Scripture Union Youth & Schools Ministry (formally Authentic Youth)
SU Youth & Schools Ministry has been facilitating secondary school retreats since 2005. Through our day long retreats, we seek to inform and engage in discussion with students, equipping and empowering them to make independent decisions about their lives and futures.
The retreats are based around discussions and the use of multi-media to engage students on issues such as faith, image, substance abuse, bullying and much more. The primary aim for these retreat days is to help young people work through the issues and questions they have on any relevant topic, from a Christian perspective, and make their own independent but well informed decisions in a safe, fun and relaxed environment.
If you would like to run a retreat annually for your 1st – 6th years please do not hesitate to get in contact as we can put together a custom made programme with you using both our in-school retreats and Ovoca Manor.
Every year we work with thousands of young people in youth groups, schools and churches helping young people to understand the Christian faith in a relevant way in the changing cultural climate of 21st Century Ireland. We also engage with young people to discuss life issues such as Drugs, Sexuality and Relationships.
Through education programmes, day retreats, residential camps and a variety of other activities, we seek to give young people the opportunity to make informed and positive life choices, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Schools and Youth Work is the main focus of our ministry and in this we aim to deliver a professional standard of retreats.
All our staff and volunteers are Garda vetted, and trained in child protection policies through Scripture Union and other organisations.
SU Youth & Schools Ministry is run by Team Manager Eric Hughes, and a small team of volunteers who are trained in retreat work with Scripture Union Ireland.
Scripture Union have been providing faith based in-school retreats for secondary schools for over 11 years. We seek to inform and engage in discussion with students, equipping and empowering them to make independent decisions about their lives and futures. We design full day and half day retreats for all Christian faith backgrounds, school years, and group sizes. In consultation with teachers and chaplains we can cater for numerous topics and themes . Just get in touch and we will work with you to provide the best experience for your students.
These retreats are holistic, interactive and multi-sensory experiences, using talks, music and film to engage students on issues such as relevant faith, image and identity, substance abuse, sexuality, bullying and more. These retreats can be tailor-made to the needs of schools and groups. Retreats can be facilitated either in your school or in a nearby hall or centre. Most retreats include interactive games, group discussions, debates, talks and self reflective exercises and meditations.
Our primary aim in these retreats days is to help young people work through the issues and questions they have on any relevant topic, from a Christian perspective, and make their own independent but well informed decisions in a safe, fun and relaxed environment.
We are passionate about telling young people about God and helping Irish students to make their faith relevant in any way we can. Please chat to us if you would like us to facilitate something different with your group. For any queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample In-School Retreat
Theme: Self Worth
08:00 Team arrive/set up/pray
08:30 Students arrive
09:30 1st reflection time
10:00 Discussion groups
10:50 Quiz 1
11:20 Talk: Performance
11:40 Discussion groups
11:50 Quiz 2
13:00 Welcome back
13:30 Talk: Social Standing
13:45 Quiz 3
14:10 2nd reflection time
14:35 Talk: Appearance
14:45 Quiz 4
15:00 Wrap up Talk
15:15 Quiz winners announcement
Your day is tailored to your students. We have topics that we believe are applicable to your students, but if you feel we should talk about something particularly relevant to your school/students we are happy to do that too.
Our days are faith- and issue-based day-long workshop retreats, to inspire and equip young people as they deal with everyday life issues, including (but not limited to) the following:
Self Image. Bullying. Fear. Substance Abuse. Alcohol & Drugs. Positive Choices. Who is God? Music. Dealing with hurt. Friendship.
What we needs is simply a room big enough for your whole group; a chair per person; and a plug!
We have no preference if the students are in their uniforms or not, this is at the discretion of the school.
We are fully equipped with pens, paper, projector, sound system and a large screen and we use these at each retreat as necessary.
What happens on the day?
The SU Youth & Schools Team arrives at least a half hour before the day is scheduled, to set up our equipment and get organised. Our day fits into your school schedule so we take breaks and lunch at the same time as the rest of the school. A sample retreat schedule is available here. For a list of available dates, please contact email@example.com
What costs are involved?
Scripture Union is a registered non-profit charity and we try to have a flexible approach to charges, especially in cases of restrictive budgets. The concept is that charges are aimed at covering costs. If the price guide causes a problem, we are open to discussion as to what may be appropriate in your circumstances.
Greater Dublin Area: €450
Outside Dublin: €600
Retreats in Ovoca Manor: Extending your stay
Day retreats can be hosted in our Adventure Centre in Avoca, Co. Wicklow. If you like the idea of taking your class or year group out of your school for a day or overnight, our facility in Co. Wicklow is perfect.
Residential retreats offer your students the chance to get away, relax and learn more about themselves and each other while also allowing our team to get to know the students better as we address the issues most relevant to their lives.
Our overnight retreats vary in length and range of activities and can be tailored to your requirements. Overnight retreats are typically held mid-week. We require teaching staff to accompany their students in appropriate supervision and child-protection ratios.
We encourage both teachers and students to complete a feedback form at the end of their retreat. Here are just a few comments from students we have received:
“Many of my false opinions about God have been changed”
“The day inspired me to make positive choices”
“The retreat was the highlight of my year”
“I want God more in my life ”
Ovoca manor offers day retreats for all both primary and secondary school year.school years. These day retreat typically run from 9:30am to 2:30pm and are packed with diverse learning, fun and engagement. Students have the options of high elements such as the climbing wall or the leap of faith, skilful tests such as archery, team building challenges and engaging workshops.
Our workshops is where the theme of the day is tackled, this learning is done in a fresh, safe and inclusive environment. Learning is done through small groups, discussions, teaching exercises, testimonies, meditations, reflections and drama. This gives students of all learning styles a chance to get stuck in.
Just a few of the themes we discuss are Identity, Stress Relief, Self Reflection, Resilience, The Future You, Exploring Faith and Christianity is Worth a Look . These themes are never taken in isolation and are woven throughout each aspect of the day.
Overnight Residential Retreats
Ovoca Manor also offers an overnight residential and two night residential option. These are a brilliant opportunity to take your school group away as a unit. Students love the overnight retreats as the provide an opportunity to get time away with their school friends. They also get to spend the time exploring faith and what their core beliefs are. The overnight retreat gives students more time to be challenged, reflect and to energise for the year ahead.
Students get to do the awesome high elements and team challenges along with exciting opportunities such as bushcraft, raft building and the iron challenge. Indoors they get the opportunity to have workshops, prayer journeys, meditations, NUA, quizzes, dramas, Question and Answer sessions , reflections, journal times and much more. The added time spent in community really increases what students get from retreats.
If you have any other further queries in regards of retreats please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are involved in the Ember course for young leaders, Cairde Retreats and an annual Inter-Schools Faithfest in Dublin as well as being able to provide NUA: an Irish faith based film series produced for schools. Please contact us if you would like any more information on any of these.