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Adventure Programs

By Jeffery

In discussing adventure challenge programs with group leaders, the second most common objection is, “We can’t afford it.” Of course, this objection is perfectly understandable. Organizations are already spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a retreat. Besides the property rental, there are transportation costs, speaker’s fees, promotional costs, and so forth. Why spend even more for a few hours of programming? However, when you examine the value of an adventure program, the obvious question becomes, “How can we not find the funds to do an adventure program?”

CRN Programs Are Affordable

Each of our CRN properties offers different types of adventure challenge, ranging from 1-hour programs at $10 per person to full-day programs at $40 per person. Most retreat groups spend less than $20 per person on a low initiatives or high ropes program, making the adventure component the cheapest part of your retreat package.

CRN Programs are Value-Driven[1]

Compare the following:

1-hour mixer program — $10 vs. Starbuck Caffe Mocha Venti — $5
Low initiatives program — $16 vs. Bowling (2 games with shoe rental) — $12.50
High ropes program — $20 vs. Movie (with popcorn & drink) — $27
Full Day program — $35-40 vs. Six Flags — $62

Where else can you get so much for so little! Of course, this is not an exact comparison. A Caffe Mocha has 450 calories, where as participation in CRN programs only burn calories. CRN programs do not rent shoes, but team development is included in the price. High ropes can be nearly as scary as some movies, but the programs always carry a G-rating. CRN programs do not have roller coasters, but they do include potentially life-changing learning opportunities.

CRN Programs Can Cut Other Retreat Expenses

Many retreat groups are realizing that an adventure program can take the place of an expensive key note speaker. Often the price is less and the learning is greater. Retreat groups who have caught onto this value have often done away with the guest speaker altogether. Instead, they plan for one, two, or even three sessions with facilitators, who work the retreat theme into the program. In the evenings, group leaders schedule small group discussions that build off the learning experiences of the day. Group members end up sharing with each other their successes and failures in a way that builds each other up, rather than sitting passively listening to a keynote speaker, who they do not have a relationship with, preach a message.

I once spoke with a high school principal who was already in the process of bringing a motivational speaker to present to her senior class. Fees and expenses was costing the school $5,000. She was surprised when I explained to her that for the same price she could have brought her entire school to our low initiatives course—twice.

As affordable and value-driven as CRN programs are, there are still a lot of expenses in planning a retreat, and there are a lot of opportunities vying for your dollars. Jesus once told the multitudes that a man does not start building a tower until after he has sat down and figured out the cost. As you plan your next retreat, sit down and look at all the costs and options available to you. Then look at the potential outcomes. Find the most value for your money. Then move forward confident that every dollar you spend is well worth it.


[1] Note, prices averaged across all groups at all properties

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626