Skip to Main Content

Christian Retreats Network

BlogBlog Post

The Lasting Value of Adventure Education

By Jeffery

In discussing adding Eagle Crest Adventures to a planned retreat, the two most common objections I hear are 1) We can't afford it, and 2) We don't have enough time.

Just yesterday I was talking to a middle school dean of students. A few months ago, the school brought nearly its entire student body to our high ropes program. My staff focused the day's program on encouragement and support. Here's a snippet of the conversation:

Me: "I was just following up to see if there has been any lasting value from the program."
Dean: "What a coincidence that you called. Today, was the first time [in the last 75 days] that I've had any disciplinary issues involving bullying or fighting."
Me: "Seriously?"
Dean: "Yes, in fact our students are still talking about the experience, and my teachers have seen positive outcomes in student behavior."

I have been formally leading Adventure Education programs for 13 years. I can say I have heard stories like this repeated time and time again. Youth pastors have called me to say our adventure education programs reached a student no one else had connected with. Teachers have pointed to improvements in grades and behavior. Corporate leaders have expressed improved office performance.

So to the objections:
1) "We can't afford it." As director of Eagle Crest Adventures, I am determined that money should never be a reason not to take advantage of adventure education. Our programs are already a fraction of the cost of area zip line companies, but if we need to cut the cost further, we will work with you as much as we can.
Last summer a Christian school planned to bring their volleyball team to Lake Williamson. A few weeks before the event, the coach called to say she wouldn't be bringing the entire team because 2 of the girls couldn't afford it. Without hesitation, I told the coach to bring them anyway; we would comp the program to them.

2) "We don't have enough time." There are so many recreational opportunities at Lake Williamson I don't blame you for thinking that. But consider this: how many hours have your participants been in a gymnasium? How many hours have they spent swimming? How many hours have that sat in sermons?
A few years ago a group leader booked Eagle Crest Adventures for only two hours. Our standard program length is three hours, but she wanted to do some formal teaching time before dinner. Of course we accommodated her request. As the two hours were nearing completion, the leader whispered into my ear, "Can we have the extra hour? This is way better than what I was going to give the girls." That group has returned every year since.

On our evaluations, there are a number of groups that state our adventure education programs are the primary reason for selecting Lake Williamson over another facility. I say it with passion and conviction that you owe it to your group to at least consider adding a challenge course program to your retreat. The conversation is free. There is no "hard sell" involved. But at least have it for the sake of what can come from it.

Christian Retreats Network /

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