Private school retreats offer teenagers many benefits that lead to personal and spiritual growth. Students create new ways to lower stress during private school retreats and find a new level of calm. A retreat will not only lower stress, but offer your teenager a chance to create meaningful connections with other students and create a sense of belonging in the school community.

Selecting a private school that offers a fall retreat can bring about great changes for your teenager, so it is helpful to evaluate middle and high school choices with the many benefits in mind. In fact, one of the many advantages of a private school education is the freedom to take students on retreats, trips, and create outdoor educational experiences.

Retreat Benefits:

  1. Meet new friends and improve social skills – In retreat settings, teens have a rare opportunity to make real friends, learn how to get along with others, understand different perspectives, and work on their social skills.
  2. Practice effective communications – Retreats offered by independent schools, allow for opportunities to engage in discussions, connect with new people, resolve conflicts, and get to know a school community before the academic year begins. Some school retreats even provide opportunities to do presentations, performances, and work on daily journal writing.
  3. Learn about teamwork and leadership – Most retreats offer students a chance to work in teams, as well as hone leadership skills. Students may be called upon to lead an activity, a sport or physical activity, or organize a project. Receiving this type of leadership training in middle or high school has real benefits in preparing students for college, as well as providing them with real-world managerial skills.
  4. Try new things and explore interests – Retreats typically offer many opportunities to try new activities and develop new interests. Depending on the location and type of school retreat, activities tend to vary. For instance, Memorial Private School in Houston gets teens moving on a ropes course, zip lining, swimming, and going on hayrides at Camp Tejas.
  5. Learn how to make decisions and choices – Attending a retreat necessitates making choices and daily decisions. From selecting daily activities, what to eat, who to hang out with, teens get to make decisions tied to independent thinking, and need to exercise good judgement.
  6. Gain independence and become more self-sufficient – There is nothing parents want more for their child in high school than to become independent and sufficient enough to prepare for college and life. Retreats allow teens to learn how to live away from home, adjust to living with a roommate, how to adapt to a daily schedule, and provide experience navigating various types of challenges.
  7. Learn new skills and gain confidence – Private school students are able to use retreat time to relax and learn new skills without the pressure of grades. This leads to greater confidence and a willingness to try new things, development of higher self-esteem, and the tenacity and perseverance to push one’s potential.
  8. Make educational discoveries in nature – At some retreats, research-based learning even plays a part. This is an approach taken by some micro-schools, where they work with various universities and corporations on actual research studies. Some of these studies are best accomplished in nature, so retreats can be an ideal place to kick off the academic year.
  9. Deepen faith – Many faith-based private school retreats create a focus on purpose and meaning by incorporating time for chapel, prayer, mediation, silent time in nature, and rest. This often leads to a greater connection to God, their faith, a sense of purpose, and deeper spirituality. In an article by Nick Bernard, he offers a more in-depth look at the connection to God in retreat settings.
  10. Rest and rejuvenation – Teenagers need time like everyone to rest and rejuvenate before they launch into the pressures during the academic year. A retreat gives them an interlude to reflect, set personal goals, lower their stress level and find a sense of calm. Especially with the uptick in anxiety and depression amongst teenagers, it is becoming more and more critical to provide opportunities like retreats to unwind and learn ways to lower stress.

School Retreats Lower Stress

Everyone needs to take time out from the stresses of life, and this has never been more true for teenagers. Retreats are often calm places where students experience nature, friendships, spirituality, and personal growth in new ways.

By taking secondary students into nature, school retreats allow teens a chance to build a sense of community with their school that goes beyond the classroom. It gives them a chance to disconnect from their cell phone devices, academic pressures, and family dynamics.

We all need time to disconnect from technology, as well as time away from our families. These experiences also really help teens prepare for college, when they will have to navigate their lives without the guidance and direction from their parents.

In fact, in an article by greatschools, “both Martin and Duffy see hovering parents as part of the problem. With the best of intentions, too many parents continue to micromanage their kids’ lives well into high school, so they never learn to manage their time and problem solve on their own.”

Retreats, trips, and camps are a great way for parents to let go. If you really want to prepare your child for college and life, then think about how your family and your school is helping your child do so. College prep schools typically get it, and they are becoming increasingly more focused on ways to not only prepare students academically, but socially and emotionally as well.

Find a Private School Retreat

When researching and selecting a private school, remember to ask admissions whether they offer a retreat, and address questions about the purpose, types of activities and the setting. To find private schools in your area, there are a number of websites that can be of help, including: Private School Review, Great Schools, and Niche.

If you are thinking about a faith-based private school, ask questions about the religious values and philosophy of the school. The school may hold a slightly different outlook than your own, but ensure your child is aligned with the approach. For more information, most independent private schools have websites that include information about their mission, vision, values, and philosophy.

Giving your child a chance to live away from home and connect with the school community in a tranquil setting at a school retreat could help establish the tone for the fall. The experience could lead to stronger friendships, a closer connection to the whole school community, shared values and beliefs, and a desire to lead, inspire, and serve others. It will also result in ways to think about and lower stress.

Retreats ask us to go within, explore our faith, and consider our place in nature and the world. Experiences like this, while attending middle school or high school, can be incredibly transformative and lead to greater a deeper faith, personal growth, interests in serving others through community service, as well as new ways to find a sense of calm.

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