I just wanted to give a shout out to the things that made our Junior High retreat awesome! If you are looking for a place to have a great retreat that would be more of a non-traditional setting for a Winter Retreat then go to Great Wolf Lodge. We have had a great experience there for 3 years now. I often run into other youth ministry people who ask how much it cost to go there thinking it sounds like a high-end retreat. We are able to do a one-night, two-day retreat there for only $50.00. The rooms cost approximately $200.00 so you put 4 junior highers in a room and it is paid for and the adult goes free. We tell the teens to bring money for food and the adult in their room is available to take them out to one of the many restaurants in the area during the time designated for meals. This provides some fun as a small group, especially if it is Waffle House at around 12 midnight!
Also, we went with a video curriculum that was produced by BlueFishTV that ended up being excellent. It was called "Choose". They put out great stuff in a DVD format that is easy for the teens to watch. The DVD offers stories from teens who are dealing with issues related to the topic that the lesson is focusing on. The DVD lasts about 10 minutes and then you have the rest of the time to teach. Their lessons are easy to understand and process with your audience. Marcus "Goodie" Goodloe is the teaching facilitator in the DVD. He does an excellent job in processing the theme and lesson.
Now this curriculum package is geared for 4 lessons if you would want to use it for a full weekend retreat. I am finding that the older I get, a one-night deal works better for my group so that I don't have to cancel any of my regular programing for Sunday and it is adult friendly so that they are not giving up their entire weekend. So check it out and see what you think!