Quick Thinking Averted This Retreat Disaster

I believe in adding extra to any retreat. One of my favorite things to do is give out awards for winning teams, if there is a team element to the retreat. The retreat I just spoke at was no different.

I had worked with some of the student ministry leaders to help formulate the retreat layout. This is something I offer to youth ministries that either do not have a full time youth pastor or have never done a retreat. Student input is critical to the retreats success.

We came up with a bible quiz component to the retreat. Before the main service, teams would compete as answer questions based on scriptures given to them in their retreat books. Each team had five people and were seated in a line five feet from one of those bells you ring to get someone’s attention. It worked great and was a ton of fun.

At each session Mike, the youth pastor, said I had a fabulous prize for the winners. It wasn’t that great. I had bought trophy from the thrift store to give away to the winning team. The trophy had nothing to do with the event, it was a trophy with an apple on it. I was going to slap a sticker on with the teams name on it and would suggest they keep the trophy in their youth room as a reminder for next years retreat. Still, a good plan, but one thing, I forgot the trophy at home.

So, the night before I strolled the isles of Wal-Mart looking for inspiration. My eyes caught these small gold buckets for a $1 a piece. What to fill it with? Skittles and Starbursts! As a bonus, I found a pack of these alien slingers in the birthday party section. Each student got two of them.

I had also bought some Hello My Name is stickers from the thrift store for 25 cents, and I slapped them on the gold bucket. Total cost: $21 and change. Not a bad recovery on short notice.

The kids loved it, probably a lot more than a trophy with an apple on it.

If I can help your youth ministry by helping you plan or speaking at your retreat, please let me know.

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