January 27, 2022

Youth winter retreat aims to chase away the winter blues

Amidst the beautiful, snowy wonderland of Central Wisconsin, 75 individuals from two different conferences gathered at Camp Wakonda to experience—not only physical warmth, but the warmth of seeing old friends, making new friends, and learning from Scripture.

Why it Matters

In the cold, dark Midwestern winter, it is important to get together and experience the warmth of Christian fellowship.

Nearly 14% of young people in America are struggling with depression. Getting together in the cloudiest, coldest months of the year with events like ours is a wonderful idea to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.



The event, WinterFestaPalooza, is sponsored by the Illinois and Wisconsin conferences and was held on Jan. 14-17, 2022.

Pastor Ray Stephenson, Youth Pastor for the Glendale Church in Indianapolis, spoke on a very warm and gooey topic: love. Educating about Dr. Gary Chapman’s five love languages, he spoke about successful relationships—with friends and family, with romantic interests, and with God. After Sabbath, the group skied on two different slopes: Cascade Mountain on Saturday evening, and Granite Peak (the highest slope in Wisconsin) all day Sunday.


Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the icy, northern winters: look no further. Youth Directors Zack Payne (Wisconsin) and Michael Campos (Illinois) were happy to see such a great group of young people and families mixing and mingling and having fun, even with the temperature in single digits.

This joint event is a tradition that has been going on for several years, and those in attendance are already looking forward to next year. One of the youth, Caden Minett, shared the sentiments of several attendees: "It was great. Definitely coming back next year."

Zach Payne, Wisconsin Conference Youth Director