I have attended a good number of youth retreats, and I have noticed a pattern of people you typically see at a retreat. There always seems to be one or two (or many) people who fall into these categories. Check out these fifteen people you may meet on your next youth retreat (and why you’ll love them!):
1. The Quick-Action Kleenex Lady
Inevitably, someone starts crying at a retreat. Whether it is a particularly powerful confession or a conversion moment, someone is bound to break down. When this happens, there is almost always a female who has been ready for this moment since the retreat started. She rushes over with a box of tissues and places a comforting hand on the person’s shoulder.
Why you love her on retreat: Youth retreats cannot happen without adult volunteers. The quick action kleenex lady has a desire for ministry, and her volunteerism allows for youths to have the opportunity to encounter the Lord.
2. The kid who does NOT want to be there
You fear having these kids in your small group. They are only there to check the box that says they attended the required retreat for Confirmation or because their parents made them. They do not want to be there, and everyone can tell.
Why you love them on retreat: You want these kids at the retreat because you know, if just one tiny thing captures their attention at the retreat, it might open their heart up just enough for the Lord to squeeze in and change their life.
3. The guy who sings praise and worship songs in your face
This person thinks that they can get the kids who do not want to be there to join in the songs via intimidation. It almost always does not work, or they get a half-hearted response. At this point in time, I would like to apologize for being this guy on occasion. I realize now how obnoxious I was being. Please forgive me.
Why you love him on retreat: Without someone singing loudly and obnoxiously, those who want to sing but feel self-conscious about their singing voice would not feel comfortable singing along with the song.
4. The person who is socially awkward
Sometimes, these people are forced to be there, and other times, these individuals chose to be there. Either way, you are never quite sure how to reach out to them.If you do get them to open up, you can be surprised to learn they are interesting people with whom to have a conversation.
Why you love them on retreat: If you do get them to open up, you can be surprised to learn they are interesting people with whom to have a conversation.
5. The girl who is on fire with Jesus’ love
This girl loves Jesus, and everybody knows it. She thinks she is spreading God’s love to others, but sometimes the obnoxiousness can be off-putting.
Why you love her on retreat: Although she is not this introvert’s cup of tea, she is a genuinely kind-hearted person who greatly cares about others and wants to bring others to Jesus.
6. The game coordinator who is way too creative for his/her own good
This person tries to teach an overly complicated game they invented, and it fails miserably. You can tell why the game coordinator thought it would be fun, but you know right away it is going to fail miserably.
Why you love them on retreat: If you relax a bit, you can enjoy the chaos of the failed game. The experiment causes you to laugh and have fun. And, is that not the point of playing a game?
7. The uncreative game coordinator
You might find this person saying, “You’re going to love this game. I played it once when I was 4.” They lead a simple, boring game that everyone has played a million times, but somehow, the person leading it seems woefully unfamiliar with the rules.
Why you love them on retreat: Only fun people get chosen to be the game coordinator. Choosing what game to play may not be their strong suit, but they know how to have fun. They may not create fun when they were supposed to create fun, but at some point they will help make the weekend fun.
8. The person who gets WAY too into the games
You fear playing games with this person. They are in it to win it, and it makes everyone uncomfortable. The game which would have been fun becomes a chore.
Why you love them on retreat: If we are truly honest with ourselves, we only find ourselves disliking playing with them when they are on another team. When they are on our team, we know they are going to help our team win.
9. The speaker who struggles with public speaking
This person is incredibly nervous and nine times out of ten, they read their talk word for word off of a piece of paper. You cringe throughout the entirety of the talk.
Why you love them on retreat: If you can look past the awkwardness and focus on the message, you can find something to admire about their relationship with the Lord and learn something from what they are sharing.
10. The speaker who appears to be in a meditative state while speaking
This person has good information in their talk, but it is hard to concentrate due to the tone of their voice. It’s either soothing and makes you sleepy, or it seems like you are invading their private prayer time with God. Either way, you want to stand up and scream, “Open your eyes! Make eye contact with others! Vary your tone, speed, volume, etc!”
Why you love them on retreat: They are a great example of someone who truly loves the Lord and has let him into their heart. You find yourself aspiring to love the Lord that much.
11. The leadership team member who tries to make people laugh
This leader tries to be funny, but sadly, making people laugh is not one their specialties. You find yourself wondering what else they do at the retreat, or if they are there just to hang out.
Why you love them on retreat: They are a reminder to not take oneself too seriously. Even if their jokes do not make you laugh, you can still enjoy the fact that someone is trying to lighten the mood and keep people entertained.
12. The person who is obsessed with hugs
Sometimes, 2/3 of the retreatants fall into this category. This is terrifying and off-putting for a good number of people. You may want to say (and sometimes do actually say), “Ummmm…No. Just don’t.”
Why you love them on retreat: They just want to show you they care and, if you explain to them your discomfort with hugs, they generally back off and find other ways to love you in a manner you can appreciate.
13. The awesome priest
There are some priests who are remarkably interesting and are great fun to be around. They are just plain cool. Sometimes, they have a unique talent which you would never expect a priest to have.
Why you love them on retreat: They show the youths who have a stereotypical view of priests that priests are humans too and can have the same interests and hobbies as them.
14. The nerdy priest
This priest has a vast knowledge of comic book characters, fantasy novels, Tolkien, and other various nerdoms. You’ll love having conversations with this priest.
Why you love them on retreat: Like the awesome priest, they show the youths who have a stereotypical view of priests that priests are humans too and can have the same interests and hobbies as them.
15. The socially awkward priest
This priest is unsure of how he ought to behave and interact with others in a retreat setting. You feel like they do not want to be there. In reality, they do want to be there, but they just need to relax a bit.
Why you love them on retreat: They usually have a wealth of knowledge and unique insight into the spiritual life!