For many of you who come to camp during the summer or to one of our Living Waters hosted events throughout the year (Winter Recharge, Creation Conferences, Ladies Retreat etc.) you may have wondered what goes on at camp the rest of the year. “The Current” sat down with our Guest Groups Manager, Andrew Jackson, to talk about our ministry among the wide variety of Guest Groups we serve each year.
Q: Explain Living Waters’ guest group philosophy?
A:Guest Groups provide our staff and volunteers a unique opportunity to fulfill the mission of Living Waters. We partner with all our groups to design a retreat experience through which the gospel can be heard, and young and old can be challenged to serve each other while enjoying activities in God’s glorious creation. Beginning with the initial face-to-face or telephone conversations, we seek to understand the goals and objectives that a group has for their retreat, and then, along with the group leaders, we build a retreat to meet those goals and objectives. A school group may be looking for a retreat that will challenge their students towards unity, or a local church may be looking for a family retreat to encourage deeper relationship; knowing these goals, we are able to propose teaching sessions, programs and activities. This personal touch is why groups choose Living Waters and why most groups return year after year.
Q: Why do you like hosting groups?
A: My goal in hosting a group is to connect with the group leader and to serve him/her in a way that allows them to enjoy the retreat just as much as their group. In my communication prior to a retreat, I endeavor to answer questions, and finalize details that might be causing stress. And then, while the group is here at camp, I try to be available to answer questions, and solve problems, so that the group leader can focus on their ministry to the group.
Q: Why do groups choose Living Waters for their retreat?
A: The feedback that I receive from groups points to the service their group receives while they are here at camp. Whether it is the cleanliness and beauty of camp, the great food, the fun activities, the great Biblical teaching; all areas of camp are dedicated to serving each group. Also Living Waters offers services that other camps can’t offer. We provide everything from creation programs to leading worship. In fact some of the groups even utilize Dave or Dennis as session speakers. This allows us to provide purposeful teaching and training throughout the entire retreat experience Living Waters.
Q: What does a retreat experience do for a group?
A: This question goes back to the goals that a group has in coming to camp. A youth retreat that comes to camp in February will have a more relaxed time of relationship building, while they dive into God’s word and enjoy our winter activities. A youth retreat that comes to camp in August, may have the same goals of spiritual growth and deeper relationships but they will spend their time on the TAC course, or canoeing on the Kickapoo. Developing a retreat based on goals allows for each group’s experience to be unique.
Q: How does someone start a retreat for their group?
A: If you are interested in planning a retreat for your school or church, here are a few things to think about:
- The Audience – Who is the retreat geared towards – youth, adults, families?
- The Purpose of the retreat – What are the goals and objectives that you are hoping to accomplish through the retreat?
- The Dates – The “when” is sometimes the most difficult part of planning a retreat.
- The Help – Planning a retreat and running a retreat requires people. Who are these people and what are their roles? Communicating with these people is key!
- The Schedule – What will the retreat look like? How will the retreat accomplish the goals and objectives?