill battle the entire trip.

    Read more here.



    BoBoinBeanTown said...

    It's so true! I have always had such a hard time keeping my youth from bringing phones, ipods, etc. and keeping them put up all weekend. The worst part is that no matter how much I explain it, my adult chaperones don't understand why these rules are in place and hence don't enforce them, so I end up looking like the cell phone nazi. You can really tell a difference in the experiences of the youth who follow those rules and the ones who don't.

    Elizabeth said...

    Rather than turn in to the cell phone nazi, I would suggest a covenant of conduct that adult volunteers, youth, and the parents sign that allows you to not come out looking like the "bad guy." Emphasize the covenant part, that you are making promises to one another, etc. Make sure that parents have clear infomation about where you can be reached and other chaperones they can contact by phone and generally they are a little more understanding.

    In our youth ministry, we are so fond of shaking the electronics that we have a cell phone offering at the beginning of every Sunday morning and Sunday evening gathering. We help the youth to understand that this is their offering for a short time and they seem to dig it.

    Katie said...

    Cell Phones are a serious issue that we are addressing in our own youth group. There seems to be an issue of respect, or lack there kids text the night awa, not paying attention to the devotion, adult talking, etc. Any suggestions on how to deal with this would be greatly appreciated.

    Rob Winterbottom said...

    Personal electronics are usually a huge issue. On a retreat or anything where we ban that stuff, we usually put on a waiver saying that electronics aren't allowed but if it's a bus ride somewhere then you can have your ipod/mp3 player for the ride and if we catch any devices while actually at the retreat then we the waiver would state that we have the right to confiscate it and would be returned at the end of the trip.

    We usually never have a problem once this is in play, even when confiscating various electronics. I find that it's a fair warning so kids usually accept it. We usually announce that we are aware that some of them actually brought there phones and they should just leave them in your bags. Note though that you definitely have to enforce it if you're going to make it legit and also keeps you from looking like a nazi..most of the time. Of course give the main leader attendings' number at which they can be reached. Adult volunteers usually need phones if there's an emergancy.

    Another note as well, if kids a are interested and want to listen they're usually not as likely use there phones.

    Note as well that to ban someone for using electronics is not okay. If they put up a fight about it then we tell them we're going to call there parents and do so if they still refuse. All in a kind and firm manner.