We salute you, you fearless youth leaders. The brave one's who have survived lock-ins, endless pizza nights, obscure games, and teenage angst. Now you've signed your youth group up for a ski retreat and you're wondering if you'll come out of this one alive.
Here's our collection of Do's and Don'ts that will do more than help you keep your sanity. They may even help you and your group thrive.
DO Know The "Why"
Why did you decide on a ski trip in the first place? Is it to bring new kids into community? Is it to simply ski and play endless rounds of polar bear plunges? Is it to share Jesus? Knowing why you're going will help focus your planning.
DON'T Do It All
We get you. You're the skit creating, sermon prepping, pizza ordering, relational counseling ninja. You do it all, and you're really dang good at it. Now it not the time to do it all. Now is the time to enlist help, and lots of it. If you're using High Point, most of your logistics will be taken care of by our travel advising rockstars, but that still leaves you in charge of the fun stuff. Invite a guest speaker, put someone in charge of games, recruit parents, and bribe college students with coffee and free food to help lead the shenanigans.
DO Let Kids Be Kids
Unless one of your youth asks to back flip from the hotel roof into the jacuzzi, feel free to say "yes" to the dozens of free-time activities they come up with. "Yes" to the milk gallon challenge. "Yes" to staying up late. "Yes" to anything involving eating snack foods as quickly as possible. "Yes" to ski contests. "Yes" to the memories.
DON'T Forget To Give Expectations
You don't need to be reminded of this, but all pre-teens and teenagers will act like complete fools at some point. Here's where the ground rules and boundaries come in. The non-negotiables. These should be addressed before the trip, and then probably again when you arrive (because it's likely that their teenage ears didn't hear a word you said the first time).
DO Remember That You're Awesome
Not many people can do what you do. The teenage theatrics and young love drama. The not-so-pleasant moodiness. The games involving blended hamburgers, Cheetos grenades, and copious amounts of water balloons. The parents who are either a blessing or a not-quite-a blessing. The endless hours of sermon preparation. You endure all of this and manage to raise a family, or go to grad school, or maintain some type of a normal existence in the world of adults. Basically, you're awesome.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!